Big talk about little things

The conversation, facilitated by designer/builder Peter Matheson, focused on small housing, downsizing, cluster housing and eco-zoning.

Designer/builder Peter Matheson

What started as a small circle of chairs in anticipation of a cozy group talking about small housing turned into an overflow of chairs as some 70 people showed up at apresentation of the Grand Forks and District Public Library’s “Let’s Talk…” series.

The conversation Thursday evening, facilitated by designer/builder Peter Matheson, focused on small housing, downsizing, cluster housing and eco-zoning. Matheson beganby saying he himself has built a 125-square-foot tiny house and is passionate about the issue of housing. He introduced a few people also in attendance who could providesome input, such as Andrés Dean, who lives off-grid and is knowledgeable on alternative energies, and Edan Marshall, who holds a Master of Architecture and Urban Design.

“The City of Grand Forks has invited input on a proposed ‘eco-zone’ that would provide a great housing diversity for our community,” Matheson said. Both Mayor FrankKonrad and Councillor Colleen Ross (environment liaison) were also in attendance.

Matheson opened the discussion, saying “It’s not my ideas going forward.”

Questions and comments were plentiful, including zoning, landscaping, wood stoves and solar heat, legalities, cost, pets, communal space, the different between tiny homesand a trailer, social housing… the discussion stopped only because time ran out.

“It was a thrill to see such an enthusiastic turnout. I’m now organizing the data from that discussion and then I’ll be looking at the most constructive ’next steps’,” Mathesonsaid. “I was so impressed with the excitement of the group about exploring smaller-scale housing options in Grand Forks. It was very encouraging.”