The Engineered Fad Of Tiny Homes

The concept of tiny homes is a big one in California. On the one side, you have the True Believers in eco-fascism who actually practice what their prophets preach. On the other side, you have the middle class trying to live in the same places where their jobs are while the Elites inflate property values out of sight. One of the few points that both sides can agree on is that homes you can take with you are becoming more valuable than homes that stay put.

Lately, I’ve had an interest in starting an RV hobby for camping trips and related fun adventures I’m planning that by pure coincidence, will hone valuable skills for people no longer allowed to participate in the economy. That put tiny homes on my radar for the first time. Sure, I knew OF them, but then I looked closer….

Tiny house owners are facing evictions or living under the radar because their homes are considered illegal in most parts of the US

h ttps://www.yahoo.com/news/tiny-house-owners-facing-evictions-145707184.html

By Frank Olito, 14 December 2020

After graduating from college, Brianna O’Brien decided to move back to her hometown of Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, but she couldn’t afford a house of her own.

“I was looking at apartments and other spaces to live in the area and everything was so expensive, and I had just started a job,” O’Brien said. “All the pieces aligned for me to start looking into tiny houses.”

A lot of America is getting like that. It’s a logical consequence of restricting housing supply via bureaucracy, exploding demand via unlimited immigration and cheap lending. Anybody (like me) who is not a millionaire and refuses to take on massive levels of debt, is never going to own a house because the Normies see nothing wrong with a 50-year adjustable rate mortgage. Maybe they’re hoping the world will end first. Maybe it actually will.

While looking through Facebook Marketplace, she found the “perfect” tiny house built with refurbished and salvaged wood. Using a low-payment loan, she purchased the home for $29,000 in September 2018 and quickly figured the best place to park the house was on her parents’ property.

Moving back in with the parents after college… I can’t throw a stone at that but “salvaged wood” and “new loan to cover living expenses” are red flags.

But six months later, she got a letter from the local building inspector, explaining that her tiny house violated local zoning laws. Even though her parents owned the property on which it was parked, O’Brien learned she couldn’t live in her tiny house full-time. After a long battle with the local zoning board, O’Brien was forced to move out.

Like O’Brien, many tiny house owners across the country are facing the struggles of zoning laws that exclude tiny houses, and owners are being evicted, forced into RV parks, or compelled to live under the radar.

Whoa, there. We’ll get to discussing zoning in a moment but the building inspector tends to be a lazy git who doesn’t red-tag a property without getting a tip first. That sounds like a neighbor causing trouble.

After purchasing her tiny house, O’Brien initially wanted to work with the local government to get it legalized but her research advised her otherwise.

“I did a lot of crowdsourcing for advice and the majority of folks who live in tiny houses on wheels recommend keeping it as under the radar as possible because the red tape is so difficult,” she said.

And then she proceeded why?

She didn’t think anyone would even notice the tiny home on her parents’ land: “It was in a little nook on the side of the property … It was so hidden in the bushes.”

tiny house brianna o'brien

Brianna… no, just no.

[H]er tiny house was brought to the local building inspector’s attention when a neighbor spotted it and went to the zoning board out of curiosity.

Sure, it was just innocent curiosity. There’s a day coming when people like that will be sadfaced after ratting out their neighbors to the State.

When O’Brien received the notice, she began a conversation with the local building inspector. She learned that her house broke several zoning ordinances: It had no formal plumbing, it had only one form of egress, and it was too close to the property line.

“There is no building code for tiny houses, so you have to get an occupancy permit to get it zoned,” O’Brien said. “It’s a cycle that feeds into itself. Without a building code, it automatically breaks any zoning ordinances.”

Determined not to give up, O’Brien decided to fight for an occupancy permit and eventually get her house properly zoned. For the next few months, O’Brien said she worked diligently to create a presentation for the next zoning board meeting, explaining how her tiny house was safe and how she could fix the ordinances she broke.

Putting aside thoughts of snitches and stitches, the zoning issue with tiny homes in backyards is utilities. Local governments have the duty (more or less) to provide water, power and sanitation to properties. Too high of a population density overloads the system so it’s within legit government purview to regulate how many people live full-time on your property. That would have been the way to argue her case, that she’s within that number so it doesn’t matter whether she’s in a bedroom or tent.

When O’Brien received the notice, she began a conversation with the local building inspector. She learned that her house broke several zoning ordinances: It had no formal plumbing, it had only one form of egress, and it was too close to the property line.

“There is no building code for tiny houses, so you have to get an occupancy permit to get it zoned,” O’Brien said. “It’s a cycle that feeds into itself. Without a building code, it automatically breaks any zoning ordinances.”

