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Demand Grows for Small Rental Domes

Small domes provide an affordable housing alternative for low-income residents who do not need a lot of living space. Our rental domes here in Italy, Texas often have a waiting list, and owners of dome rental properties in other parts of the country also report strong demand.

T. Frank Smith IV, owner of South Texas Nontraditional Housing, has also seen steady interest in the five 300-square-foot domes he built in Ingleside, a town near Corpus Christi. The units lease for $145 per week, all bills paid.

But his plans to construct more Monolithic Dome rental units have been temporarily thwarted because of opposition from the town’s residents, according to an article in the Corpus Christi Caller Times.

The Ingleside City Council approved an ordinance in December effectively banning the structures. The new ordinance only allows dome structures of more than 1,200 square feet.

Undaunted, Smith is looking to build in nearby Aransas Pass. Smith met recently with the city council in Aransas Pass, where residents have not expressed opposition to the project.

“If he puts it in the right area, I see no problem with it,” Aransas Pass Mayor Tommy Knight told the newspaper. "I’d hate to see it in a residential area because these are really small houses. We’ve got some areas in the very northern part of town, kind of off the beaten path that would be an appropriate place.”

For his part, Smith is looking to meet a need. “These things are so energy efficient, so low on repair bills, it makes them reasonable to rent at a low rate,” Smith told the Caller-Times. "These are safe (and) clean.”

Should any concerns crop up about the dome rentals in Aransas Pass, Smith says he will simply find another place to build. “I’m not here to force the issue,” the homebuilder told the Aransas Pass Progress. “I’m just trying to conduct regular old American business.”