A Mini Tiny House Community You Can Build?

How about a mini tiny house community you can put together yourself with a small group of people and as little money as possible?

The other day I posted a WANTED ad in my local craigslist so I can find a plot of land to rent so I can park and live in my future tiny house on wheels.

I got one response so far and it was another tiny house person interested in the same thing!

As I was emailing back and forth with her I got to thinking about a simpler way to create a tiny house community. I’ve been thinking about this a lot especially since Jay Shafer’s announcement of a tiny village in progress.

pocket neighborhoods tiny house community   A Mini Tiny House Community You Can Build?

Photo Credit Pocket-Neighborhoods.net

Estate Neighborhoods for Mini Tiny House Community?

Most towns and cities have areas that are commonly called Estates where most of the time you can park, live or camp in an RV in the backyard as long as there is a home that meets code on the property.

Why can’t we purchase or lease one of these homes that are normally accompanied by 2.5 acres or more and create our own small tiny house communities?

I figure with a total of just 3-5 tiny homes in the backyard with a monthly fee of $200-$400 each depending on the location and amenities provided that it could really work.

This would generate a total of $600 to $2,000 a month to cover costs. Then you could do one of two things: rent out the big house that comes with the property for additional revenue or charge on the higher end for the plots of land to convert the normal house into a clubhouse for all to use.

Tiny House Community Clubhouse

The clubhouse would be appropriate for parties, family get-togethers and other social events. But it doesn’t stop there because you can have a:

  • pool,
  • fitness center,
  • pool table,
  • ping pong table,
  • study/library room,
  • movie theater room,
  • and big kitchen.

You could even use the garage for arts and crafts, rent it out, or use it to store equipment to maintain the property and homes.

Your Turn: How Would You Do It?

What are your thoughts and ideas on a small tiny house community like this? If you were to go about it, how would you set it up?

Would you purchase the property? Would you lease it with the right to sub-lease?

Would you set up an organization of some kind to run it?

Can you see this working in an area that you know of near you? If so please share your thoughts and pass this article along to anyone who might be interested.

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Alex

Alex has been living in small spaces for more than 7 years, he's the founding editor of TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter, and has passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. Send in your story and tiny home photos so we can share and inspire others towards simplicity too. Thank you!

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{ 126 comments }

  • Teri December 29, 2012, 7:37 pm

    Alex, I love all your ideas! I wouldn’t be part of the investment, but I’d love the option to rent a space for my TH. How about reserving a couple of the big house’s rooms to rent out as guest rooms for visiting friends & family?

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    • Alex December 30, 2012, 3:19 pm

      Thanks Teri, great idea on offering some of the rooms in the larger house for rent or to use as guest rooms. Someone else also mentioned having someone live in that house to keep it maintained and manage things.

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      • jes March 3, 2014, 2:00 am

        Hi Everybody. I have a 70 acre piece of property in NY in the Adirondacks. It’s pretty cold in the winter months, but I Love it, and I am in the process of building my Tiny Home. I already have a few ‘Seasonal Cabins’ and I have not had any problems with zoning or the town or anything. I’m fairly certain it would be no problem for me to host builders, or guests on my property. If anybody is interested email me. This is the first I’ve thought of it, so the details would have to be worked out, but it’s do-able. I have plenty of room for people who need space to build, and take your little home with you when you go, or for storage, or for people who want to move around seasonally, or permanently stay in their own home in the woods on my property. Just throwing it out there ! Good luck to everyone in their Big -Tiny endeavors….. ‘auntiejessiesplace@gmail.com’

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    • Cheryl Martin February 2, 2013, 11:03 am

      Teri and Alex,
      How about a mixed use property, that allows for both parking space and living. An idea I had, was this property in Mound MN also lies on Minnetrista too, and on this side of the property one could park TH like camping sites or for those who work from home have like a TH business area. It would be cool to do business with these THB’s eccentric village.

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      • Amy Taylor December 18, 2013, 7:11 pm

        Hi! I’d love to hear if you get anywhere with this idea. I live in the twin cities but an interested in living outside the city in a small creative community. I also want to build a TH!

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      • Kachina June 13, 2014, 6:10 pm

        I live outside of Rochester and I definitely have caught the TH bug! My imagination has gone wild with the thought of developing a TH community, as well. I would love to hear any further developments on your idea’s.

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  • Teri December 29, 2012, 7:39 pm

    And be conscious of setting up the first one as a model (or franchise?) for others to duplicate around the country/world.

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  • jean December 29, 2012, 7:42 pm

    I have thought a lot about this community idea. If I had the money, I would start w/an acre with 10-12 houses primarily for older singles/couples. It would have a round outer area drive and center common area with little fences so there could be private gardens.A covered area in commons and benches

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    • Mikki December 29, 2012, 11:24 pm

      Jean, have you been hanging out inside my head? :0) this is precisely what I have in mind.

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    • Alex December 30, 2012, 3:20 pm

      Wonderful idea Jean. Thanks for sharing!

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  • LaMar Alexander LaMar December 29, 2012, 7:43 pm

    well, it is a nice idea however most cities have zoning restrictions that prevent permanent living in any RV or non permanent huuse.

    Some counties allow the homeowner to park their own RV or house on wheels for their own use but that would not apply to renting spaces.

    That would require permitting as an RV lot and you would have to meet code for water, sewer and power for each unit and run it as a taxed business.

    I am not trying to discourage the idea but just laying out the realities in case someone jumps in and tries to do this.

    Unfortunately, our state and local governments have discouraged any low cost housing ideas because they want permanent large houses that they can collect big property taxes on.

    There are still some very rural places that allow any kind of home as long as you have water and sewer and that would be my suggestion for people looking for a sustainable way to live.

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    • Alex December 30, 2012, 3:23 pm

      Thanks LaMar, I agree, I just know there has to be exceptions or some sort of way to do it. Whether it consists of converting/permitting to RV lot or some type of commune or association. But you’re right. The government insists on permanent housing that can be taxed. Understandably, if only we can meet somewhere in the middle. There must be ways..