According to the Hampton Falls Zoning Board of Adjustment’s meeting notes, the board denied her variance because it’s “contrary to the public interest because the structure is currently existing, therefore the modifications are not in compliance and should have been discussed prior to the particular building of the structure.” Additionally, the board felt that the tiny house would diminish property values.

Lesson learned: Don’t call your tiny home a house. Call it a storage trailer or something. Here, the bureaucrats were able to go so far as to accuse her of building a house (with no foundation!) too close to the property line.

“Despite these things, it doesn’t mean my tiny house is an unsafe dwelling,” she said. “All of it could be fixed, so I said I could do that. I could hook it up to septic, I could put it on foundation, and I could install a skylight. I was excited where this would lead.”

Brianna entertained us but let’s move on.

According to the Financial Times, there are about 10,000 tiny houses in the US, and 15.5% of tiny homes are located in California because it is the most tiny house-friendly. Home Advisor found that Florida, Colorado, Texas, and Oregon are the other top four states that are most welcoming to tiny houses, but even there, homeowners can experience problems and are forced to contend with confusing rules.

Dan Fitzpatrick, the president of the Tiny Home Industry Association, is at the forefront of legalizing tiny houses. After working in local government for decades, Fitzpatrick has a unique understanding of zoning ordinances and now helps people get tiny houses legalized in their home states.

Speaking to Insider, he explained that traditional tiny houses on wheels face a unique set of problems with zoning. Some zoning codes, for example, enforce a minimum square footage requirement for full-time dwellings.

“Tiny homes by definition are under 400 square feet,” Fitzpatrick said. “Well, most municipalities require 700 or 1,000 square feet for the minimum size of a house.”

The max-400sf limit comes from the Federal Highway Department which limits vehicle size to 400sf. This is why RVs have those pushout sections, so they can shrink to legal limits for transport.

But this rule differs from state to state – in Oregon, there are no minimum square footage requirements, making it fairly easy to own a tiny house, while in Durham, North Carolina, a single-family home must be at least 400 square feet, bigger than a traditional tiny house.

Another shill for Unity.

“There are some places where you build a tiny house and put it in an RV park, and they won’t let you live there for more than 90 days or six months at a time,” Fitzpatrick said. “These are issues that need to be dealt with.”

If California officials really were upset at the lack of housing then loosening RV park regulations could help a lot. But that would encourage population mobility which, to judge from Cali banning the internal combustion engine, is not of value to the New World Order. What Cali did instead was allow tiny homes on condition that homeless crazy drug addicts occupy them.

Segue

h ttps://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2020/11/23/tiny-home-cabin-communities-homeless-reseda-councilman-bob-blumenfield/

23 November 2020

RESEDA (CBSLA) — The revolutionary tiny home community trend is being reimagined to help provide housing for homeless populations in [northern Los Angeles].

A cabin community is set to be built in a neighborhood in Reseda, but some of the people who live nearby are pushing back against the plans because of the proposed location.

L.A. City Councilman Bob Blumenfield…

…plans to put 50 to 75 cabins for the homeless in his parking lot, which is across the street from a townhome complex.

Dozens of people who live nearby say he’s putting their neighborhood at risk.

“You work so hard, living in L.A. to save enough money to purchase a home that is safe for your family, and knowing that it’s being threatened overnight is absolutely devastating,” said Laura Fuduli, a Reseda resident.

The community would house 8×8 tiny homes for single occupants, communal restrooms and showers, mental health and drug services will be onsite, and a police station next door.

End segue

Fitzpatrick has laid out a pathway for tiny house owners to work with local governments to allow for more parking options and to create a more cohesive ordinance for tiny houses across the US.

“Municipalities need to recognize that movable tiny houses are a totally different animal than a recreational vehicle,” he said. “The way you do that is you write in your local ordinance a definition for a movable tiny house to distinguish it from a typical RV.”

I don’t see that, aside from RVs having internal storage for water & sewage.

So far, Fitzpatrick and tiny house owners across the country have been successful in doing this in places like Los Angeles, San Diego, Fresno, and San Jose.

That is not “across the country”. That’s not even NorCal. 

When you think of tiny homes, you might think of a minimalistic, quiet lifestyle on a beach or near a forest. Yet that isn’t the reality for many owners.

That isn’t reality for anybody but the salesman.

Since movable tiny houses are not allowed in most parts of the country, some owners turn to RV parks and tiny house communities, which are usually just RV parks with a few tiny houses.

“For 97% of people that have been drawn into the dream of tiny houses, being in a trailer park wasn’t part of that dream,” Zack Giffin, the host of “Tiny House Nation,” told Insider.

