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The senior holder is entitled to his full claimed quantity from the shared source before the junior holder gets anything, regardless of the relative values of the beneficial uses to which each is putting the water. If all rights holders and reasonable users must be accommodated, then in times of shortage or when more riparians begin to exercise their rights, all users are subject to possible reduction in use. David Feldman April 23, , Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.
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Bergen, ; Russell, Laws are rarely being enforced, due to factors ranging from reluctance of authorities to pursue the crime, to lack of public knowledge that sexual intercourse in marriage without consent is illegal. I would have solar for all electrical needs and propane for what is left heat and cooking. Comment is required Sorry! Video shows Pulse nightclub gunman on night of massacre.
In addition, scientific knowledge about groundwater and its characteristics, movements, and interactions with surface water has increased dramatically so that groundwater is not so out-of-sight and mysterious as it was once considered to be even by courts of law.
What this means is that most states have of necessity moved away from a pure common law system of water rights based on lines of case holdings to statutory and administrative, state-specific regimes for managing water resources and deciding among competing parties, policies, and interests. The range of laws and regulations being adopted across the states is vast, despite the creation of a "model code," and it is beyond the scope of this presentation to attempt to survey them state-by-state.
So keep in mind that for water, every state is different. Nonetheless, certain common themes and general points can be illustrated even in an abbreviated forum. Regulated riparianism adds to the common law system a regime of state law administration that often merges the better concepts from prior caselaw with more modern policy considerations.
Many states now have a regulatory structure under which a state agency must issue permits for some, most, or all water withdrawals and uses. Permit application requirements and permit issuance criteria often incorporate the riparian idea of accommodating reasonable and justifiable uses and the prior appropriation idea that a user, once permitted, is then assured of a stable supply of water during the life of the permit.
This trend of regulatory intervention gives a state significant control over water allocation and preferences by utilizing administrative infrastructure, planning, and enforcement to accomplish its purposes. The state agency up front, rather than the competing users themselves and the courts after-the-fact, can decide before a use begins whether it is reasonable and appropriate. In adopting these approaches, states have often created data-gathering mechanisms on water withdrawal, uses, and returns.
However, many also exempt certain classes of users from participation or compliance due to political pressures or concerns about interference with traditional rights in water. Some states will require withdrawal proposals to fit within predetermined regional or local plans or designated areas. Some may require elaborate environmental impact studies before permitting a proposed use of surface water or groundwater.
Other elements of proof may involve an evaluation of the proposed use, likely or possible detriment to others from the project, costs and alternatives considered, and other relevant topics.
Burdens that may not have existed before are created for eastern water users who now must become permit applicants in a regulated riparianism system. But in many cases, a party can also thereby obtain the benefits of certainty and legal protection for a permitted use, at least for a set period of time, while hopefully avoiding changes and litigation challenges going forward. Town of Washington , Conn. Two brief and contrasting examples of the many variations on control of water resources at the state level include:.
Strict permitting is required for consumptive uses of surface water and groundwater and for many other activities involving water and water bodies. Miccosukee Tribe of Indians , U. The ARAP law and rules use water quality authority as a back entrance to reach at least a minimal level of water quantity regulation in the state.
The state also requires water withdrawals over a certain size to register initially and report volume data annually, and it has an interbasin transfer law requiring an agency permit before certain parties can move water over designated broad boundary lines.
These relatively modest measures have given the state greater control than the former common law system administered only by landowners and the court system.
Tennessee may also consider legislation that, for the first time, would compel its many large and small public water supply systems to create plans and coordinate resources to better meet increased needs brought on by growth and drought. Even with the continuing evolution of governing statutes and regulations on water resources taking place now in nearly every eastern state, there are still many opportunities for conflict and dispute among competing private water users, among public systems, and among states themselves.