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      • LaMar Alexander LaMar December 30, 2012, 3:58 pm

        There is a way to do it but it means fighting city hall and since they rely on the big home tax payer that do not want your little house bringing down property values it is not a fight you can win unless you can get enough people behind the idea.

        It is more possible in very rural counties that need people and don’t care what kind of house you live in and that is where these small house communes are popping up and are welcome.

        LaMar

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      • Carl July 15, 2014, 4:04 pm

        I was thinking more along the lines of not fighting with the city at all. Buy a large property, outside the city limits. A piece of land that can be used as a farm. A place to live, not just in a tiny home, but as a small community, with several homes on wheels. Everyone growing their own food, and raising farm animals. A “homestead” community, if you will. My love, Bonnielee and myself, are looking for property right now, just for this purpose.

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    • Keven December 30, 2012, 5:14 pm

      You are right on spot. It is all about revenue for the government. If you can’t plug your project into existing revenue patterns they are not interested. The basic permit fees many times will exceed the actual value of tiny homes constructed.
      I think Jay has the right idea basing a community around a mobile home park theme. Infill projects such as “In-law Quarters” can be added to existing housing at a minimal installation cost to existing utilities. This can offset the homeowners basic mortgage costs.

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    • Holly January 6, 2013, 1:12 am

      Sewer is not required to have a house in many places. There are many people with eco friendly houses and they use composting toilets(no water).

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    • Cheryl Martin February 2, 2013, 10:46 am

      I too ran a Craigslist inquiry and got similar results for Minnesota. However, I am inspired by Jay Shafer’s event in Northern CA to build a tiny house village by 2015. And in reply to your post of how to go about it; There is a closed trailer park in Mound MN, that would be ideal location and recycle of land. The lots are zoned for sub division, so each buyer could purchase their land and build their house/appliances, either option for on grid or off. My next thought was to incorporate a buy back program; in the event someone needs to leave their home could go with and the land resold. Making the homes both stationary and mobile.
      The process; find investors and buy the land, develop the land to provide comfortable lots for the homes, sell the homes with either sweat equity -help building, or contracted build, equip the house with appliances, have a common area with emergency shelter for storms. This property has shoreline on Lake Minnetonka, so applying a beach or boat launch or more green a canoe deck would enhance the environment. Supporting solar and wind would be easily applied.

      Feel free to contact me and we can put these ideas in to motion.

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      • Dale February 20, 2014, 11:39 pm

        Am interested in pursuing something like this for my retirement in 5 years. Living in Chicago and probably want to go somewhere warmer than Minnesota. Any interest in different location?

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  • joan hanlon December 29, 2012, 7:46 pm

    I saw a couple of empty lots near 14th and Wadsworth in Lakewood, Colorado that would be perfect for a little Tiny Home community. It is a block from the new light rail system, is already zoned for commercial, yet has a residential ‘feel’ to it…lots of trees in the neighborhood, one large tree on the property! There is already a mobile home community down the street. I’m not in the market for this right now…but thought I would mention it for anyone who might be interested.

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    • Alex December 30, 2012, 3:24 pm

      Thanks Joan, that’s really interesting. I’m sure this is all possible it’s just not normal yet and hasn’t really been done before.

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    • Katharine January 2, 2013, 3:24 pm

      I love the idea of buying a an existing home and converting it into a “common house” for all to use. My husband and I have been discussing doing that for a completely different project. There are “executive farms” all around the Longmont/Lafayette area that could work. Hmmm…..

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  • Tiny Houses Hankerings December 29, 2012, 7:50 pm

    What a great idea! I also like the idea of keeping the main house as a guest house, party house, big kitchen area, etc. Or rent the big house out to one person who is the “caretaker” of the house, making sure it is lived in, cleaned, and setting up schedules for the tiny houses’ guests and events. I LOVE this idea.

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  • Tiny Houses Hankerings December 29, 2012, 7:52 pm

    At LaMar, I just saw your comment after I posted mine. You bring up some very important (and depressing) points. It stinks that cities have so many codes that basically work against affordable housing options. we need to start finding ways to change that.

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    • Alex December 30, 2012, 3:25 pm

      Agreed.. It’s challenging for sure, but as you said, we must find ways.

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  • Teri December 29, 2012, 8:07 pm

    House codes can be changed with influence from the TH movers & shakers. Jay has obtained cooperation if not encouragement from our Sonoma County, CA planning dept. to start his Napoleon Complex. Contact your county supervisors. Everyone should have a relationship with them anyway, easy to get positive responses from them at election times. This is an idea whose time has come. We just need to put some pressure on the agencies standing in our way!

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    • Alex December 30, 2012, 3:25 pm

      Well said, Teri, thank you!

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  • Denise December 29, 2012, 8:42 pm

    I’m going to the grocery store for boxes, so I can pack! Any ideas for an Oregon location? Please keep us posted, thanks!

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  • Jamie December 29, 2012, 9:47 pm

    Great ideas. I live in a small rural area. Thinking this would be great for those who want to downsize. My concern is individual upkeep on properties. A caretaker would be nice, but then fees increase with growth. My needs are small and not so demanding. I suggest depending on intentions for community to keep it economical for those in retirement or elderly or handicapped.

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    • Alex December 30, 2012, 3:27 pm

      Thanks Jamie. I think there has to be a balance between affordability and maintaining upkeep/standards for one of these communities, otherwise I can see it turn ugly or where it ends up that one person is doing way more than others without any form of compensation.

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    • Alex December 30, 2012, 3:28 pm

      Or even worse, it not getting done it all and it turning into a trailer parks many that frown on. I wouldn’t want that.

