Wichita City Council moves forward with luxury tiny home village

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

The plans for Wichita’s first luxury tiny home village is moving forward. City Council members approved the annexation of the land for the development near Harry and 143rd Street East. Those living near the proposed luxury tiny home village aren't happy with the city council's vote to move forward with the development.

Russel Hamker, who lives in the Sierra Hills neighborhood, says, “I'm very disappointed in the City Council for not being able to do anything at all.” Hamker spoke before council and says this issue has him fired up to take legal action. He said, “We're asking to do a class action lawsuit against the city as well.”

Attorney Edward Robinson says he's been hired to represent one of the homeowners. He said, “I'm not surprised that the developer of this property has lots of resources and lots of connections in the town. My clients don't have those connections and resources. That's where the courts can come in.”

microMansions plans to put 90 tiny homes on 15-acres of land. The developer of the land is David Murfin. The city says he made requests, including the annexation to the city and the approval of the plat  for development.

Planning Director Dale Miller spoke before council to address annexation questions. He told council annexation automatically rezones the land from 20,000 square feet to 4,000-5,000 square feet. Based on legal advice from the City Attorney there was no legal authority to deny the plat.

Robinson believes that the city isn’t following its own zoning codes. He said, “The city's own code says that if you have SF-20 coming in and it should stay as an SF-20.”

After listening to several in opposition speak, Wichita City Council went into executive session to discuss the issues. Ultimately, the city decided because the developer met all the requirements on annexing and zoning the land and it approved to let the developer move forward.

Pete Meitzner, says the council was hesitant to go against its legal advice especially since the developer went through the proper channels.  He said, “I don't think the council was interested in violating the interest of citizens who are near and fairly close, that’s not been our practice in the past.”

When asked if the developer’s resources and strong connections in Wichita swayed the council’s decision, Meitzner quickly responded saying, “They're incorrect, they're incorrect. I know the developer but it's an incorrect statement.” He went on to say he knows the developer and is confident in the development, “I believe that it will be closely watched by the investors in this. I think their intent is to make it a fantastic compliment to the value of that whole area.”

Aside from a number of concerns residents spoke about, decreasing property value remains at the top. Hamker said he recently reached out to several realtors to find out what kind of impact this could have in his neighborhood. “They found out we're going to lose 10-20% of our property values if they approved this today. And that's happened.”

Hamker says the fight is far from over. “The next thing to do is battle the city, in my opinion. We are going to try that in two different steps. We're going to ask to have our taxes renegotiated.”

microMansions did issue a press release over the council’s decision. You can read it below:

microMansions, LLC, obtained unanimous approval at the Wichita City Council meeting today of the plat for its first development project—"Home Base.” Home Base will be the first development of upscale, energy-efficient, smaller homes in the Wichita area. Co-founder Abby Nelson says, “microMansions is the “Apple” of tiny home developments; sleek, simplistic and upscale homes.” Nelson has spent over two years refining the design of these “micro” homes and is eager to offer them to homeowners who want to live simply and create new experiences. These homes offer minimalistic lifestyle living in a stylish, energy efficient, and affordable house.

To develop the Home Base project, microMansions is purchasing 15 acres of land from Murfin Acres, LLP which is located near 143rd and Harry Street. Nelson, and co-founder, Brady Sherman, selected this location based on their anticipated homebuyers. Home Base will appeal to buyers that have interest in urban living as well as those wanting the peacefulness of a countryside development. The new development will attract those wanting a quiet oasis away from the hustle and bustle, but still in short distance from urban grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants and main highways. Nelson says that microMansions will have the same high-end finishes found in larger homes, such as quartz countertops, wood flooring and custom cabinetry. The development will be similar to other subdivisions with streets, yards, sidewalks, a water feature, a nice entrance, trees and an HOA with covenants and restrictions. The HOA fees will include lawn maintenance and trash service with recycling.

In spite of some opposition from surrounding neighborhoods, Nelson and Sherman recognize the concerns, and plan to move forward with this residential development. It will be a valuable asset and improvement as this area of the City/County continues to be developed. More than 550 potential homebuyers have signed up through the company website, http://micromansionsdesign.com/ . In addition, developers nationwide have been contacting microMansions about their franchise model. Nelson and Sherman anticipate the first model home to be completed this fall. The value this development will add to the community and surrounding area is anything but tiny.

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