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Affordable tiny home village planned on historic downtown SLO property

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Rachel Showalter
SmartShare Housing Solutions Executive Director Anne Wyatt stands on the property while holding the development plan.
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Rachel Showalter
Anne Wyatt and Timon Phillips look over the development plans on the Dana Street property.

Right now, a vacant lot in Downtown San Luis Obispo is home to tall redwood and fruit trees and an historic adobe building. It’s been unused by people for decades — but soon, it could house up to 24 affordable, permanent tiny homes.

The Waterman Peace Village housing project has been in the works for about two years after the city put out a request for proposals on the Dana Street property.

The tiny homes are expected to be about 200 to 300 square feet and could house up to 40 people. The historic adobe building will also be renovated as a communal space with meeting areas and a kitchen.

Anne Wyatt is the Executive Director of SmartShare Housing Solutions, the local affordable housing nonprofit that took on the project.

The property is on a flood plain that backs up to Brizzolara Creek, so the homes will be built about three feet off the ground. All of them will be connected by an accessible pathway.

Timon Phillips is a residential designer and owns a company called Hut Inc. He is bidding to provide the housing for the project with a tiny home model that he said would work perfectly.

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Timon Phillips, Hut Inc.
A rendering of 'Room,' Timon Phillips design concept that he hopes to use for the Waterman Peace Village housing project.

“I’ve been developing a modular building — basic size is 9x9. It’s called ‘Room’ and it can be added on to,” Phillips said.

Wyatt said anyone making under $54,000 a year would be eligible to live in the village, including members of the unhoused community.

“We could have any number of workforce members, retired people and people interested in community living and sustainable mobility,” Wyatt said.

She said there would only be three or four parking spots available so residents would need to be committed to other forms of transportation, like walking or biking.

The SLO City Council will vote on allocating $1,000,000 of American Recovery Act funding for the project at their June 7 meeting. The total cost is expected to be about $5,000,000.

Wyatt said if everything moves quickly, houses could be on-site by the end of 2023.

Rachel Showalter first joined KCBX as an intern from Cal Poly in 2017. During her time in college, she anchored and reported for Mustang News at Cal Poly's radio station, KCPR. After graduating, she took her first job as a Producer at KSBY-TV. She returned to the KCBX team in October 2020, reporting daily for KCBX News until she moved to the Pacific Northwest in July of 2022. Rachel spends her off-days climbing rocks, cooking artichokes and fighting crosswords with friends.