05/28 Tiny houses raise big questions for regulators in Winston-Salem

John Williams in front of a container house

John Williams in front of a container house. Photos by David Rolfe/Journal

A tiny house might be in your future if you’re looking to radically downsize, but it’s debatable whether the city will ever allow you to have one here.

For now, the answer seems to be no if you’re talking about the kind of tiny house that’s mounted on wheels so you can tow your home around from place to place.

But local tiny house advocate John Williams thinks that tiny houses can be made to look just as good as a stick-built home and should be treated that way, with the right safeguards: “With the proper tie-down you could have a cute little cottage in your backyard

City leaders are wrestling with how to handle tiny houses as they look at the larger question of regulating so-called accessory dwellings: in-law apartments, garage apartments and other dwellings that may sit behind a conventional house that faces the street.

The city needs to change its regulations to bring them in line with court rulings that invalidate certain current city requirements — rules that specify that an accessory dwelling can only be occupied by a relative of the main householder, or someone who is older, handicapped or a servant.

Courts are telling local governments they can’t dictate those kinds of requirements, city officials said.

Read more – http://www.journalnow.com/news/local/tiny-houses-raise-big-questions-for-regulators-in-winston-salem/article_c6a846bb-a3bb-5095-b3d8-21e3257c5013.html

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Elaine Walker