Big fundamental water wars have been common in the water-sparse west, but only now are becoming more common and strident in the water-rich east as well, as broad societal and ecological changes continue to take place ahead of legal system evolution. Appendix B of the article cited just above contains some detailed state-by-state information on water supply laws.
Water Wars Come East. As mentioned above, localized disputes over water resources have always existed, such as between towns or among neighboring landowners. Presumably mechanisms to solve these conflicts, or ways to prevent them from happening, have improved in recent years with the advent of regulatory legal systems that go beyond the common law. However, as demand for water increases and available resources have arguably diminished, larger conflicts have grown lately in the east over water allocation, access, transfers, and related issues.
Especially when disputes cross state boundaries and go beyond the differing state-by-state regulatory mechanisms established on top of existing common law, then high-stakes negotiation and litigation can ensue of the kind with which westerners historically have been more familiar. Certainly there have been successful interstate compacts formed to govern shared resources and resolve contention and competition over water in the east. One example has been the Delaware River Basin Compact, dating from , which has managed diversions in that basin by New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and parties within those states.
The costs and uncertainties of court battles and of the water rights themselves were an incentive for those entities to negotiate a more permanent and satisfactory arrangement to govern their shared fresh-water resource system. The Delaware River Basin Commission manages that resource and appears to have the ability to respond in times of drought or other need. Many other regions have not been so prudent or fortunate, and the following are just several of many current examples.
Georgia on My Mind. There has been no hotter topic or more important environmental issue in Georgia lately than water — despite that state receiving relatively more rain over the last two years. Georgia had been facing an unprecedented drought, while the greater Atlanta area has sprawled to nearly five million people in size with no large rivers or significant underground sources from which to draw its needed water supplies. The situation arose twenty years ago and has had a long, complex legal history of negotiations, commissions, litigation, and federal involvement through the United States Army Corps of Engineers the "Corps" and even the White House.
The details of this matter are far beyond the scope of this program. But suffice to say that starting with Lake Lanier above Atlanta, Georgia wants to hold or wants the Corps to hold more water at the top of this system to feed the exploding water needs of Atlanta and its region especially in the dry hot months. However, downstream economic interests in Alabama, including navigation and power generation, rely on a steady adequate flow being maintained in these rivers.
Farther down in Florida, seasonal flows must be maintained to sustain the oyster fishing industry and hold back salt water intrusion. Federal interests include endangered species protection. Attempted compacts and understandings have fallen apart over time and courts have weighed in periodically on myriad sub-issues and technical factors. Also, Congress has become more involved as the federal role and stake have grown in importance and now include the Departments of the Interior and Energy as well.
Deadlines for the three Governors to agree on an ACF water-sharing plan have also come and gone. Basic issues of growth, economic well-being, and environmental protection are all at play in this extended eastern water war with no apparent end in sight. In-state and state-by-state legal changes toward regulated riparianism have not been able to solve this larger problem.
In the most recent litigation developments, a federal district judge first held that Lake Lanier was not built by the Corps for Congressionally authorized purposes that included allocation for drinking water supply to local communities. However, this ruling has lately been reversed by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. June 28, , reversing 40 ER N. The water-hungry eyes of Atlanta and Georgia have also turned lately toward Tennessee.
These issues closer to home will be addressed later on in these materials. See also the Maryland and Virginia border and water access claims along the Potomac River. There is also current shared river system negotiation between Georgia and South Carolina, and major litigation over flows and allocations of the Catawba River between South Carolina and North Carolina.
Diverting the Great Lakes? The Great Lakes are the largest freshwater resource in the world. The states and Canadian provinces around them have entered into agreements over the last twenty-five years obliging each of them to notify, consult, and agree before significantly increasing consumption or diversions. The Great Lakes Charter Annex Implementing Agreement set forth regulatory principles and decision-making standards for allowing water withdrawals and minimizing impacts on others and on the environment in the Great Lakes Basin.
The standards used strongly reflected common law riparian principles coupled with the doctrine of reasonable use, but added modern conservation and other concepts as well. This Compact further strengthens the ban on major water diversions leaving the Great Lakes Basin.
