Making our tiny house dream come true has been challenging. We’ve faced a variety of obstacles and most of those have to do with city codes.
In Sacramento, our tiny house would be classified as a camping trailer. So we’ve struggled with the challenges presented by bureaucratic regulations and have talked about a variety of options to get around these rules.
1. Backyard possibilities.
Illegally park in someone’s backyard within the city limits. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind trying this option. If we found a homeowner willing to work with us and the neighbors were nice, I don’t think this would cause a problem. Many tiny home dwellers suggest building a cute home (people like beautiful things) and exploit municipal code technicalities such as defining your tiny home living as “recreating”.
2. Moving outside of the city.
If we parked on private land outside of the city limits (either in Davis or Sacramento) then we wouldn’t need a permit. All we need is written permission from the owner of the land to “recreate/camp”.
Logan grew up on a cattle ranch, near Mt. Shasta and we’ve talked about moving to the ranch. There wouldn’t be a problem with city codes and we would be near family.
3. Co-housing community
Finding a co-housing community that would let us park on their land or moving to a tiny house village would be a fantastic option. Hillary is working on an amazing project called the Tiny House Village Network and I think this has a lot of potential. Using our collective power to change perceptions and creating an intentional community is the way to go.
4. Purchasing land.
Purchasing a small piece of land for our tiny home is something we might consider doing in the future. But buying a habitable piece of land right now is not financially possible. The upfront costs are huge and we don’t want to be tied to a specific city at this time in our lives. Part of the draw to a tiny home on wheels is the ease of transport. Moving isn’t hard when you have a home on wheels.
5. Lease a space in an RV/trailer park.
Most Sacramento RV parks are expensive and not very attractive. The RV park’s we’ve explored have no space for gardening, are too far outside of the city and resemble WalMart parking lots. It’s not the kind of environment we want to live in. I’m sure there are many beautiful RV parks in the U.S., but I haven’t found many in my neck of the woods.
We’ve considered moving to Portland because the city has embraced a variety of sustainability project’s. I think it’s possible to find a piece of land or someone’s backyard to park our tiny house. I’ve taken a few trips to Oregon recently and talked to a variety of folks who said local officials are receptive to alternative dwellings.
I don’t know if we will move but the Portland peeps have also given me a lot of creative ideas we can implement in Sacramento, like using the “recreating” strategy and lobbying public officials.
7. Lobbying public officials/bureaucrats.
Getting around city regulations seems to be a common problem for folks who live or want to live in a tiny home. The key to changing this problem might be lobbying and educating local politicians and city planners about the benefits of living small. The lobbying process is long and cumbersome but I think it would be a good starting place, regardless of your location.
I’m curious to hear from you. What strategies have you used to get around bureaucratic regulations? Do you have any options to add to the list?