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  • signalfire December 29, 2012, 10:08 pm

    When I went looking for small inexpensive housing, I briefly looked at mobile home parks (not RV parks, but manufactured homes that obviously were rarely moved). It seemed as if each park had several derelict 1970s era, ugly, unkempt to the point of algae-covered ‘houses’, all for sale but obviously with no takers. Meanwhile, they sat on perfectly good 20 x 70 or so foot lots. It seems like if even ONE of those ugly decrepit places were removed, the guts recycled or sold for scrap, and replaced with a cottage-style cute wood trim and flower box tiny house, the park owners would have people clamoring to move into it! Seems like over a few year’s time, they would naturally swap out until the whole park was practically a tourist attraction (a la Carmel-by-the-Sea’s fantasy homes).

    Typically, all the ‘park goodies’ like a common laundry area, playground and sometimes pool are already there, and certainly the zoning couldn’t be an issue. I’d be surprised if the mobile home park owner’s associations weren’t already ‘on it’, to tell you the truth. So much nicer then the manufactured aluminum-clad places…

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    • Garth December 30, 2012, 2:00 am

      I’m glad you mentioned the laundry facilities because these take a lot of room and go unused most of the time in a home of any kind. Being able to share them by having one washer and dryer for every ten or so houses is good, especially since tiny houses don’t really have the room for them and driving to a laundromat is definitely not ideal.

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      • Alex December 30, 2012, 3:30 pm

        Great point Garth. I live in an apartment building where we have 20-25 units sharing just two sets of laundry machines and it works out just fine. This way we don’t have to have the clunky machines in our small apartments.

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    • Alex December 30, 2012, 3:29 pm

      Wow, excellent point Signalfire. I guess the infrastructure for our idea already exists in many areas. There’s just work to be done first. If parks like these were ‘overhauled’ it certainly would attract people (us).

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  • TomLeeM December 29, 2012, 10:24 pm

    I would rather have many small houses together than one really big one.

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  • jerryd December 29, 2012, 10:27 pm

    In most places this particular way won’t fly because of zoning laws.

    But other ways could if you get creative. For instance buying old run down trailer parks, get land and make it a ‘boat yard’, make floating ones rafted together, get out of cities into the county, old farm with/or migrant worker camps.

    Land in run down areas cities want to improve might be a good target and the pols more likely to give high density and other concessions for tiny homes.

    Since I have little money I’ll either go the floating or boatyard method both of which are good in my area of fla and in many coastal areas.

    I’m going to see about dock space in the port as many have shallow areas not good for for commercial purposes but suited for out 1′ deep ‘houseboats’ . Basically I’ll build concrete barges for people to put tiny houses on at low cost.

    Or an inland ‘boat yard’ of tiny houses is another.

    Go to the officals that you want to do a demostration of small RE homes with the idea more singles need smaller homes. Or go the Senior/retiree route to justify code changes.

    I’m doing a 4-5 unit compound on 2 50’x100’lots with 2 144sq’cabins on a mobilehome frame along with an old wash house that had toilet, sink and shower so qualified as a legal home and will build 2 ‘sheds’ that become legal homes when I sell it.

    Be creative and you can do it and make money while giving others a great deal.

    Each area will be different, look around and see what is availble in your area. Try to remember to pick good RE sites with good sun and wind resources.

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    • Alex December 30, 2012, 3:32 pm

      Good idea Jerry, thanks!

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  • Mikki December 29, 2012, 11:21 pm

    I have been obsessing about this idea for some time now. I would like to go in on a plot of land with some like-minded people (I have 2 others who are wanting to join this venture with us) somewhere in a warmer climate (I live in Michigan). I’m thinking in North Carolina….possibly outside of Ashville? or Charlotte? I’d like to be in, or close to the mountains and within 1/2 hour of a progressive city. I’m so ready for the ‘tiny’ life!

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    • Greg N. December 30, 2012, 1:45 pm

      @Mikki:
      Same here. Been doing a lot research where I live in OH (near Columbus), but love Asheville and being an avid backpacker, the mountains sound great.

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    • BIll Burgess December 30, 2012, 2:26 pm

      North Carolina Progressive? Well yes more so than South Carolina but still…Zoning will be your issue and trying to get something by the 1% that control the McMansion permitting process is a fight that has to be made, we are all with you in spirit.

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      • Janis September 16, 2013, 2:21 pm

        Well, I am very excited to see someone looking for a community development in the south.

        I am from north Georgia and although I retired to Florida, I want a tiny house on wheels so very bad but all I read was those up north.

        I am VERY interested in this idea. Although living by way of retirement income, I could make it work. And I want the woods and walking trails and water to sit by.

        I have been trying to find someone to build mine with my budget to get the basic 8×24 home built with electrica and water installed and let me finish the inside and paint the outside.

        I wish we could get this going for real!

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    • Alex December 30, 2012, 3:33 pm

      I’m pretty sure there’s land around half an hour away from Asheville in the mountains with no building codes. Our friend Laura LaVoie lives in that area in an off grid tiny cabin.

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      • Laura M. LaVoie December 30, 2012, 10:29 pm

        There is. If you stay outside of buncombe county you can find some suitable land. It is possible.

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    • Shannon Holman January 11, 2013, 9:35 pm

      @Mikki, I’m in the same boat. I’m looking at a property right now that’s within 30 miles of Asheville city center, 8 mostly wooded acres. Having lived in a co-op in college, I thought my days of communal living were well behind me, but with a half-dozen people or so at more than an acre each, we’d be able to stay out of each other’s hair.
      There’s a decrepit but beautiful farmhouse on the property that I think I could bring back to life enough to make a good place for visitors, co-working, and hanging out (though I think bringing the house up to code enough to get a certificate of occupancy would bankrupt me).
      I hope this conversation can continue.

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      • Virgil June 10, 2014, 5:05 pm

        I’m also interested in N. C. Area for tiny home. Could you give me info also? I have been searching for land also.

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    • Julie February 9, 2013, 2:54 pm

      I’d definitely be interested in investing in some land somewhere in NC. I’m currently aware of 40 acres selling for $55,000 in Cove City, NC which is much closer to the coast, but that’s a lot of land for a really great price. I also believe it has no zoning restrictions.

