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El Paso County in Colorado Welcoming Tiny Houses in Unincorporated Areas

El Paso County will allow tiny houses in unincorporated areas, commissioners agreed unanimously on Tuesday.

They voted to amend the land use code to permit the miniature structures in agricultural zoning districts, on some residential lots and in recreational vehicle parks – wherever mobile homes are allowed, according to the county’s Planning and Community Development Department.

The changes also will let residents live in the homes permanently, which the code previously prohibited because it classified tiny houses as RVs.

Tiny houses are typically less than 400 square feet, and some are mounted on trailers. Fans of the miniature dwellings see them as a solution to rising housing prices that also reduces energy consumption and allows for a new brand of minimalist, mobile lifestyle.

El Paso County is one of the first local governments in Colorado to change its rules for tiny houses.1

By Ourtinycabinproject (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Read the full article over at the Gazette.


  1. http://gazette.com/el-paso-county-welcomes-tiny-homes-in-unincorporated-areas/article/1617088
  2. http://nr.news-republic.com/Web/ArticleWeb.aspx?regionid=1&articleid=126748306
  3. http://www.denverpost.com/2017/12/13/el-paso-county-tiny-homes/
  4. http://www.elpasoco.com/
  5. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tiny-house-005.JPG

Our big thanks to Dan Shumaker for sharing!

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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!
{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Gene Wiley
    December 13, 2017, 7:02 pm

    I’m sorry, the first thing I notice is the crooked back board by the steps. That is your appearance to your house. The tiny house idea is great.

  • Mary McGuirk
    December 14, 2017, 4:37 pm

    LOL…i think i know what happened…if you notice that the ground slopes at about that angle, I think that someone cut the wrong side of the plywood…If you flipped it over, it would fit…and the stripes would go the right way too, but on the INSIDE, instead of the OUTSIDE.

    Personally, the stripes going weirdly bother me more than seeing the wrong side of the plywood…you are right.

    • Gene Wiley
      December 14, 2017, 10:43 pm

      The stripes are what I saw. Just stood out. You probably right on got flipped the wrong way. Got that solved 🙂

      • James D.
        December 15, 2017, 2:05 pm

        The cabin doesn’t really have anything to do with the article, it’s just a photo used as an example of Tiny but that cabin isn’t even in Colorado…

        But, if you’re curious about it, it’s in the Ozarks, overlooking the Mark Twain forest in Missouri…

        The owners have a website called “Only Tiny Cabin Project”… Basically, they fell in love with the idea of living tiny and despite having a limited budget and no previous building experience they got some land and an unfinished shed/cabin and they’re slowly turning it into a home on weekends while they still work and live in the city.

        So what you see is basically improvised and they’re not finished…

        • Alex
          December 15, 2017, 4:48 pm

          Thanks James!

  • Sharon
    December 14, 2017, 7:37 pm

    Way to be progressive El Paso County! With 35 acres to roam, who needs a big house. We were not going tiny because of the county restrictions, now we have that option. Now how many tiny homes can I have on my property?

  • Pam
    December 15, 2017, 9:45 am

    I live in El Paso County and think this is an awesome step the commissioners have done. Not just for the tiny community, but for the people who can’t afford the over priced, over sized housing of today. I am hoping this will also help the homeless people finally have a home to live in, especially during our winter months. Some of these people are vets who defended us by serving our country. We, as a people, need to give back to them for their service and allowing the tiny house community just might be the answer for a lot of our homeless people.

  • Brenda
    December 15, 2017, 11:41 am

    how can I check to see what restrictions are in my area, of Maryland.

    • Pam
      December 15, 2017, 1:01 pm

      I would check with your Planning and Zoning Dept of what area you are in.

  • Marsha Cowan
    December 15, 2017, 1:32 pm

    The news about the restrictions is great! However, when I saw the picture of this tiny house, my first thought was that this unkempt, piled up “stuff”, haphazard build LOOK is what most people in local communities are afraid of getting if they allow tiny homes to be lived in permanently. I wouldn’t want to live next to or near a house that kept its belongings on the porch, or didn’t care how its exterior looked. It tends to send a message about the character of the people inside, and even if the message is misleading, it’s still there. People who don’t care how the outside of their premises look are sending the message that they don’t give a damn about their neighbors or the value of their neighbors’ property, and it does affect the value of the neighbors’ property.

    Example. . .my friend bought a house 9 years ago in what was a fairly nice neighborhood where the neighbors kept up their homes and yards. Over the years, however, as the neighbors grew older and died or moved into nursing homes, the children would sell the homes for a lot less than they were worth just to sell them quickly, and the houses were bought by people looking for a cheap place to live, and they had no intension of keeping up the property. It just didn’t matter to them. As a result, my friend’s home whose yard and gardens are beautifully kept, whose home is filled with antiques and beautifully decorated, whose home has been kept up in every way, has lost half of its value so that she can not even sell it for what she still owes on the loan, so she is stuck surrounded by neighbors do not care, and who have filled their yards with junk furniture, appliances, and wood, chickens, goats, horses, many dogs and cats, roosters, geese, and piles of hay and piles of aluminum cans. All outside, all in the space of an average small backyard, all intrusive, loud, smelly, and which draws flies, rats, and horse flies to all the yards.

    That is what people envision when one says tiny house community, and that is what I see in the picture above, and don’t tell me that is building stuff kn the porch, it is not. It is stuff being stored on the front porch that should be in an attic or storage shed, and I don’t think that they care what the board looks like in front of their porch or they would have fixed it by now, and that is more stuff being stuffed under the porch, too. I am sorry to be so vehement, but I am parked in my friend’s back yard right now waiting to move to another town, and I am living with these inconsiderate, trashy, neighbors of hers who have ruined her home’s value, and I am angry about it!!! If what I see above, and in a previous post about another tiny house community, is what people are lobbying for, then I may join the bandwagon on the other side. NO TINY HOUSE COMMUNITY WITHOUT ENFORCEABLE RESTRICTIONS CONCERNING THE OUTSIDE APPEARANCE OF THE HOUSE AND YARD!

    • James D.
      December 16, 2017, 12:47 pm

      I understand you’re angry for your friend, but understand the village you’re referring to actually looks better than the photo, which was from when they were still building it, and it’s basically a community of homeless people who were able to build little homes for themselves out of donated materials and little to no outside help.

      If you watch the video documentaries I posted links for in the comments of that article, you’ll see how it actually looks and how the people there are actually living.

      For this article, I already commented that it actually has nothing to do with the article, it’s in a different state, and the owners are still working on it and it’s nowhere near finished… Besides, it’s a cabin in the middle of the woods on the side of a mountain, they have no neighbors…

  • James D.
    December 18, 2017, 12:14 am
  • January 24, 2018, 11:16 pm

    I have a much more up to date photo of the house, with loft window installed and not all the building equipment on the porch if you would like to update the photo. Thanks for sharing! Feel free to pull anything off our site you like!
    Charles & Jon

    • Alex
      January 25, 2018, 9:43 am

      Hey Charles, thanks for the update! Will do!


  • Ryan
    November 17, 2018, 12:34 am

    Say you buy A-5 zoned land in unincorporated El Paso County and desire to have ten tiny homes on wheels. Can you have several of them or are you only allowed to have one? And if they are on wheels do you have to get the building permitted? Do you have to connect to the grid?

    • Alex
      November 17, 2018, 1:54 pm

      I wish I could answer this for you but I’m not sure, although I would think you could have several of them as long as you meet whatever requirements are needed for each.

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