What’s the difference between tiny home parks and trailer parks? Meanwhile, as California gov’t spikes property taxes by upwards of 30% in the near future, landowners will begin dreaming of taking on tiny-home tenants in order to keep making the payments on those 50-year adjustable rate mortgages.

Did I say “tenants”? I meant “storage trailers”.

In 2018, Betsy Barbour bought a tiny house and moved into a tiny house community in central Florida, which she does not wish to name. During her year there, her experience was “disappointing,” she said.

Barbour said she lived in constant fear that she was going to be kicked out of the park because she had no lease agreement or contract. A few of her neighbors were kicked out at a moment’s notice, she said.

What the muck, Betsy? You live in a moveable home and are scared that you might have to move it? Maybe you should have bought a condo instead of a fantasy.

Some of us prefer month-to-month contracts because we can leave obnoxious people behind more quickly.

“We had no protection,” Barbour said. “That’s partially my fault. I shouldn’t have moved in there without some kind of protection. [But] it puts you in a very vulnerable position because you have no rights. You can be asked to move at a very short notice, and you have no recourse.”

Barbour said she eventually decided to leave the park because she felt the electrical wiring was “life-threatening.” “I thought, ‘I have to get out of here. This is not safe,'” she said.

Oh look, not having a lease worked out in her favor! If this is true, however, then she left the next tenant to die in an electrical fire. THAT is when you call the building inspector.

While this is far from everyone’s experience at an RV park, Barbour, who is now living in a larger, established community in Pennsylvania, said she thinks tiny house owners in some parts of the country are forced into less-than-ideal RV parks because there’s a lack of understanding from the wider community. She said some municipalities are against passing zoning ordinances because they equate proposed tiny house communities with traditional trailer parks.

Still waiting to hear the difference.

One woman who only wishes to only be identified as Tina lived in her tiny house in stealth for nearly two years.

Tina, an art teacher, said she changes school districts regularly because her programs are often nixed during budget cuts. Instead of dragging her husband and daughter around with her from school to school, she decided to build a tiny house that she would live in by herself.

ANOTHER female, but this one is in a more relatable position to men who tend to end up living on the edge despite the best efforts of divorce courts, hiring quotas, targeted welfare programs and Socially Just lending practices. White privilege, y’know.

In 2018, she was offered a job in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and couldn’t find an RV park in the area that was tiny house friendly. Luckily, a colleague at the school offered up her backyard as a place for Tina to park, but there still was a problem.

“I looked at the ordinances and saw that you could park an RV on your property, but you couldn’t live in it,” Tina said. The zoning ordinance for Bucks County reads that recreational vehicles cannot “be designed for use as a permanent dwelling, but as a temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, travel, or seasonal use.”

There you go, “seasonal use”. The school year has shrunk to about two months’ worth of actual teaching anyway.

However, the property owner and Tina reached a deal: Tina could park her tiny house in the backyard next to the shed if they kept it under the radar and if Tina paid the fines if they were caught by the zoning board.

“I laid low,” Tina said. “I kept the curtains closed at night, I kept the lights low, I didn’t hang out in front of the house like I would have loved to, and I didn’t hang plants outside. I didn’t do any of those things like I would have wanted to. I was trying to make it look like I wasn’t living there.”

After two years of living in Bucks County, Tina now parks her tiny house in the backyard of her permanent, traditional home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, a move that came with its own set of issues. In 2020, the town’s zoning officer fined her $500 because they thought she was living in it full-time. When she explained to the zoning board that she only used it as an art studio these days, they waived the $500 fee.

“Art studio”, that works too.

Spur, Texas, for example, bills itself as America’s first tiny house-friendly town. The town, which is about 70 miles east of Lubbock, used to be home to several thousand, but many left for Texas’ bigger cities. Today, the town only has about 1,000 people and a bunch of vacant lots.

Spur’s city officials saw an opportunity to revitalize the area by approving an ordinance in 2014 that allows tiny house owners to buy lots for $500 to $5,000 with working infrastructure and park their tiny houses there legally. Today, there are nearly 40 tiny houses in the small community.

“People who just want to live a simpler life, this is a really good option for them,” Allen Witters, a resident and one of the founders of Spur, said. “[Spur] has everything that you need. It has a hardware store, grocery stores, and restaurants. It’s a quieter life.”

Fixed it. Smart thinking by the town. Alas, Unity In Zoning means they’re in noncompliance with San Jose, CA mandates.

Likewise, Orlando Lakefront, a tiny house community in Florida, has been successful in turning a dilapidated RV park into a thriving community for tiny houses with a community garden, movie nights, and neighborhood barbecues.

Do they think another hurricane won’t come along? Florida ain’t the place for this. Foundations, people!