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    • Linda Mason November 24, 2013, 10:30 am

      Hi Mikki, I own a 20 acre piece of wooded land outside of Winston-Salem, NC. I’ve lived here in this charming farmhouse for 24 years.
      It’s on the market to sell. In my heart, I’d love to stay here, build a tiny house. With 20 acres, there’s lots of room for a other tiny houses.
      It’s close to the mountains, a clean river, a city with arts and music.
      And it’s QUIET and private, but close to town. There’s a spring-fed creek at the back of the property, lots of wildlife….
      Would love to network with others interested in downsizing and spending their time on things that matter, like raising food, music and art.

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      • Mary Jo O. April 15, 2014, 10:59 pm

        Linda Mason,
        I’m late seeing this, but wondering if you’ve had any takers. Hoping you haven’t sold your property by now. I’m interested in downsizing, growing food and affordable living.

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        • linda mason April 16, 2014, 8:03 pm

          Mary Jo O,
          Thanks for replying. I still have my property and am
          making lots of contacts in the “tiny house” movement
          through these sites, the tiny house building conference in Charlotte, and just people I’m happening to meet.
          Feel free to email me!

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          • Alex April 17, 2014, 10:58 am

            Thanks Linda! Let me know if there’s anything we can do for you here at THT to help with your tiny house related projects :)

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    • Dale February 20, 2014, 11:47 pm

      I live in Chicago area and retire in 5 years. Am an artist and think 450 sq ft more realistic for my needs. Also looking for like minded people to form a community. Want to be within hour or so of major airport. What time frame are you looking at?

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      • Jenny March 17, 2014, 8:42 am

        Dale, I am building my tiny house (near you) and also need workable studio space (maybe a second tiny hut). I can venture into the collar counties but not beyond that for at least 5 years. Let’s network.

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        • Jenny March 17, 2014, 10:01 am

          tinypro dot wordpress dot com

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    • Christopher Schoonover March 15, 2014, 10:45 am

      Mikki, I was just today looking at land through craigslist. I currently live in Boone, NC and found about 2.5 Acres about 30 minutes from Boone (Purlear, NC). I’m heading out to check the property today, but I know the area and it is rural/mountainous/and scarcely regulated. From the photos, it looks ideal. As far as climate, it gets pretty cold in the winters, but probably warmer than Michigan.

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  • Anna C December 29, 2012, 11:47 pm

    I live in a college town… I was contemplating buying out a trailer park or rv park or finding a suitable zone near the college and building tiny homes to appeal to the young people who want to be more independent… with a rent to own sort of deal or an offer to buy the home off with like a four year lease. I’m sure cheap housing would be appealing to the college kids and if they get something in the long term from it, it might be even better.

    I was planning to have a pool and recreation building, community laundry and some storage units that I’d rent out separately… and maybe a large recreational lawn that could be reserved for parties or other social events.

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    • Alex December 30, 2012, 3:34 pm

      Great idea Anna. I think college kids would LOVE this. Especially considering that 20-30 year olds statistically are earning the lowest income since the 1970s. Read that somewhere this week..

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    • Chandra Fike January 9, 2013, 10:59 pm

      Wonderful Idea Anna! I myself am still in college taking classes when I can afford it in an attempt to get by without a loan. If there was something rent to own like your description near a state college you would get a huge response especially because many students are burning their out of pocket and loan money on rentals rather than an investment such as a tiny house. If these tiny homes were built on trailers you could provide a market for a builder to produce and sell their homes on your site when the student graduates and takes their home with them.

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      • Catherine Webb January 22, 2013, 7:51 pm

        What a FANTASTIC idea! Benefits builders, benefits the student and gives them a great start to life! If they don’t wish to continue TH living later on, they can sell it for a profit as a downpayment for a home. Excellent all the way around.

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  • Lise December 29, 2012, 11:55 pm

    This is EXACTLY what Mah Hubz and I have wanted to do for several years! It’s similar to co-housing, but built with Tiny Homes! The only thing holding us back has been money (lack thereof) and owning a property to do it on. However, there are so many places in our own area that we have identified that would be perfect for doing this (mobile home estates already plotted & set up, but the developments went bankrupt, etc). Anyone interested in coming to Vancouver (not BC), Washington (not DC)?! We’re just on the North side of the river across from Portland (Oregon, not Maine! In Clark County – not Nevada! lol).

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    • BIll Burgess December 30, 2012, 2:44 pm

      Now that small home movement is not seen as just emergency shelter for the homeless, what you are planning is what so many of us have been hoping for. Tiny Texas Houses has their “Villages” plotted and moving ahead full steam. This is what many will use as a format and many of the Ideas can be shared and improved or modified to fit the opportunities that will be in our areas of the country. Expanding the footprint is an issue. Chappin had a great start there on Widby Island with his Pocket Neighborhood at 700 sq.ft. per unit and has not been able to build a small one since the first in 1987.

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      • Alex December 30, 2012, 3:35 pm

        Thanks Bill! Wasn’t aware of some of that.

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      • sunshineandrain December 30, 2012, 9:43 pm

        I just came from tinytexashomes.com where I did a search for village and came up with nothing.

        Would you share the web address for the village information? I’d like to research it.

        Thanks.

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    • Liz March 24, 2013, 8:38 pm

      I am looking for a tiny lot in the Northwest to put an Ideabox on (Salem Company). Do you really know of mobile home estates that have been zoned but not built out?

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  • sunshineandrain December 30, 2012, 1:22 am

    signalfire, jerryd, Anna C, & Lise,
    I second your idea of either buying or moving into mobile home estates (occupied with mobile homes or not) already plotted & set up as a way to build tiny house communities.

    For those of us who have limited funds, moving into such an estate would be a great way to live, after building (or buying) a tiny house. For those of us who have means, buying such an estate and renting lots as a business would also be a great way to live and provide the opportunity for others to join the tiny (simplified, economical, satisfying, use your own adjective) way of life.

