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Chester County Press

Franklin supervisors hear proposal for ‘tiny house’ community

11/05/2019 02:15PM ● By J. Chambless

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

A community of tiny homes that would be rented by visitors might be coming to Franklin Township if approval is eventually granted. The Board of Supervisors were introduced to the proposal at their Oct. 16 meeting.

Benson McConkie gave a slide show presentation on a variety of tiny house communities around the country. The compact, barebones dwellings are meant to reduce environmental impact and trim excess consumption, and have become a trend nationwide.

McConkie is visiting several townships in the area to see if they would be receptive to his idea for an Airbnb community of no more than 15 tiny houses that visitors could rent. There would be no full-time residents. He pointed specifically to nearby Longwood Gardens as a source of out-of-town guests who need accommodations.

McConkie’s presentation highlighted a similar community in Elizabethtown, which is what the new community would emulate. He is gauging interest from several locations, asking municipalities to see how receptive they are to the idea, and if zoning would allow it.

At this time, tiny homes would be considered manufactured housing by Franklin Township’s zoning regulations. The board advised McConkie to check with the Chester County Health Department, since they saw septic as being one issue that could be a stumbling block for the proposal. The board invited McConkie to return once he had investigated how he would provide septic and water, and how he would deal with stormwater, for a tiny home community.

The vacant historic building at 3327 New London Road in Kemblesville was addressed by township solicitor Mark Thompson, who reported that the township won its appeal in the Court of Common Pleas. He will be contacting the District Court Judge to address the six violations that were on hold until the decision was reached.

HARB and Historical Commission chairman Paul Lagasse reported that an Oct. 8 meeting with PennDOT representatives went well. PennDOT will be installing crosswalks at the new three-way stop in Kemblesville, and is considering additional ones north and south of the gateway islands, which they also agreed to install.

They discussed ways to add greenery where the current grassy island will be replaced by new pavement markings, signage for the crosswalk and stop signs. Lagasse said he was pleased that PennDOT considered his letter, as well as their consideration of the requests for crosswalks and gateway islands.

To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email [email protected].