Three and a half years of bliss! That’s a pretty good run! We got our Notice of Violation in the mail last Tuesday. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions to say the least. Overall we feel blessed to have gotten so long in our home. We feel convinced that it is more important than ever to get this incorporated into some recognized code so that zoning areas can start to incorporate this sort of lifestyle choice into our towns and cities. James and I have worked really hard for 5 years to get some official recognition, we had hoped it came faster but our tiny house advocacy is not ending simply because we can’t live in our house anymore. IF anything, it has just become that much more important!
(I know my address is on there, it’s been pretty out there as is, if you subscribe to My Newsletter it’s there too. I didn’t feel the need to hide it… besides, it won’t be my address much longer! ;-))
While not unexpected the letter is still a punch to the gut. We are just getting hunkered down for winter. It came two days prior to me speaking at a state wide planning convention about tiny houses (it’s hard to want to rally support when you just got knocked down emotionally like this…). Also, 10 days AFTER receiving the letter we are literally flying to Kansas City to defend tiny houses to the ICC Board. While advocating nationally this becomes a first hand issue for us. The timing of it all is just… weird…
So, some of the questions I’ve had…
Do you want to know who turned you in? No, not really. It is anyone’s right to complain. What I wish is that it was ‘acceptable’ to live in my house. We have had a lot of development happening in our neighborhood and a lot of attention locally over one particular, 50 unit development going in across the street. If I had to guess I would say it has something to do with that and I would guess it was either one of those developers or someone who thinks I may somehow be tied to making that development possible… either way whomever complained has the absolute right to do that! This is their neighborhood too!
So what are you going to do now? What recourse do you have? None. We have no recourse. I knew this when I started building and we have advocated an awful long time now to get tiny houses recognized as ‘legit’ but as of now, they still aren’t. I have set up a meeting with the code enforcer and planning department for Tuesday, I hope to have more info to share after that but I know my odds of being able to continue living in my house at my current location are slim to none. I will hope for the best and expect the worst. We hoped to get things changed in time for us but even if we don’t make the cut I will continue advocating for this lifestyle choice, it NEEDS to be legal, safe and accessible. The health of our residents, our planet and our families depend on it!
My primary goal Tuesday will be to get an extension on the timeline. We are so consumed with this national hearing (sign it, seriously, and share it with others, it will help show the importance of this being addressed!) on this exact issue that we will have 4 days once we return from Kansas City to move. Without an extension it will be darn near impossible to accomplish the move let alone the re-homing of our family. I am hopeful we may be granted the extension but even still, I looked up rent on places and it seems we are looking at a minimum of $1,200 a month just to rent a place. We do own the main house but we have no interest in evicting our current tenants. With us leaving on a trip in 6-7 months for a year it will be even harder to find a short term rental and will likely be looking at much more money. Something will work out, we always have family even if not near the life we have built here… None of the options seem ideal by any stretch… Something will work out though, I am confident of that, the fates have been very gracious to us and our karma is pretty decent I suspect! I am choosing to trust the natural order of things!
Can you just move out of town and live? I suppose we could but that if we had a lead somewhere or more time to find land… but it is not a lifestyle choice WE want to make. For us being in a community is pretty important, we are invested in our city and our neighborhood and I hope to be able to work something out. We do eventually plan on building something on the lot our tiny house currently sits on, it may be time to move up those plans – though I would really hate to nix our travel plans… something will need to give… I have no idea… but I don’t WANT to feel pushed out of my community… I just don’t feel like that would be a healthy choice for us.
I wish the moving out of our house was happening on our terms but it is what it is. We have a few ideas to proceed forward but I don’t really want to list them until we get a chance to talk with the City folks. It’s sure sad for us since most of those options don’t include being able to stay in our home. I mean, we just got Hazel’s bed ‘perfect’ (in her words). Miles hasn’t even had a chance to really use his bed. They love our tiny house as much as James and I do! It feels like we are being uprooted. I really don’t want to have to go get a ‘real’ job and put my kids in daycare just to help pay a ton in rent each month. Right now we are able to afford me staying home to raise our kids because we choose a lifestyle where the housing doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. There just aren’t any words beside ‘sad’ that cover our emotions over the whole thing.
Still, I can think of a million ways it can be worse, and only one way it could be better (that we didn’t have to move). At least there isn’t yet snow on the ground. At least I’m not pregnant, and we no longer have little tiny babies. We are tough, we are resilient and we try to be adventurous. We are looking at this as another adventure. An opportunity to take things to the next level maybe? Perhaps an opening to have an ‘official case study’? The good news is there are options. I am not sure how much those will cost or how feasible they will be but there ARE options.
I can’t wait to see how it works out! Ha!
(in case you didn’t see it… sign this it will help us show the board in Kansas City that there is a NEED to classify this sort of housing. It IS a legit choice. It is affordable. It is healthy. It is fabulous and others need to be able to choose to live in tiny houses without fear of eviction!)