    I would hope that no “franchise” system be initiated; though, that would stifle the ability of both those with means and those with limited funds to have access to the tiny house way of life. Greed would kill our way of life. We need to do everything possible to make it possible for any who want to live as a debt-free homeowner, to be able to do so (of any income level).

    I am all for the American market economy. It is an equitable system as long as “sufficient-to-live profit” drives it and not greed.
    Let’s welcome those who would join us to do so.

    P.S. I have taken this idea to heart and will look seriously at doing this. Happy New Year! December 30, 2012 sunshineandrain

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    • BIll Burgess December 30, 2012, 2:48 pm

      Tiny Texas Houses has their “Villages” Idea and Pure Salvage Living to help with almost any of these desires.

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  • Laura M. LaVoie December 30, 2012, 8:15 am

    Not only do I think this is possible, but I think that this will be something we will see quite a bit of in the years to come. There are ways to handle the zoning and code issues. I think it is also a great way to encourage urban density. There are people who are interested in investing in this type of things so it is just a matter of doing the leg work to figure out the most viable solution.

    Thanks for sharing this idea!

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  • "Squawking Goose" December 30, 2012, 1:39 pm

    Hi Alex, etal

    We already have what may be the perfect site in north central Wyoming. Our property of 31 acres has a small
    forest, 6 ponds, streams, a river, and a waterfall. While not interested in lending out our family house, there are at least six and as many as a dozen sites that could host a “tiny house on a trailer”, for the appropriate individual.

    I will make no attempt to profer any of the sites at this time, but if there is interest in such an arrangement… Alex can give an interested ‘enthusiast’ my email address.

    I might also be interested in proffering support for
    building a tiny home on wheels for someone who has the skills, but perhaps not all the cash to do so.

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    • Christopher Schoonover March 15, 2014, 11:07 am

      I have recently been reevaluating lifestyle and scale and come to the conclusion that the endless cycle of toiling to afford distractions to make up for the misery of toil is an absolutely pointless cycle. I am a structural engineer and a renewable energy grad student (single father of 2). I am looking for a lifestyle that affords me the ability to work part time, homeschool my kids, and still have enough money at the end of the month that I’m not stressed over how to pay the bills or forced into a job that I loath to maintain a life that I’m not around to enjoy.

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      • kim March 19, 2014, 8:00 pm

        Christopher Schoonover. Your idea on working to buy toys that you don’t have time to use has been my thoughts for a few years. Most people think I’m odd. Have been trying to figure out how to live small and work less. Let all of us know if you get there. Good luck.

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  • BIll Burgess December 30, 2012, 2:53 pm

    Some sort of National movement for the repeal of minimum square footage needs to be established. I don’t think we will ever get a ban on maximum footage if we can’t even get the rich to pay their fair share of taxes and corporations are people.

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  • Dale Barnhart December 30, 2012, 3:54 pm

    First off here in Va. & many of the East Coast Mid-Atlantic states, existing trailer or M.H.Estate communities do exist in abundence/grandfathered while only under original creator/heir. Once sold, everything changes with regard to the new/latest regulations… further, the grandfathered size is minium of > 600′ whether it’s a single wide or more wide(?); point being a tiny house < 200' is still not an option – it simply will not happen sorry to say. Further, as you & I both know, lot rents alone have increased every year – with no rent control options – yes, not even Section 8 vouchers for the disabled, etc.. One final note about M.H.Estate lots/villages is that anything over 15 years age either must be replaced or towed out or they slap fines daily to literally force the occupant to sale/update to meet all new EPA/HUD standards! This is exactly the reason why many retiress who went to Florida years ago, can no longer afford to stay in Fl., due to $ 450 – $ 900.00+ lot rents. So a co-op must be in place – not a corporaption whose sole purpose is profit driven.

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    • sunshineandrain December 30, 2012, 8:17 pm

      I appreciate your input and information.

      Do you know what is involved in creating a co-op?

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      • Dale Barnhart December 31, 2012, 12:52 am

        I would suggest that a LLC be set up locally with help from an attorney to start with a special theme – keep it simple… like a camping retreat for private farming/hunting/social club; under this arrangement, one has better pull through use of LLC attorneys for the good-old-boy-network of land planners than individually. This is what my attorney suggested to me when I wanted to place a new park model on my private woodlot ( < 400' ), in order to be able to live year-round, otherwise it will not be aproved in my county for a single retirement cottage – all mail/permits/utilities/legal paperwork has to reside only to the assigned registered post office box, if one is to bypass legally these local draconian stipulations! So much for a free country, right? Hope this may help others in their quest to be able to live in retirement in an upscale RV park model in their local county as well? This is needed because in most jursidictions, one can live in any RV 180 days out of 365 days in a calendar year; not the option to live a total of 365 days entotal/year-round.

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  • L.A. December 30, 2012, 5:33 pm

    Great article Alex.

    I have been quietly working on this idea for some time. Its time to give birth to it. Contact me for more info if U wish.

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    • Virginia January 1, 2013, 5:21 am

      Am interested in a tiny house comminity. I live in Santa Clarita, CA.

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      • Dara January 8, 2013, 3:03 am

        I too live in Santa Clarita, CA. I was thinking about how great it would be to use the land at what used to be called the Smiser Mule Ranch. Do you know of it? What do you think? Do you think we should ask?

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        • Virginia La Monica January 8, 2013, 3:10 pm

          Did you know that once the last Mule died, the land was up for sale. However, the neighbors pitched a fit and petitioned to close the proposed development down, saying among other things, that it was too dense and there would be too much traffic in the area. The proposal was for businesses, offices, apartments, restaurants, stores, and a new gym. Might I add that these same neighbors had years before objected to the Mules. I love Newhall and live close by Wiley Elementary School. It would not hurt to ask. We would probably want to go to a City Hall meeting. Please feel free to contact me at: valamonica@gmail.com. Looking forward to speaking with you further. Virginia

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  • Who December 30, 2012, 5:49 pm

    I was thinking the same thing
    I HAVE PROPERTY that would be perfect for this.
    Altough it does not have a home on it now, the county really is lax on codes, etc and people are building mostly anything they want. A community house could be built using containers! Plenty of space for gardens etc. Lots of homesteaders in the area. the biggest expense would be a well, but the cost divided amoung a few people would not be bad. Everyone can use solar ( and/or) wind… but electricity is very close. The land is high desert FLAT land near
    Belen, NM. I have 4 one acre lots, two lots are togehter near the highway and the other two are also togheter a little further from the highway but not that far.
    Want to talk about it?
    LFIRE88(at) yahoo ( dot) com.

