MERIDEN — The initial stages of development are underway for a tiny home subdivision on North Broad Street.
Foundations for 12 tiny homes at the former site of Smitty’s Snack Bar and an adjacent trailer park are being constructed by Salvatore Carabetta, doing business as North Broad Park LLC.
The company received a special exception from the Zoning Board of Appeals to change the use at 1173 and 1187 N. Broad St. from a mixed-use, 12-unit mobile home park with restaurant to a 12-unit detached multi-family development with no restaurant. The homes would be leased.
The Zoning Board of Appeals granted the request with conditions this past summer. The original designation had been non-conforming mixed use in a residential zone and required the special exception. The previous layout had two existing mobile homes at 1173 North Broad St. The new proposal will place all 12 units at 1187 N. Broad on a concrete slab.
Local attorney Dennis Ceneviva, who represents Carabetta, told ZBA members at the time that the 32,505 square-foot lot will host a Tiny Home Community, a trend that is growing across the country, and provides a type of permanent housing, according to ZBA minutes.
“Atty. Ceneviva stated that the biggest benefit of the project is that it will have a positive impact on the value of the properties in the neighborhood," according to ZBA minutes.
The city currently doesn't have a formal definition of a tiny house, but at 480-square feet for a two-bedroom, "that might be considered a tiny house," said associate City Planner Brian Grubb.
Michael Flanders, project manager for Carabetta Construction, explained that the development will be comprised of ten 12 foot by 40 foot two-bedroom units and two 12 foot by 32 foot one-bedroom units, all rental.
Three tenants of the former trailers relocated themselves out of the park, Flanders said.
The new tenants will fill out an application to move into the new homes.
In the front, a well-lit gazebo structure will house a central mailbox unit. A one-way road circles the community for traffic flow and the electrical will be all underground.
"I think it's been described as many different things," Flanders said.
"There is the trend of tiny houses, and small dwelling units. These are 12 new single-family market rate homes."
The smaller sizes are perfect for empty nesters, and there is definitely a trend and a need, Flanders said. The development will be similar to communities in areas such as Florida. Construction is expected to be completed in several months.
"We're in pretty good shape, Flanders said. "We're putting in the sewers now, water is next, then it's the foundations.