SCHERERVILLE — The big news in Schererville is a little house.
The Schererville Town Council has approved a request to allow Jake Markiewicz and Erica Velasquez, both 25, to place a 204-square-foot Tiny House on a lot at 108 W. Joliet St., just a couple of blocks from Town Hall.
The Board of Zoning Appeals approved it with the stipulation the couple remain on the site for two to four years, after which the house would have to be removed. It has to be on a concrete slab, and the wheels must be removed while it is on the property.
The couple both graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington in 2015, and Markiewiecz currently is studying to be a commercial pilot, and Velasquez is seeking a master's degree in public health. They plan to marry in June, but, with college loans to pay off in addition to wedding expenses, they were looking for a less expensive housing option.
They settled on the Tiny House concept as featured on several cable TV shows. Markiewiecz designed it with the help of a computer program, and it is being built for them in Cedar Lake at a cost of $40,000, not counting the concrete slab.
“We thought it would be cool to put it in our hometown and then take it out west in a few years,” Markiewiecz said. “We thought it would be interesting and a neat fit for Schererville.”
The lot at the corner of Anna Street and Old Joliet Street is owned by a friend, who is lending it to the couple. It has all the necessary utilities to connect to while they are there. It measures 24-by-8-1/2-by-13-1/2 feet and has a roof deck and a back deck, which folds up and attaches to the side of the house when they are ready to travel.
Opposition at the BZA focused mostly on the fear it would look like a mobile home with a metal skirt around it, but the couple said they plan to have a base of masonry to match the houses in the town. It will be equipped with all the appliances needed for the kitchen and have a bathroom, a nook with a table for sitting and room for a queen-size bed.
They eventually hope to have a larger lot of their own with enough room for a bigger house, especially if they start a family, and to keep the Tiny House for future travel, like a camping trailer, and or as a guest home.
Councilman Thomas Schmitt said the home might be the first Tiny House in the county and called it “interesting” for the town. Councilman David DeJong said he attended the BZA presentation and found the concept attractive and the presentation persuasive.