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  • Teri December 30, 2012, 7:56 pm

    Alex, this particular thread is getting really exciting in moving along the establishment of villages across the country/world! I just emailed a request to Michael Janzen michael.s.janzen@gmail.com (do you know him?) who developed the Tiny House Map, asking him to add a category to the map called “Tiny House Villages”. If he can/will do it, we can connect locally with like-minded people who have land, funding, ideas, and/or needs for the development of a village in their local community. Hope this works!
    Teri

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    • Teri January 3, 2013, 3:40 pm

      Great news! I just heard from Michael Janzen and he’s going to work on adding a “Tiny House Village” category to his excellent Tiny House Map site http://www.tinyhousemap.com Please use it to list land, funding, ideas, and/or needs for the development of a village in your local areas!

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  • Staceyranae December 31, 2012, 10:01 pm

    One of the bigest problems for tiny living is property! My uncle has a “camper lot” ( well 2 apx. 50ft. x 100ft) see what has come of it :) .. @ bvtxweb.com_ magnolia_ walkup ………… Enjoy!

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  • Jerry December 31, 2012, 10:54 pm

    The basic zoning terms for housing are single-family usage or multi-family usage. Regardless of being a duplex, a set of condos, an RV park, etc, it will require multi-family zoning in most municipalities.

    When attempting to make changes through the political system, it’s best to find allies as fast as possible. Search for similar types of projects such as shipping container buildings and specialty park model zoning. Find out which politicians and groups supported existing codes that are similar to what you need, and seek out their advice and assistance.

    I think the main issue will resolve around sewage. For a community of tiny homes, there will need to be serious time (and some money) invested in proving a particular sewage system will work and meet all regulations. Dealing with human waste is the one of the top concerns when considering multi-family housing systems. There will have to be a mandated method for hooking up safely to greywater and blackwater drainage.

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  • jimmy bee January 1, 2013, 12:24 pm

    If i were to live in a tiny house i would build a insulated shed on a cement slab for a bathroom and laundry room complete with fan exhaust and heat. Run the toilet into a septic and the rest into a gray water retention pond with water plants to clean the water. one of the biggest costs in my house after heat is the water and sewer charges from the city every month. Boy do i miss my 5 acres and the septic tank!

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  • gus gregerson January 1, 2013, 6:00 pm

    My partner of 40+ years and I have been discussing a “family compound” in the non-elitist/non-exclusionary-retreatist ideal. Several tiny houses, individualized to the needs of our multi-generational family and large extended family, each unit self contained. These would surround a central laundry, community kitchen, universal access bathroom/laundry area with a commons open area available for group meals, meetings, crafting, fun. Loosely guided by a sense of aging in place and security of freedom from mortgage. Low impact, easily maintained, eco-conscious and for the most part, grid-free. Work in progress.

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    • Virginia January 1, 2013, 7:41 pm

      Am interested if in my area. Santa Clarita Valley, CA

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  • Margo January 3, 2013, 8:50 am

    Certain friends of mine and I had a similar idea for when we retire. Instead of going to an old-folks-home, we would pool our resources and build our own community. Each person would have their own cottage on a property with a main house where a care-taker couple could live. The man could help us with heavy work and maitainance, while the wife would help us with domestic things and personal care. There would be little paths leading to each cottage so we could get in our little Rascals and buzz over to coffee clutch with our neighbors. friends and relatives could stay in the main house for visits. We like to dream, but why not? Health care is going to be so expensive, this might be a viable alternative. Elderly banning together to care for each other.

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    • Sharon January 7, 2013, 12:36 pm

      Margo – I’ve been dreaming of the same age-in-place concept myself, in the mid-Atlantic area.

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    • Catherine Webb January 22, 2013, 8:17 pm

      Love this idea! I think it makes a lot of sense too. Historically, families took care of the aging. We’ve moved into a more isolated idea of caring for aging individuals. Your idea maintains independence, allows for appropriate care, and gives a couple some employment and housing in a mostly self-sustaining system. I would love this idea in the future. And, yes you can dream. :)

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  • Margo January 8, 2013, 12:44 pm

    Maybe we have tapped into a future trend, if so many isolated people from so many backgrounds are feeling a similar way…

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  • Bea January 9, 2013, 4:45 pm

    I’m another Tiny House fan and community dreamer like Margo and Sharon. Actually, I do have some money to put into the land and utilities, but NO inclination to fight for legality. My location, at present, (following 2 kids) is Oregon, and I think vegetable gardening should be a part of the group commitment. (at least helping others do it) Thank you all for encouraging me to believe there might be a way to really do what I’ve been imagining for years! There are MILLIONS of aging boomers wanting to downsize/simplify and share with others of all ages. We need to do this!

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  • Virginia La Monica January 9, 2013, 5:36 pm

    Right on Bea. We have to get out of this rat race. Who says you have to have a 30-year mortgage and a car payment! KIS (“Keep It Simple”).

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    • Jo Anne February 6, 2014, 12:41 pm

      I agree !