“There’s something about the fact that we’re all living simply that brings us together,” Amanda Burger, a resident of Orlando lakefront, said. “Everybody comes from so many different walks of life, but [this lifestyle] brings us together on a different level.”

The people of the tiny house movement hope that in the future more communities like Spur and Orlando Lakefront will be more common, but for now, there’s still a lot of work to be done.

“There is nobody that is satisfied with the grey area that these homes fit under. Not the clients, not the builders, not the government,” “Tiny House Nation’s” Giffin said. When the rules are finally unified, “it will take this industry out of adolescence and into maturity,” he said.

Why does this industry exist? Serious question. It has all the privations of RV life without the mobility that makes RVing desirable. Tiny homes basically *are* RVs, necessitating the same types of hookups and related facilities. And this article was not at all unique in its focus upon female tiny homeowners.

Tiny homes are a fad born of government land speculation, climate change hysteria and the female nesting instinct. Practicality is not to be found here. There are reasons nobody lived in a small home who could afford a larger one until Sacramento began offering incentives. One part of me doesn’t believe the zoning laws need changing if they already address RVs; the other part of me realizes that it’s no coincidence that the government who hates me, has also put real-home ownership out of my sight.

But that’s what RVs are for… living with one foot out the door. Not tiny homes.

 

5 thoughts on “The Engineered Fad Of Tiny Homes

  1. “Still waiting to hear the difference.”

    Same here.

    The use of the word “home” is interesting. If you live under a bridge, that’s your home.

    A shack built on a trailer bed can be your home, but it’s not a house. It’s a shack on a trailer bed.

    I’ve also started looking at RVs, but frankly the prices are astounding and I don’t have a good place to keep one at the moment. But my plan would be to have a piece of property where I could do my own thing, but also be able to pick up and scoot if necessary. Shooting trespassers as need be, whether they be curious neighbors, building inspectors, or otherwise.

    Like

  2. “frankly the prices are astounding and I don’t have a good place to keep one at the moment”.

    My problems, too. I’ve gotten old enough to want a little something extra between me and the ground while camping and I wouldn’t say no to a space heater. But there’s a huge learning curve and plenty of unpredictable expenses when getting into RVs for the first time… not unlike buying a first boat.

    Then again, I might not be allowed in motels again without getting the Windows Vaxx. Just because I’d rather sleep in a muddy ditch, doesn’t mean I want to sleep in a muddy ditch.

    Like

  3. “Still waiting to hear the difference.”

    Insulation, durability and customization.

    This likely does not matter much in California, but up in Canada, an important question for year-round use is heat insulation. I suspect that any RV with push-out sections would be bad for the winter.
    If we custom-build a tiny home on a trailer bed however, we could put in 6 inch walls with the same insulation as any new house.
    The tiny home could also be built with standard triple-pane windows. Even in the $100k RVs, they do not have triple-pane windows.

    Another difference is durability. Many RVs are built with shoddy workmanship. And even the “high-end” RVs that are priced high, will use wood such as 1×2 or 1×4 as “studs” for the construction. The purpose is to keep the weight as light as possible, due to the expectation that you will be pulling that RV long distances.
    With a tiny home, the idea is that you would move it, but not regularly or long distances. (Such as on a cross-country vacation.) Therefore, the increased weight due to having solid construction materials is far less of a concern, and since the unit is intended for year-round use, the builder should be using far better, and therefore heavier, materials.

    Another difference is customization. If you buy a trailer bed and do the work yourself, either by your own labour or by hiring a company or individuals, you could do whatever you wanted, to fit your lifestyle. I might wire the place for high-speed Ethernet cables. You might put in exercise equipment as part of the walls. Another guy widens the hallways and lines them with book shelves. Someone else puts in full-size kitchen appliances as they cook/bake regularly and do not want to deal with the mini-sized versions in RVs.
    I don’t think RV companies are interested in this type of business.

    I am not pushing either option as better, but those are the primary differences I can think of.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As a Tiny Home ah-Fish-uh-nod-oh .. it’s a great idea .. but not for everyone.

    I (over) built a tiny quest cottage (on skids) to avoid local rules on sq ft minimums.

    Insurance was a breeze. It would qualify as a passive home if I wanted to have it tested.

    Cost is much less than an RV. Which frankly spend more time parked than driving.

    Also .. for my next project .. a “skoolie” .. need an adventure rig that doesn’t involve me hauling a trailer. Bikes and Kye-Yaks lives matter!

    Like

  5. Pingback: Word from the Dark Side – boofhead billionaires, banning crime reportage, bathroom bullshit and bogus police cars | SovietMen

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