Breaking the Law

5 Apr

I have a long day ahead of me but I didn’t want to go another day without making you all aware of a few things. Let’s start on a serious note.

There is a petition at WhiteHouse.gov that, with enough signatures (25K by April 27th) will require states to reform the 1000 sq. ft. minimum zoning laws for “homes,” or should I say houses. I read on someone’s Pinterest board yesterday, “Home is what they can’t take away from you”. Anyway, Jay Shafer has been big on this issue since before he started his own tiny house journey in the 90’s. You can read for yourself what Jay Shafer has to say. He’s far more eloquent than I on this issue.

But before you get too far read the other side of the story. Hontz, who commented on my last post (thank you Hontz), has his own blog False Division and his latest is about this issue precisely. He offers a different perspective and a few very valid points. Again his words will speak for themselves.

My opinion is this:

Challenging or changing these laws COULD mean much more affordable housing for anyone and everyone who’s income or lifestyle preferences call for it. The fact that a legal home MUST be a minimum of 1000 sq. ft. is ludicrous and I think there are a TON of people who want to own a home and simply don’t need the space nor want to spend that much money. I’ve read several stories/blogs and watch many videos of 3 & 4 person families living in tiny homes so obviously families who want to live in 300-999 square ft permanent homes should be able to especially if that is the financially & environmentally responsible thing to do and it’s their choice to do so.

On the other hand, per Hontz’s points, tiny housing IS an underground thing. Done by necessity by some, by choice by others and to rebel for the rest and any intrusion by the government could mean a lot of regulations forced on what is now relatively free and new territory. It’s like taming the Wild West. It had its pros and cons which I won’t go into but I don’t quite like the idea of that for tiny house culture.

There are people who don’t want to build their own tiny home. They have no interest in building, designing or even necessarily having a small environmental footprint. They simply recognize that they don’t need that much space and don’t want to spend 30 years paying for it. Or they don’t have the know how or time or money, or they don’t even know that tiny houses are a possibility. Either way there are few options next to traditional apartment living where annual rent could pay for the building of an entire tiny house. It’s for those individuals that I wonder how this petition will pan out. For tiny house enthusiasts, a group I am feeling more a part of each day, it’s a lifestyle sometimes nearing what some might categorize as obsession and I don’t necessarily believe this petition is for them but rather for the masses. < please DO click the link

Possibly having tiny house pocket neighborhoods or compounds is the way to go. With tiny house companies and non-profits acting as “developers” people can move in their own tiny home, build one there or pay others to build it. They can even rent if one is vacant and they don’t have the seed capital to own or build. This is one idea I am VERY interested in especially to help LA with it’s homeless issue. Not every homeless person is a beggar on the street. Some live in their cars or trailers but still have jobs to go to and children to raise. Some could certainly afford to rent a tiny home if there were the opportunity to do so. Anyway, if anyone is interested in this issue in particular PLEASE drop me a line at hp@mylifehalfprice.com or leave a comment. This is a non-profit initiative that I am very motivated to explore.

Wow…should have left that for it’s own entry…anyway…

For those of us who are in the know, have done the research, have built it (or ARE building it) with our own 2 hands…and for those who can’t or don’t know how…once educated take it upon yourself to sign or not sign. Thanks.

On a lighter note…I swear I have gotten an email about the article “The Magic of Doing 1 Thing at a Time” in my email about 3 times this week. I initially stumbled upon it surfing the Harvard Business Review and browsed it but I was too distracted (multitasking issue #1) by whatever the hell I was there for originally, which I can’t remember anyway (multitasking issue #2). Do you think the Universe is trying to tell me something?  I will read it later today after a very (hopefully) productive day…hmmm…actually maybe I’ll read it before I start my day…

Speaking of procrastination (multitasking issue #3) here is an article about how to simplify your wardrobe Right Now! Again, I will do this later. I have client deadlines to meet…yet here I sit writing a blog. I’ve got so much to write about if I let it build up any more I’ll just about explode. That’s my excuse (multitasking issue #4) and I’m stickin too it.

Lastly, I wanted to put a few videos out there that some of you might be interested in or inspired by. Enjoy.

Should I attend a Tumbleweed Tiny House Workshop? LiveAlternativeGirl thinks I should.

Young people build tiny houses too. Tinyhouser Kendall Ronzano addresses the masses at TEDxYouth.

Dee Williams, a relative figurehead of the tiny house movement does a TED talk. One of the most inspiring TInyhousers I believe.

-Half-price

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One Response to “Breaking the Law”

  1. Jonathan Hontz April 5, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    Thanks for the nod.

    For a more concrete example of my counterpoint, see this link to Division 43 in Portland, Oregon: http://www.drhorton.com/Where-We-Build/Oregon/Portland/Division/Division-43.aspx

    To quote the site, the development “is micro home living at its best. These condominium homes range from 364 to 687 square feet and are built on a compact footprint, using salvaged and sustainably produced materials. So not only are they a better use of natural resources, they’re priced within reach.”

    Apparently the low 100,000’s are within reach. I’m not precisely sure what it is that costs that much money when a structure is that small, but I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that it’s the tiny-home mystique that’s for sale. In Portland, you can get away with that. I also suspect that there were quite a few engineering decisions that needed to be made to please the inspectors. So there you have it: perfectly legal tiny homes…for 100k or better a pop.

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