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  • Lauren B January 10, 2013, 3:01 am

    I live in Cyprus with my partner and we have been looking into sustainable housing here too. We are still considering exactly how to construct our house and will likely go down the route of cob of straw. However, it is the community idea that leads me to post.
    We can make several long-lasting structures that would only be considered temporary (for example, yurts, some of which can be way may than a portable tent) which is one way of dealing with building restrictions.
    Although I don’t know of any community like this on the island, I’m sure the idea would go down well because increasing amounts of people want to KIS (loving the acronym Virginia La Monica!) and become financially independent and self-sufficient. We are currently estimating how big our smallholding needs to be, which animals would be best to keep, how big the veg patch needs to be and how we can generate electricity. Although we want to become more self-sufficient in that we are fending for ourselves, we don’t want to necessarily reject new technology – just implement it in a way that is economical and sustainable.
    I love the clubhouse idea – this has really spurred us on and we are considering an earthship design for this building.
    Related to your recent thread Alex (http://tinyhousetalk.com/why-tiny-house-communities-dont-exist/), we are in two minds whether to we want to build this as an ecotourism site or a community where people live permanently. I don’t really want to be making extortionate amounts of money off people for a novelty idea, although it would be nice to inspire people to make this move if it is something they have been thinking about too. I think we would both be happier living with other like minded people permanently but raising the capital to buy enough land is an issue. Maybe the ecotourism village can help fund a permanent community and be used more as an artisan village or place for workshops or even for events such as weddings, festivals.. Maybe tiny house communities in the US could help fund their community by teaching skills or allowing people of taste of tiny living life? Love reading everyone’s comments – good luck to you all and thanks for the tips and inspiration!

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  • Catherine Webb January 22, 2013, 8:39 pm

    I love the idea of a Tiny Home community! I live in central Michigan and I think this movement is mostly unfamiliar here at this point. I think what would make TH villages especially appealing to the majority of TH owners would be financially conservative. Many TH owners decided to go that route because they could live mortgage-free lives/low overhead lives. But, many seem to really relish the concept of the “olden days” of tight community and know your neighbors, so the idea makes TONS of sense if done right.

    I would love to see this start to take off. A friend of mine is checking into what it would cost to build me the Tiny House layout I liked best. As a single mom with 4 kids, this isn’t a reasonable idea right now, but building one soon may be so that I have it on hand for the future. When child support is finished, I’ll have no choice but to sell my home and my goal is to live mortgage-free. I would love to see reasonably, classy Tiny Home Villages/Neighborhoods pop up as an alternative to the over-sized, over-priced American dream which just isn’t for everyone. :)

    Loved reading these comments!

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    • Lynn February 24, 2014, 10:24 pm

      I am actually looking into the idea of doing this very thing in Northern Mi. I own 5 acres a few miles from a small village (about 10-11 miles from a larger town), surrounded by mostly farm land and woods. There is a larger home at the front of the property
      (where i currently live… Starting construction on my tiny house in the spring)
      so I’m set there as far as zoning goes. My
      father owns around 100 acres adjoining my
      parcel and he is interested in a tiny home
      community as well, so space isnt an issue. I
      was thinking that I could probably get it
      approved for a campground/rv park then
      rent the lots to “custom RV’s” (aka tiny
      houses) on a monthly basis. Each plot would
      be large enough to accommodate a small
      garden if the homeowner chose to put one
      in and/or landscaping around the home. We have an RV park a few miles away that has had some of the same tenants in it for over 22 years now that I know of, so I don’t think it would be much of an issue with long term renters.
      I was even thinking that if I could indeed get approval for the project, that I might be able to find some folks that would be able to help get things set up in exchange for some free “parking space” for their homes for awhile. Anyone have any thoughts?

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  • Dara January 30, 2013, 12:47 pm

    Hi Virginia. How about a trip together to the Smiser Ranch. I was thinking we need to have some sort of tiny house design to show them what we are proposing. This could be a rent situation where we each have a little plot of land on their property. What do you think? I have also thought of talking to the Lombardi family as I believe they have property around their farm. Maybe I’m way off on this. I have racke my brain trying to think of where I could put a tiny house. Text me if you like and perhaps we can proceed with our dream. Dara

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  • Virginia La Monica January 30, 2013, 1:14 pm

    Alex: How can I get in contact with L.A.? and Dara?

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  • Greg March 5, 2013, 10:21 pm

    Hello my name is Greg,I’m new to the tiny house idea but am very interested in learning more.I’m a state certified general contractor in Florida and was thinking about building a tiny home community on some land we bought before the construction bottom fell out,my idea is to build small communities on 5 acre lots,I’m thinking we could build 30-40 tiny homes on these 5 acre lots,quick math on home and lot would be around $40,000,there would be water and septic and I think we could do solar as well, you would own the house and land.is this something the tiny home community would be interested in, or would the price be too much for you? please give me some feedback so I can start the process of land use change and see if this is something the counties here in Florida would even allow.
    Greg

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    • Janis September 16, 2013, 2:39 pm

      Hello Greg,
      great to hear you are in Florida, I retired here 3 yrs ago. Tired of the condo lease and want to build my own tiny house but no place to go with it. Not sure RV parks let these homes in them.

      Where are you located with your community? Love the idea of more land around our tiny houses however, being retired and income what it is, I would not be able to come up with the amount you are speaking of. But, still very interested and let me know what is going on with this.

      Best wishes

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    • Jack November 24, 2013, 11:23 am

      I’m interested….any updates to your planning?

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    • Nathan Lemmonn April 12, 2014, 1:18 pm

      40,000 sounds great. Have to probably promote as a trailer park to start.