Another concern raised in Ohio was the power under the agreement of one member state unilaterally to veto a water transfer sought by another member state, such as for a competitive economic development project.
Subsequently Ohio ratified the Compact as well. However, with the recent economic downturn lingering into and , new debate and proposals have emerged in Ohio and elsewhere about allowing large withdrawals without permits, or diversion of Great Lakes water to communities in-state but outside of the basin boundary.
Other specific stories related to the Great Lakes region include: See Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation v. Even with these legal changes, small-scale and large-scale conflicts and disputes over water — water wars as have been common in the arid west — are becoming more prevalent now even in the wetter east as resources are pressured and diminished by both natural forces and increased human demands from competing users.
Before you can address permits and filings for securing a water supply in Tennessee, you need to consider property ownership and rights of use for any water resource. Most Tennesseans believe that they own the water on and under their fee-owned land, and that this right comes with land ownership.
But in fact, the state claims ownership of all waters of Tennessee in the "public trust," including the groundwater, unless the water body is isolated and confined to a single private property. Historically the beds of navigable watercourses are also owned by the state in trust. But landowners can own the beds of non-navigable streams, and landowners' water use rights in either case are very strong in Tennessee even though they are deemed "incomplete and incorporeal.
An excellent article on Tennessee water law which is not out-of-date as one might think is: Surface water use in Tennessee is based on traditional riparian rights that are held by owners of property adjacent to or underneath any surface water body. Typically these rights are not separated from the riparian lands. From the property perspective and not yet considering modern regulatory restrictions see below , the owners of riparian land along streams and lakes have rights of building out into the water, reasonable use of the water in-stream, and certain rights of withdrawal and consumption of the water on land as well while not blocking or interfering with flows to the detriment of other rights holders.
This is not property ownership of the water itself but is a "usufruct" right of use. Howell , Tenn. Lake Management Ass'n, Inc. Legally and technically navigable watercourses involve state public ownership by common law or statute of the underlying stream bed or lake bed, with public rights of navigation up to the low water mark that cannot be unduly interfered with.
Other historical variations exist based on stream status. Harris , Tenn. There is no first-in-time priority or set entitlement to a particular flow or quantity of the shared watercourse that your lands adjoin. However, those rights do not depend on the size of your riparian parcel, years of ownership, length of its watercourse frontage, or even necessarily the upstream versus downstream positions.
The only common law water purpose priority in Tennessee may be for domestic use withdrawals. Water use may have to be adjusted to accommodate new users or to reasonably share the impact of drought conditions.
This required flexibility can ultimately mean uncertainty, without governmental intervention. Clark , 77 F. Private company projects, or municipal and other public water supply systems, can still face problems from this traditional and sometimes vague restriction within overall considerations of "reasonableness.
In Tennessee you can still install a water well on your land and pump groundwater for your use with little real common law or regulatory constraint compared to many other states. Unlike in western water law, there is no priority of use or quantification of rights among the shared owners, and no guarantee of an exact flow or amount to any owner.
Each landowner is restricted to a reasonable exercise of his own rights and a reasonable use of his own property, in view of the similar rights of others. Reasonable use factors might include purpose of the use, suitability to the aquifer or watercourse, economic value, social value, extent or potential for harm caused, practicality of avoidance or adjustment, and impacts on the rights of others.
Groundwater rights may also be restricted to or favored for water usage on the overlying land or within the same basin. Also, spring water captured at a spring mouth cave in Tennessee may usually be considered as groundwater. See below regarding the Mississippi versus Memphis groundwater dispute and litigation. See generally 25 TENN. Water Regulation, Permits, and Programs. States typically require permits for water extraction or use and seek to balance competing values. Federal agencies may have interests as well, both as property holders and as interstate regulators.
