01/31 Requesting a variance for a tiny house

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Here’s an interesting article about how to request a variance in order to live in your tiny house on wheels in someone’s backyard: http://tinyhousebuild.com/how-to-use-a-variance-to-legalize-your-tiny-house-a-case-study/. A few of the important points:

  1. The owners wanted a tiny house for financial reasons: “Life was pretty complicated before we actually decided to go tiny. It really was not an easy decision. We looked into buying a small home in a rural area, but prices were very high. It’s not that we couldn’t afford it, but that we didn’t want to be tied down to a high monthly payment.”
  2. They pursued a legal path to tiny living partly because “their landlord” required it: “Before we even began thinking about floor plans, we wanted to make sure that we could live in the tiny house legally and not worry about being run out of town. It was also a requirement by the landowner (Nicole’s grandmother) who’s property we are going to be living on.”
  3. While they refer to the grandmother as the landlord, for the purposes of the variance application, they claim to be her caregivers: “In any situation in which you are asking for a variance, you can’t just say that you want one simply ‘Because’. Instead you have to create a convincing case. You have to provide sound reasoning as to WHY. We had 6-7 questions that we had to answer on our variance request form. We talked to a lot of people in our community to determine how to best answer the questions on our form. This was a very important step. Our mayor became a great ally and suggested that we state that we are caregivers to Nicole’s grandmother.”

Elaine Walker