Small-living advocate Jay Shafer wowed the world and fueled the Tiny House movement with his frugally small, 89-square foot home on wheels. Now, the founder of Tumbleweed Tiny House Co. is hoping to provide a sense of community for people who live in tiny homes, with a new village proposed for development in Northern California.
Shafer, who has moved on to a new venture called Four Lights Tiny House Co., is hoping to use zoning intended for RV’s to accommodate a tiny house community. He said he’s been talking with zoning officials in Sonoma County about the village concept, and they’ve been receptive.
In some parts of the country, zoning for small homes has been a trouble spot. Minimum dwelling size requirements and other rules have made tiny homes illegal in many places — but Shafer hopes the ‘RV’ designation will provide a way around the problem. The park setting will also provide shared features, including a common house, private gardens, outdoor space and private storage units — all great resources for people with limited indoor space.
“In many ways, tiny houses work best in concert with other tiny houses and shared amenities,” Shafer said on his website. “This village will be structured as something like a co-op. Folks will own their own portable house and the small parcel it sits on, and they’ll pay a set amount per month to maintain the common facilities.”
Shafer said that while the village will use RV zoning — also known as a trailer park — it will look and feel more like the concept drawings above, which depict a more luxury feel.
At the current pace, Shafer estimates the village project will be completed sometime in 2015. Currently, it is slated to include 40-70 small homes of up to 400 square feet each, or about 16-22 homes per acre. Residents of the community will agree to a set of rules addressing things like noise and behavior in the common areas.
“I have no doubt that this will be the most beautiful ‘trailer park’ in the world,” Shafer said.
(Rendering courtesy of Four Lights Tiny House Co.)