Regulatory standards and criteria for water uses and potential environmental impacts, and the methods of administration, vary greatly from place to place. Every state is different when it comes to water law. As mentioned above, Tennessee has comparatively less than other jurisdictions in water resources planning, supply management, coordination, and restrictions on obtaining water.
Nor will this article cover the TMDL total maximum daily load process and how water quality issues and assimilative capacity of water bodies receiving permitted discharges may affect water supply withdrawals and availability from certain sources.
So what do we have to deal with in this area of law and regulation in Tennessee? One way potentially to alter a surface water body, both as to chemistry and biology, is to take out a portion of its content or flow, with or without a comparable return flow. This can occur and trigger the need for an ARAP permit wholly apart from any jurisdiction due to physical alterations needed for intake structures, enclosure of a spring mouth, pipelines, or the like.
These conditions may include flow levels below which no withdrawal may occur. The Commissioner may also establish a maximum withdrawal rate in order to maintain the natural flow fluctuation characteristics of the source stream. Not all withdrawals require an ARAP permit. A withdrawal or diversion from a small stream requiring an ARAP may not need a permit when the same amount is taken from a larger water body.
But neither are all proposed withdrawals worthy of being permitted. TDEC rules at Chapter addressing antidegradation concepts and justification analysis in permit decisions and for certain specially protected Tennessee waters both as to already impaired waters, or as to pristine high-quality waters have also been refined over recent years. Groundwater wells, in contrast to surface water withdrawals, may not require an ARAP permit for water withdrawal unless pumping a well materially reduces flow to or in a surface water body by causing ground infiltration, or by interdicting a natural spring outflow to the surface stream or lake.
The law allows limited third-party appeals of state water permits when specific conditions have been met. An ARAP permit for withdrawal can help to guarantee you a flow as against other later users of the same resource, beyond the common law. The advent of regulation in this way may limit a Tennessee water user on the one hand, but it also provides more western-style certainty for a permitted period of years. This law was intended to regulate certain water withdrawals from streams and aquifers in Tennessee if the water is to be transferred out of a major river basin to another for use there and without return.
Both surface water and groundwater resources can be affected, if the groundwater used impacts surface water bodies. Basin lines were drawn broadly by TDEC 10 for the state rather than trying to coincide with every local watershed and ridgeline. A number of these permits have been considered and issued by TDEC including at least one crossing the state line. These permits have also been a part of inter-connection of certain drought-impacted community water systems with others drawing from major river sources.
Program regulations including criteria for permitting decisions are found at TENN. Critical Factor — interbasin transfer permitting applies only to public water supply systems including governmental entities and utility districts, to other entities granted state power of eminent domain to acquire property, and to private companies that may withdraw and transfer the water to public suppliers in another basin, either directly or indirectly.
Private industry otherwise should not have to comply. As stated, regulated public water supply systems "PWS" are subject to Tennessee's interbasin transfer permitting law.
This program involves the usual steps of application, provision of extensive data, variable fee payments, and public notice and opportunity to comment.
Permits granted for such transfers may contain conditions to protect resources and avoid adverse impacts. The criteria to be used by TDEC in making an interbasin transfer permit decision are set forth by rule:. See below for more discussion regarding potential Tennessee water conflicts with Georgia. New sources must report before any qualifying continuous withdrawal begins, while ongoing withdrawals over the limit must file an annual update and renewal on TDEC forms by February 15 of each year.
Program regulations are found at TENN. This requirement applies to all persons withdrawing water from either a surface water or groundwater source if the average withdrawal is 10, gallons or more per day , for the number of days of actual withdrawal.
Exclusions from this program are key. The requirement does not apply to withdrawals for agricultural purposes, thus eliminating the gathering of data on a very large segment of total water withdrawals in Tennessee.
Emergency withdrawals also do not need to be pre-registered. Moreover, nonrecurring withdrawals over the volume threshold are not covered.