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  • Greg March 5, 2013, 10:24 pm

    the homes I was thinking about would be 364 sq.ft

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  • Squawking.Goose March 25, 2013, 3:53 pm

    Would still like to find an acceptable ‘tiny house enthusiast & prepper’ to bring their tiny home on wheels to north central Wyoming, or to build one here on our rural, river front acreage… just a short 4 miles from town. See my December 30, 2012 post, below. Dialog welcomed; “What arrangements might work best”?

    squawking.goose@yahoo.com

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  • Marion June 12, 2013, 1:25 am

    Just as there are housing development s that limit how big and how small a house and how much brick or how many windows have to face the street. You should be able to do this on a small scale for smaller homes for people who travel and show that instead of having say 80 big homes in this housing area you could have 160 so they would get the same in taxes it would just be on smaller houses and more of them and that it might be a revolving population and the management would collect the taxes for the amount of time that the space is in use instead of the land sitting unused all the time. It would take a motivated city planning and a person willing to spent the time being creative in a approach to the planning boards. There are a lot of cities hurting for population. and there are grants available for commune living so maybe need to have a psychology major to write it up as a paper to get it to go through as a experiment in communal living.
    Just a thought

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  • Nicole June 12, 2013, 10:18 pm

    I am open to the idea of such a community. I like the idea of using the”big house” or “main house” on the property as a club house. That way, it is run and operated by the Tiny House owners on the surrounding acres and reduces the high turnaround of renters in that space. Also, if necessary, the Tiny House owners could allocate one particular room or portion of the main “clubhouse” to be available for rent for weddings, meetings, fitness camps, etc. OR it could be used for rent/lodging for university students or their parents when they are moving in or visiting before their first semester behings…or it could be used for rent/lodging for other Tiny House enthusiasts who are traveling from other states to visit the area for the weekend or for a few days.

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  • Dara August 10, 2013, 1:13 pm

    Still looking for a small parcel of land to either buy or rent in the Santa Clarita Valley or surrounding area for tiny house parking. Any suggestions?

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  • Virginia La Monica August 10, 2013, 1:18 pm

    Dara: Hi, it’s me Virginia, I live in Newhall. Call me: 661.236.6316.

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  • kim September 7, 2013, 5:24 pm

    It would be nice to find a camp, such as a church camp in the Carolinas for sale. One that had the main building, and many small cabins. Could maybe could expand from that with more small cabin/houses. It would be the start of a perfect small house community.

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  • New York September 12, 2013, 9:15 am

    Have land in Sullivan County NY that I’m trying to figure out what to do with. If anyone is local to the area and interested let me know. Right now it’s 26acres of raw land with no home.

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  • Joshua November 7, 2013, 11:12 am

    Years ago, before I ever heard of a tiny house movement, I had a friend who bought a 10 acre parcel of land. He build the largest “tuff shed type” shed he could and converted it into a house for himself. But he didn’t stop there. He bought 8 more smaller ones, seven of them became studio rentals, while number 8 became a communal bath, shower, laundry room. The money he made on the rentals made his property payment and taxes. Additionally the affordable rent apartments gave a wonderful leg up to young people and others who needed an affordable place to live. That is a working example of a tiny house community.

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  • Pam February 4, 2014, 6:49 pm

    This is what I am trying to pull together in Eugene, OR and would love to talk with anyone in the area about this. However zoning regs states that a tiny home certified as an RV cannot be lived in at one location for more than 30 days. So if you move every month, you should be able to get around that. To be on a lot, the tiny home must be on a foundation, the owner of the house must live in the main residence and that they cannot charge rent.
    I think this will change as more people get involved but right now there are roadblocks. I see an alternative as a coop of people buying a lot zoned for commercial or mixed use and then setting up utilities — an expensive deal.
    There must be a solution.

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  • Holli February 5, 2014, 4:32 am

    My urban acreage is in Kansas City, with a bungalow house on site for the commons/club house area. I’m currently working with the local municipalities to get my village idea moving forward. This setting includes wooded hills, level southern exposure, and overlooking a true city scape with railyard…..something for everyone! I’d like to see about/help set up a way to network with others who are in my area? Holliajoyce@yahoo.com

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  • Jo Anne February 6, 2014, 12:37 pm

    I’ve been looking for over three years now with not much luck in less you want to live in FL. or AZ. Here in Ohio , there are privite property owners that turned thier place into a campground , where you can put campers , park models , but the draw back is they don’t have running water in the winter time because the lines are not below the freeze line. I’ve played with the idea of buying land and setting it up for year round living for park models , there are alot of people that would love living in a smaller area.

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  • Valerie March 16, 2014, 2:27 pm

    I have been SOOOO wanting to do this in my area, but no towns will allow it. As a Realtor, I meet SO many people, women in particular, who love the thought of new and tiny yet community oriented. We have co-op communities that operate like this with a community building, but they are mostly connected and not free-standing. Someday, someway…..

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  • Steven March 16, 2014, 2:58 pm

    I live in Texas and from what I have been reading is Texas don’t have zoneing laws outside of city limits, you still have permitting reg’s here but so long as you follow the codes your in good shape. All that being said I’ve been looking at a 35 acre piece of land down south. Would like to create my community off the grid, water will be the major player in this, so have been considering a large rain water collection system ( now the question will be how much rain do they get :) .

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    • Alex March 19, 2014, 1:06 pm

      Thanks Steven

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  • Jasmine June 4, 2014, 3:24 pm

    ALEX– we need to get a current list of all those interested that already have properties like this generated! So that when someone in a particular area is looking to build or move into that area they can see what acreage or land has been dedicated to this already or is in the works.

    I love that some folks with acreage are already doing this but we need a resource to easily find them!

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  • Doug July 25, 2014, 12:19 am

    Anyone know anywhere to park a tiny house close or in Calgary ?
    Email me.
    Doug.drumman@gmail.com

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  • Melville July 28, 2014, 5:01 am

    The larger common house could also be utilized as a shared office/work space for those who may also work from home or on the internet.

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  • Jay August 19, 2014, 2:13 pm

    Anyone serious about doing this.. I mean REALLY doing this in Massachusetts? We’ve seen the co-housing/co-op idea. We’d also be interested in just co-purchasing property and dividing it up. We would need to find the right group of people. Lets talk about it!

    We seriously started thinking about this when we found an old apple orchard for sale CHEAP near Framingham. 15 min from the university, commuter rail to Boston, and VERY beautiful land!

    -Jay

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  • Jim September 18, 2014, 1:06 pm

    Jay,
    I am in CT and interested. Let me know if you are still out there.
    -Jim

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