Sandy Township, PA – Families with elderly loved ones are one step closer to having another option of keeping them closer to home with a potential elder cottage ordinance.

Sandy Township has been discussing the possibly of “elder cottages” for a few months, and they’re now drafting an ordinance that will be voted on later.

The topic first came up when the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging said they would like to rent out mobile pre-fabricated tiny houses that could be installed in a yard, so that the person could remain independent but also would be close to family as an alternative to assisted living.

The single-floor tiny homes would only be about 40 feet by 15 feet, but they would include a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living room. The cost to buy one of the homes would be $65,000. The company Mature Resources would own the homes but could rent them out to families for possibly 30 percent of the resident’s income. When the person no longer needs the cottage, it could be reclaimed and moved to another location.

If Sandy Township allows the cottages, they wouldn’t have to necessarily be built and rented by the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging. Any company could build and rent the cottages as long as they meet the specifications.

However, zoning ordinances would have to be changed in Sandy Township to allow the tiny homes to be placed in someone’s yard. They also want to make specific plans for what would happen to the home when the renter passes away and whether the main home would have to meet some requirements before allowing the second tiny home on the property.

Although Pennsylvania routinely is in the top five states within our country for the largest percentage of elderly people, elder cottages are a novel concept for the commonwealth. If the ordinance passes, Sandy Township would be the first council to specifically allow these kinds of structures.

The Sandy Township Supervisors say, because it’s the first ordinance of its kind in the state, they want to take their time writing it to make sure that everything is worded clearly. It could be the middle of 2018 before the ordinance is finally passed and the elder cottages begin being built.

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