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Spur, Texas Becomes Nation’s First Tiny House Town?

It’s encouraging to see that the small town of Spur, Texas (population 1,088) has announced that they are welcoming tiny houses as supposedly declared by their mayor, Manuel Herrera.

But let’s clear this up right here right now. We are getting somewhere. But you might be a little disappointed to learn the truth here as explored by Andrew Odom of Tiny r(E)volution below. Are tiny houses on trailers easily permitted? We’re not sure.

But it is very clear that creatively simple and safe tiny homes on foundations are welcome with open arms. We’re just not sure about the ones on wheels. Although I personally don’t see why not. But have a read for yourself below. Either way I’m convinced this is good news for the tiny house movement. What do you think?

Related: Man Legally Living in 84 Sq. Ft. Tiny House in Spur, Texas

City of Spur America’s 1st Tiny House Friendly Town?

tiny-house-movement-in-spur-texas

Image © Barclay Gibson

City of Spur Texas Joins the Tiny House Movement!

City-of-Spur-Tiny-House-Proclamation-Resolution

The wording on Spur’s proclamation states:

“The City of Spur, having a proud tradition of the pioneer Spirit of the West and recognizing the pioneer spirit of people involved in the “Tiny” house trend and their desire to be part of a more peaceful, self-sufficient, friendly and affordable community, the City Council does hereby designate Spur as America’s first “Tiny” House friendly town.

Seems indifferent enough, right? Tiny houses welcome. Right? WRONG! It seems as if Spur forgot to make a delineation between tiny houses and tiny house trailers; a fact picked up on by the tiny house community at large. Facebook, Twitter, and a few blogs picked up on the discrepancy quickly. Was Spur just trying to pull a fast one; a marketing ploy at best? Had they intentionally overlooked tiny house trailers? What was their true motive?”

Read the original post here by Andrew Odom here: http://www.spurfreedom.com/a-revolution-begins-in-spur/

Learn more: http://www.spurfreedom.com/

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Alex

Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!

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{ 52 comments… add one }
  • Terrie Williams August 22, 2014, 11:53 am

    Well, living in Texas as I do, I can tell you that IF a person or persons BUYS a tract of land be it inside or outside of the town proper, USUALLY in Texas, you can pretty much put whatever you want on it. MOST small towns in Texas are just grateful to get the added tax dollars and business clientele. That said, one should check ahead of buying a lot, tract or parcel of land in the town/city one is going to place their tiny home on to be SURE you can place a mobile tiny home trailer on it. (they will probably be viewed as a ‘small mobile home’ having an axle. In that case, unless the town/city bars mobile homes in general, there should not be a problem. And yes, there are towns/cities that DO bar placing a mobile home within town/city limits. One being Beaumont, TX, that I know of. Outside of city limits, they have no objection.

    • Alex August 22, 2014, 12:15 pm

      Thanks Terrie we appreciate those insights!

    • TimberTrails.TV August 25, 2014, 3:12 pm

      Good point, Terrie. As mentioned on Alex’s Facebook post, we’ve visited a number or campgrounds, park model communities, and even a few traditional trailer parks to see what options are available. We’re really looking for an easy means to attach to existing infrastructure without breaking local codes or covenants governing their facilities’ classification by local municipalities.

      In each case, there are certain to be some form of housing classifications (e.g. no home-built units, only trailers from an RVIA certified builder, etc.). Length of time in a park is another consideration, for which we’ll need to find those cool with month-to-month.

      Ideally, having someone set aside space specifically for tiny houses would be great as that’s the cornerstone for building a vibrant long-term community. Offering TH’s as rental units as for the 16×16′ Hataras Cabanas is another option for those seeking a vacation property.

      Lots of options, lots of thoughts. Best to all.

      Live Large… Go Tiny! – Thom

  • Judy August 22, 2014, 12:02 pm

    After reading the interview with David Alsbury, it would seem like Spur allows tiny homes on wheels. He spoke of pieces of land with RV hookups emerging so that is a good sign. I visit Mt. Airy,NC, Andy Griffiths home town which is the closest thing to “Mayberry”. If Spur TX is being compared to it, it must be a great place!

    • Alex August 22, 2014, 12:16 pm

      Thanks Judy. I don’t foresee them having issues with it. But at the same time… tiny houses on wheels are used when an area has zoning/coding problems against tiny homes on foundations. Since Spur TX doesn’t… why build on wheels? (Just another way of looking at it)

      • Jerry August 22, 2014, 2:10 pm

        @Alex: It could provide a good base to call home for those of us looking to travel more with our tiny house in tow. I know many don’t plan to move their tiny houses, and others say just get an RV, but I want to travel the country in a tiny house, and still have a base to call home without having to maintain a McMansion residence.