DWS forms and information needed and measurement requirements for water withdrawal registrations may be found on-line at the TDEC website as well as at other sources. Purposes for water withdrawals and amounts of water returns are also to be shown.
Public water supply systems do not typically make filings with DWS under this program because much of the same information, if not more, is already produced and reported by these utilities under the Safe Drinking Water Acts and their federal and state regulations. This state statute and its requirements do not create a great compliance burden on withdrawing parties and sources, other than the need for measurements.
However, potential penalties for failure to register can be severe. There are no fees paid for water withdrawals or for making these filings to DWS. There are also no availability determinations or qualitative testing duties or other such aspects built into this information database-creation program.
But is this law, following the ARAP rules on withdrawals and the interbasin transfer law, a step onto the slippery slope toward consumptive use permitting of groundwater or more direct regulation of all water supply and withdrawals in Tennessee? TDEC claims no such agenda at this time, and these laws are now nearly a decade old. But perhaps efforts will be made with or without use of data gathered under this statute in the future to expand and modify this program as water supply issues become more of a concern to many different stakeholders even in historically water-abundant Tennessee.
See below also regarding TVA and Corps interests in approving withdrawals from certain water bodies. Obtaining your water supply from groundwater wells may allow avoidance of some potentially applicable programs such as ARAP permitting. However, such boreholes and wells must be installed properly following construction standards and only by licensed contractors. Location issues, variances if needed, and completion reports within 30 days after the well is done may need to be addressed.
Regulated persons holding water well drilling licenses ought to know how to carry out the details of well construction and commissioning.
Remaining requirements and filings include registration after construction, inspections and fees. To say that Tennessee has less regulation than most jurisdictions may not hold as true when considering groundwater wells and extraction in Memphis and Shelby County.
The local government through its "Ground Water Quality Control Board" regulates the construction and location of wells in Shelby County due to the importance of protecting the aquifers there as the sole source of drinking water for its large population.
There is a Shelby County Well Construction Code that also includes provisions limiting water pumped by private parties for commercial and industrial purposes to reasonable use, and requiring the Health Department to have parties conserve water and reuse cooling water. Well-drilling standards, reports and filings, and site setbacks can also apply at this local level.
Building a permanent water intake structure in a water body or along its banks could or will likely trigger the need for a TDEC ARAP permit see above for the physical alteration involved. Yes, If I could find or be a part of a movement like that It would be great I would love to have a small yard with my tiny house. Maybe ft on both sides and ft. Is that even a possibility in the San Francisco Bay Area? In Pima County, AZ, a mobile home park can be as little as 18, sq.
Lot minimums are sq ft so nine units could go on that parcel. Formation of a community land trust allows a 99 year lease of the land and the right to own any improvements on the land. When folks leave the enhanced value of the land stays with the community and maintains affordability for the next generation. If all units utilize compost or incinerator toilets major infrastructure costs are avoided. I just wanted to acknowledge you very valuable, realistic and practical contribution to this discussion.
Perhaps a website should be created hint: Alex where people can connect for the purpose of creating a community? Thanks Eric, great idea! So stay tuned for the announcement this week. Alex, please keep me posted on the info about Tiny House Communities — my goal is to find the one and move in during this summer.
Thank you for doing such a wonderful job! I would think not. I would be willing to pay much more than normal for a lot that had a tiny house community developed on it. I would love to buy a nice sized property near the mountains, build a clubhouse, gym and community swimming pool and rent out lots for a very minimal price — not to make money, but just to live in a tiny house community!
Eric, thank you for your wonderful suggestion! I would love to find and move into a tiny houses community this summer. But how do I find such? Alex if not you maybe you could connect with people who know how to create such a website that already are behind the movement to help out. However, they should also be VERY affordable. There is a way…. I live in Melbourne Florida. Just 5 miles from my home is a 55 and up community. It is a co-op and you buy your lot and can live there in any size home as long as it fits on your lot.
