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Offer accepted for tiny house village location

Business owner already on property considers buying land himself

MADISON, Wis. - Offer accepted for tiny house village location

After 36 years living in the same house off of East Johnson Street, Linda and Ben Brown are used to change in their neighborhood.

Yet, they can't quite wrap their minds around the village of tiny houses that could be built across the street this summer.

"I just don't like the idea of having one clustered village and saying, now we've solved the problem," Linda said.

Brenda Konkel, a leader with Occupy Madison, Inc., and homeless advocate, said the group's offer for the property at 2050 E. Johnson St. was accepted earlier this month. Occupy Madison plans to pay the $110,000 through donations and partial bank loans, pending approval.

Occupy Madison started construction on the 96-square-foot homes last year with the goal of building a village for the homeless.

Konkel said Occupy Madison plans to fit 11 tiny houses on the land where Sanchez Motors now stands. She said the property would have to be rezoned, and the group is doing an environmental study to make sure the old gas station site is a safe place to live.

Sanchez Alatorre has rented the building where he runs his auto shop for years. He said he's not opposed to the idea of tiny houses for the homeless, but he isn't sure the site of his business is the best place for a village.

Alatorre said neighbors have already come in with concerns about the plan.

"They don't know where they're coming from. You don't know the background of the people, and they don't know if there are going to be any problems in the future," Alatorre said.

Alatorre said he's considering putting in his own bid to purchase the property, but he has not submitted an offer yet.

Konkel said Occupy Madison plans to keep the building intact and use it as a shop for constructing more tiny houses.

The Browns are still skeptical about the idea, waiting for some clarification on how tiny houses will fit into their community and how those moving will make do.

"How are they going to, how are people, how is the city, whoever is going to be working on this going to make sure that people who are living in this village get all of the things they need?" Linda asked.

A meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the James Reeb Unitarian Universalist Congregation on East Johnson Street to discuss the tiny house village. It is open to the public for anyone wanting more information on the project.

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