        • Alex August 22, 2014, 5:49 pm

          That’s a great idea, Jerry. And I think a ‘base’ is always a great idea. Always nice to have something to come home to. Even better if it’s cozy, relatively tiny and easy to upkeep. I once made the mistake of not having a base while traveling. Some can do it. Not for me. I always need a base and I think *most* would agree. 😀

  • Alex August 22, 2014, 12:17 pm

    This makes Spur a great place to maybe tow your current tiny house on wheels (if you already have one and are tired of fighting zoning/codes) to and you get to build your dream home on a foundation with no minimum size standards.

  • Maggie August 22, 2014, 1:05 pm

    Well that’s cool that they did it. It’s such a small town. Maybe it can be a mecca of tiny houser’s. But there going to need a lot more stuff for me to move there. Like an organic grocery store, a yoga studio and a coffee shop. Maybe tiny houses would revive the town. Turn it into a hip Aspen Colorado type place. I bet you could plop your tiny house on Main Street in this town. Wouldn’t it be cute with a row of them with white picket fences?

    • Alex August 22, 2014, 5:52 pm

      Maggie, I absolutely love your ideas/vision for the future of the town. That would surely make it awesome.

      • Maggie August 22, 2014, 9:44 pm

        Thanks. While I know that there is a lot to get through with codes and stuff there is also a lot of possibility for tiny houses to work there I think. The thought that there is a place that is rather accommodating for tiny houses makes it appealing and that I know there comes a time when you have to stop talking about it and just do it and if your meant to live someplace with a tiny house the laws can bend to you. I’ve been lucky that I’m someplace that is accepting as it is. I’ve run into snags with it but it seams to work itself out. Think positive. Is how I try to approach stuff instead if trying to find ways it won’t work. I think the town is putting itself out there to make concessions for tiny houser’s. It’s a little milestone.

        • Alex August 23, 2014, 11:18 am

          I agree, Maggie. Always important to do our best to think positively so we can find solutions to our problems and eventually overcome them. Rock on!!! :)))

  • Otessa Regina Compton August 22, 2014, 1:36 pm

    Good for Texas, we need more everywhere, there is a critical need!

  • John Mauldin August 22, 2014, 1:42 pm

    There will be, no doubt, various codes and regulations governing these structures or the next thing they will discover is that the town will be a hodge-podge of tiny houses on trailers, tiny houses in fixed locations, tents and anything else someone might want to refer to as a “tiny house”. I think it is important to note that any tiny houses on trailers should have a holding tank for water and septic. If for no other reason, should it be necessary to relocate the tiny house on a trailer to another location involving an RV park, they will discover they are not welcome without holding tanks as this is a Texas requirement for all RV parks. They can easily lose their license to operate and be fined if they allow a home on a trailer to be parked that is devoid of these tanks. This comes directly from a client of mine who owns RV parks all over Texas and has already experienced this dilemma.

  • Jerry August 22, 2014, 1:44 pm

    According to the spurfreedom.com website, trailers are included, otherwise why would they include instructions specific to them? Their main page has an article on Keeping Your Tiny House Safe, with a section under improvements that specifically mentions “3- Make sure your tiny house trailer is properly anchored down.
    Tiny house anchoring should meet mobile home manufacturing specifications.
    If you aren’t sure of things have a certified technician inspect your home and anchoring system.”
    Seems like tiny houses on trailers are included in their planning.

  • kat August 22, 2014, 3:15 pm

    I live in Texas and I can confirm that Texas is tornado country. I would never live in a manufactured home in Texas unless it was completely bolted down. For me the same would be true for tiny houses on wheels. Unless they are on a foundation, they would be snapped up by a tornado in a second. I have seen it happen.

    • Alex August 22, 2014, 5:48 pm

      Thanks Kat. Yeah. If I were in Spur, or planned on moving there, I’d definitely just take advantage of the laws and build on a solid foundation (not on wheels).

    • AnnieinKC August 22, 2014, 7:39 pm

      Really enjoying this discussion. I lived outside of Dallas for a year – tornadoes are a very real threat. Which brings me to, why not build out of shipping containers instead? They’re hurricane-proof! You can bolt them down, insulate them, and even stucco the outside — looks just like a real house. You can get 2 10×10’s, etc — they don’t come in just 10×20 and 10×40. The high cubes are the best – 9’6″ high. Comments?

      • AnninKC August 22, 2014, 7:42 pm

        Opps, 8’6″ x 10, or by 20′, or by 40′. I would love to put two 8’6″ x 10’s together.