There is a monthly fee that covers property insurance, property taxes and property maintence. This is one way of having a tiny house to live in. What is the name of the community? My idea is to build a tiny house as a port, but travel much of the year. A community would provide better security for the tiny home while I travel. So maybe fifty minutes to an hour away from eachother. It seems crazy to me, especially as a single person.
I could see requiring a certain amount of space per person. My dream is to by land on the North Shore of Lake Superior and put a tiny house on it, on a foundation, not necessarily connected to public systems. I have yet to research zoning in Northern Minnesota yet though.
I would like to put forward the idea of Cohousing Communities. They are small intentional communities built by people like us, not developers or landlords. They differ from communes because there is no shared income or ideals, though people tend to have similar lifestyles.
They have privately owned individual homes, similar to a condominium arrangement, with a shared community space. They prioritize outdoor space and neighborly interaction by putting parking along the perimeter of the lot usually homes and inviting walking spaces weaving around gardens and to front gates.
Most communities offer a shared dinner at least half of the week in the common house, and many say it revolutionized they way they view their neighbors. I had the great pleasure in learning about them extensively from a woman who helped establish the first in Tennessee, called Germantown Cohousing in Nashville. It gives a great summary of how these little communities work: You can find a lot of information at cohousing.
I am prepared to spearhead such an effort. The establisher of the Germantown community and I are already discussing a second TN location. Alex and others, please point me in the right direction! Unfortunately and despite the best of intentions, Co-housing communities all too often simply put one in a smaller house, on more-crowded land, and at premium prices. That completely defeats the purpose, in my mind, of Co-housing, which ought to be affordability.
It seems the Co-housing movement has sadly lost sight of this principle. Alex, any chance you can connect me with the land use planner that wrote the original letter? He and I would probably have much to talk about! Robert wrote that in Arizona they could have a mobile home park on a little less than half an acre.
That sounds like a good sized lot to me. Why not have a mobile home park that never gets tennants? Just you and your tiny house on half an acre and a purposefully poor marketing plan. My tiny city in northern Canada has just recently done away with the minimum housing size in an effort to bring about more affordable housing.
BUT we can build tiny legally. I want to build a tiny house for myself. Can a wagon car carry a tiny house? Guess i need to build a home first. Seems we have many people on the same page yet not fully together to do. This is the start of something great, been thinking of this for years.
Love your blog and all the interesting and informative articles, Alex. But your very bad habit of not dating your posts drives me beyond crazy, and it makes me want to rap your knuckles every time I read one of these posts! Some of these things are VERY time-sensitive, especially when you talk about zoning codes and legislation and similar things which change over time. Something that might have been very restrictive 5 years ago might not be so today, so the articles could become very misleading over time.
So I could see a comment dated today in linked to a post that was originated — with no updates — 4 or 5 or more years ago. Wow, Alex, thanks for the uber-quick reply — I appreciate it! I look forward to seeing dates appearing in the future! And if you refresh you should see the dates now. If there IS a date on your post s , it is the best-kept secret on your blog, so please point me to it, but also consider putting at the top of the article, in a prominent place where it can easily be seen, and not buried amid lots of other fine print, sponsored ads, or other clutter.
Alex, Thanks for this section, it is very timely! My husband and are both disabled and for us building a house is just not an option. This leaves us with the necessity of buying our tiny house when we do, meaning it is absolutely essential to find a place with a very small rental cost or buy-in. Clearly the affordability aspiration has fallen by the wayside.
Buying land communally is another possibility, though this will take time. This could be our best chance of finding a hassle free place to park our tiny with other like minded folks! Alex and Allen, I really enjoyed reading this article — it was definitely an eye-opener — so thank you for posting it! I also enjoyed reading the comments, and I spent a very long time this past weekend reading each and every one of them. One topic in particular that really interests me is the idea of a group of people getting together and buying communal land for the express purpose of setting up a tiny home community.
