Tiny Houses Gain Popularity In Bay Area But Also Face Obstacles

By Karina Ioffee
East Bay Times

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The tiny house movement where floor boards double as closets and kitchens morph into living rooms, is picking up steam. However, it may time sometime before lawmakers catch up with how to handle the influx of tiny home enthusiasts. Is a tiny home a residence or and RV and where can you “park”it? Those are questions communities will have to grapple with as zoning and square footage issues start to bubble up.

SAN BRUNO, Calif.

Tired of watching their earnings evaporate every month to cover rent and other basics, Aaron Castle and his fiancee, Candace Anderson, made a decision to go tiny.

They downsized their closets and got rid of many other possessions and today live in a 139-square-foot cedar shingle cottage on wheels that they built. The dwelling is smaller than a two-car garage but has everything they need: a kitchen with a three-burner range and stove, a bathtub, bathroom with a compostable toilet and an upstairs loft that’s big enough to fit a king-size bed.

But when it came time to find a spot to park their little abode, the couple quickly ran into problems. City inspectors in Redwood City, Calif., where they initially set up, told them they could not live in an RV, which is what they classified the home, while parked in a residential neighborhood. They were then cited for blocking a view and then for causing a public nuisance. They are now parked in the backyard of a church in San Bruno but are trying to keep a low profile.

“Tiny houses are a new idea, and it’s going to be a couple of years before the bureaucracy makes space for it,” said Castle, who is 38 and makes a living as a handyman. “It takes awhile for people to learn.”

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