      • Kat August 22, 2014, 7:45 pm

        Annie, I’ve thought the same thing about shipping containers. I saw a huge lot of them for sale when I was traveling down Hwy 290 from Houston to Austin last week. If I had not had my dog with me I would have stopped to find out the cost.

        • AnnieinKC August 23, 2014, 12:55 am

          Here in Kansas City, you can get them for $2k-3k. You want the one-trip ones – like new. Spray ’em with Supertherm (you can make ’em fireproof, too), and CoolRoof paint on top. Or even better, do the whole process and cover tops with grass, which keeps it cool in summer. Like building blocks! Never a termite. Wow. I’d do mine high end, because they’re so cheap, you CAN.

  • Jerri August 22, 2014, 3:18 pm

    I was unaware that Tiny houses were not welcome just anywhere. I am planning on building a very small house (800 sq. ft as posted on this site) but it’s not mobile.
    While searching for property, I have found “minimum” square footage regulations of 1,200+.
    Still searching in N. Georgia.

    • Alex August 22, 2014, 5:46 pm

      Most places seem to have a minimum of 1200 sounds about right. I always thought maybe just maybe if you create extra outdoor space or garage space and then never enclose it as A/C space that you may be able to pull something off but seek legal advice etc first I guess

  • Helen August 22, 2014, 3:18 pm

    Be thankful for small steps.

  • Cynthia August 22, 2014, 7:53 pm

    Being from TX I was excited to see that there is a town welcoming the tiny house movement. Like any new idea all the kinks aren’t worked out but I given them an A+ for effort. We now live in AR and because we are wanting to scale down our square footage to under 800 we are having problems finding property that doesn’t regulate size, color, brick, garage, etc. So our choices are limited. That being said I agree that there still should be some guidelines as to type of tiny house with or without wheels. Here in AR if you buy property with no restrictions you get everything, warts and all! This is not limited to just AR but any state with no building restrictions and we have lived in many states due to my husband’s work. Having a town that accepts small structures with guidelines would be great and a big help. The baby boomers, at least all the ones I know, are wanting smaller homes due to their health and what they want to do to with their time in retirement. I would rather go outside to play instead of staying inside cleaning a larger home. Since we prefer to build what we want and not what is decided for us we are still looking for our perfect piece of property but give a high five to Spur, TX for their vision. Hopefully other cities will follow suit.

    • Alex August 22, 2014, 9:21 pm

      Thanks Cynthia! That’s my hope too that this inspires other towns and cities to open up their arms and accept these lifestyles.

  • Kelly Libert August 22, 2014, 8:30 pm

    If there are no building codes requiring the use of trailers to circumvent them and no plans to use the tiny home as an RV and travel around in it, I don’t see the point of keeping it on wheels. We get both hurricanes and tornadoes and neither are gentle on mobile homes. The solidity of a container home on concrete piers (and a septic system 🙂 ) is very appealing to me and the only option I am considering for that reason.

    • Alex August 22, 2014, 9:17 pm

      I’m with ya Kelly – thanks 🙂

      • AnnieinKC August 23, 2014, 1:54 am

        Ditto! Weather is worse now than it used to be. Hail can’t touch shipping containers. Having put on 3 roofs in the Midwest, it makes a difference! Look into Mitabishi mini split ac/heating units – cheapest I found can be shipped from FL. You can get it with electric start, and run it off solar panels. But you really need water pressure from the city to make the tankless water units work – that’s what all the older plumbers say. Smiles, Annie in Kansas City

        • Alex August 23, 2014, 11:16 am

          Thanks Annie, great info 🙂

  • Glema August 23, 2014, 5:43 am

    I think it would be good to have one of both 🙂 One for when we want to take a break from moving around or for when we get too physically unable to do so freely enough to enjoy it. And one for going while we’re able to anywhere we choose. Perhaps one in the “city” and one outside city limits. 🙂 He is at least thinking about a travel trailer style living now. Was never open to anything like it before 🙂 He is just leaning more toward modern styles. We’ll see. 🙂
    God bless each of you fully. Thank you for sharing this and Happy Trails!

  • Kristi October 13, 2014, 2:06 am

    I’m proud of my home State of Texas for taking this step. It sounds great that they addressed the wheeled question and came up with a good compromise. Love you Texas.

  • Resa June 3, 2015, 3:31 pm

    The rules are clear enough: tiny homes on wheels are welcome, but once on site they must be bolted to a foundation (AS THEY SHOULD BE IN TORNADO COUNTRY). They even note that they can supply local tradesmen to built the foundation and strap the tiny home for around $3000.00.

