Home Sweet Home: Cottage Home Program revitalizes Old Town alleys

Clovis resident Scott January stands out in front of his newly build tiny home. DANIEL LEON/CLOVIS ROUNDUP

For Snow White, a cottage was the perfect home. And here in Clovis, many residents agree.

Clovis’ Cottage Home Program was implemented in an effort to revitalize the alleyways of Old Town and infill residential areas. Within the past year, residents with extra unused land have begun building tiny homes to beautify the alleys.

City planning technician Maria Spera said that since the program began last August, there are 11 permits out to Clovis residents who are ready to build tiny houses of their own. Three houses have been finalized already, and seven more are in various stages of the building process, she said.

“We’ve received nothing but great support from all of the citizens in Clovis, and people are really excited about the program,” Spera said.

Clovis resident Scott January was among the first to venture out and build a tiny home. As a Buchanan High School woodshop and auto shop teacher, January was able to build the home himself with help from friends and local connections.

“I received my permit, and within two days, I was taking plants out,” January said.

After about three and a half months of building, January’s tiny home is now complete. It includes an oven, refrigerator, washer and dryer and TVs. It has a living room, kitchen, bathroom, laundry area and a bedroom – all in a house that’s just under 400 square feet.

For residents looking to build their own tiny home, the city of Clovis has three floor plans drawn up to choose from. Two are single-story units, and one is a modest two-story building.

“The only thing [potential builders] are receiving from the city is free plans, which is a savings of about $9,000 to $10,000,” Spera said. “Everything else has to be financed by the property owner, which is the permits, the build of the cottage home, everything that goes with the build.”

Spera said that the smallest floor plan is 16 feet by 31 feet, and the estimated cost to build is between $60,000 and $65,000.

While some residents are planning to downsize to a tiny home or use the accessory building for family, others are renting out the space and foresee getting back investments within two to three years. January is renting his tiny home to a tenant for $850 a month.

“The great thing about [having a tiny home] is it brings value to the property. Either way, they’ll be able to make something back from it,” Spera said.

Contractor Brent Hodges, who also helped build January’s tiny home, is in the process of building two cottages for himself that he also plans to rent out.

“They’re taking advantage of a piece of property that [owners] might not be using,” Hodges said. “I think it’s really gonna change up the Clovis area.”

The Cottage Home Program in Clovis first began in 2016, Spera said. An advisory committee toured different towns throughout California where they were inspired in Davis to begin the project locally.

For residents looking to partake in the Cottage Home Program, properties must be located within the boundaries specified by the program, have access to an alley and utilities and they must have space to accommodate the building and a 10 foot by 20 foot parking space.