    • Gracie June 4, 2015, 7:58 am

      I absolutely LOVE the tiny home concept. I’ve read these tiny homes on wheels are driven off (stolen), therefore, I like the idea of a permanent spot. I hate to say it, with some sort of rules to maintain a nice tiny home neighborhood, not an RV park like setting.

  • Tom Van Soelen June 3, 2015, 4:10 pm

    This surprises me coming from Texas where everything they do has to be done as the biggest and the best. Must be a small enclave of less conservative Texans. Property taxes in Texas are outlandish due in part that they have no state income tax.

  • Vitrvarg June 3, 2015, 5:33 pm

    I live in Texas, and I for one am very happy to see people here getting their heads out of their a******* about building houses so large that the people rattle around in them. Their is nothing wrong with not having a state income tax, and our property tax is only high if you buy or build a stone, block, cinder block or brick house. Stick built wood frame and clad homes are very reasonable property tax wise. I know this because I own a wood frame and clad home, 900 sq ft and we pay under $100.00 each year in property tax.

    Spur is a small community and they are making every effort to grow by adding population and businesses. Some Texas towns restrict businesses coming in by asking what part of agriculture, oil does your business handle, if it does not support farming, ranching, oilfield, then the city makes them very unwelcome to the point the business moves to a town or city that will make them welcome. I know this for a fact, the town I live in does this and has actually cost people jobs.
    This town once was 12,000 people, now it is 8,000 and shrinking because the city council want only those business that sell what farmers, ranchers and the oilfield will buy. The people who still live here spend most of their shopping money out of town. I am looking for land to buy and build on, I think I will look at Spur.

  • Vitrvarg June 3, 2015, 5:36 pm

    Unless you live here, do not throw prejudice around, there are lots of people here who build small once their kids are grown and out of the house.

  • D. Lowery June 3, 2015, 7:43 pm

    Does anyone know what the zoning rules in Texas are for outside of the municipalities? Was reading the blog the City of Spur has up that someone mentioned that if you want to be outside the city limits that there are very few/if any zoning restrictions…so putting up an RV would be possible outside the city. If this is so…please provide a link. This way…other areas might be looked at as well…especially if the land is cheap and usable to live on.

  • JC June 3, 2015, 10:22 pm

    I read the whole thing and I have to say that this is by far one of the most helpful and insightful posting I have seen thus far. He gives a fair amount of information including his costs and hurdles and regrets. I appreciate him for sharing.

    Thank you.

  • D Barlow June 3, 2015, 10:29 pm

    S P U R…..thinking BIG. You are going to go very very far. Congratulations for having an open mind about small living! It’s just wonderful. Great leadership there.

  • Jane Fate June 4, 2015, 12:07 am

    Congratulations to the town of Spur! This is wonderful, and definitely a step in the right direction.

    • Alex June 4, 2015, 8:10 am

      I’m proud of them! And can’t wait to see others do the same. It’s very exciting!

  • Connie Murray June 4, 2015, 8:55 am

    So Spur, TX doesn’t want trailers but lots of places are fine with trailers — particularly rv/trailer parks. Plus they are set up to accommodate moving houses. I think it would be interesting to build a tiny town — all houses being 500 sq. ft or less that people who are embracing the lifestyle could set down foundations, have veggie/flower gardens and all the other fixtures of suburban living although at a much smaller scale. Anything like that going on in the USA yet?

  • Lisa E. June 4, 2015, 11:03 am

    Too bad the THM doesn’t have some award of recognition for any town that becomes Tiny House friendly. Maybe something like this Spur resolution only laminated (almost like a plaque) that can be taped or thumb tacked to a wall. Or anything else that would convey our appreciation for recognizing our special needs.

  • Gianni June 6, 2015, 2:12 pm

    Hi Alex & Andrea,
    Great Blog, you are doing a awesome service!
    Are there any listings for property that accept tiny or small houses?
    Foundations are fine. It seems very difficult to get info. The town of Spur should be commended.
    Thanks so much, keep up the great job.
    Gianni

  • Melody June 6, 2015, 7:45 pm

    Not that I’m an expert, but here in Missouri a thow would be a personal property item and pay that tax, not pay real estate tax which goes to fire, police, school etc. That’s the main reason a town here has trailer type rules and requires a foundation.

  • David The Painter March 21, 2016, 4:47 pm

    Sadly, Spur seems to be having second thoughts on its warm welcome of tiny homes as the council recently passed legislation aimed solely at houses under 900 square feet. It was good while it lasted!

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