I would like to see a full-on discussion dedicated to the topic of communal land and tiny home communities.
One of the questions that is foremost in my mind is how to go about maintaining the balance of peace and harmony blended with freedom of individual expression. But at the same time, there would need to be a consensus, within individual communities, on what behaviors were acceptable or not , and how to go about enforcing those expectations. Like what do if one of the neighbors has a bad habit of piling beer and other debris in the yard rather than using a trash can, and refuses to stop the behavior after being nicely asked?
Or worse, what if the group has agreed on a very strict code of ethics and behavior regarding sewer and water treatment, and suddenly, you see one of the neighbors just haphazardly dumping their waste into a pile on the property, where it can be exposed to animals who can get and spread diseases, or worse, dumping it in the water?
That could really throw a wrench into the stew of what should otherwise be a Pleasantville-type existence! So, anyway, all that to say that I think it would be very useful to see a discussion of this play out and see what creative solutions people come up with for proactive design of such a community. In concept, it sounds like an awesome idea, but it will only be awesome if those little details are addressed and worked out in a harmonious manner. Otherwise, there will be nothing to change the already negative public misperception by some, at least that a tiny home community is nothing more than a trailer trash park where the homes are made of wood instead of aluminum,.
But just as well behaved. So a discussion of how to make that happen while not infringing on individual freedom of expression or threatening to foreclose on their home, as the HOA Nazis do! We have a house, TINY, but a house! National standards says modular homes must be square feet or more and park models cannot exceed square feet, so many Tiny Houses qualify to be located in mobile home parks. Retirees, young couples, single parents.
I notice that many folks have questions around organizing to develop land, minimal rules, sharing some spaces and facilities. I might suggest something I was involved with a decade ago: A group of people can get together and be as integrated or individualistic as they choose, as large or as small as feasible given the land available and the number of committed parties involved.
But there are resources on how to get started, and what types of communities have prospered. Mother Earth News has back articles on the subject, and much can be read and found at http: I was a founding member and past president of a cohousing association in Washington, DC. I am currently looking to build a TH this winter up in central VT. Meet some local developers in your area and get them on your team. They usually have money behind them and may be willing to fight to at least have a trial TH subdivision.
Who knows, it could happen in your area. Anyone know of anything being started in Canada? Working to do ANYTHING with a group of other people is always trying, but by the time you get to this age, you realize that a time will come when living in a community of some sort is going to be a requirement, not an option.
I could always handle living alone in a small space if I knew that there were community buildings nearby where my neighbours and I could get together to socialize and help one another. I think that in the near future, we may have to go where the work is. I did that for 5 years and wore out as many old school buses. I remember well that when it was cold I used furniture pads and blankets to keep warm and washed in cold water from the rigs or a nearby creek or pond.
Living was hard but I was young and took it in stride. I joined the YWCA for showers. I have propane space heaters and a degree sleeping bag. I guess my point is that if I have to go in search of work again, I am going to do it in comfort this time. The only reason these places want the tiny homes to be stationarily is that a word? To me a tiny house represents independence, not a socialist utopia where the proletariat give up their ambitions so the ruling class can live in luxury.
Am I actually starting to rant? TJ, I like you! I think all anybody wants is to be left alone and allowed to exist without a lot of red tape. You brought up an interesting thought… in making a TH community affixed to the ground would mean property taxes.
SO, Hmmmm food for thought. Since these are permanent structures with code-legal stairs, head height, and egress, one would think that their value would grow as normal houses. At least with a tiny home on a smaller trailer you can find some where else to go. Not so with an ordinary mobile home. Eventually, homelessness will be the result. Are there any regulations about where a tiny house can be built?
In other words, if you cannot obtain permits for the building process, what can you do to protect yourself from a neighbor who complains to the city for the construction?
Do they have any right to complain, and can I do anything about it? Has anyone experienced this? Check the subdivision covenants code office has these for all subdivisions. Just feel them out with out answering too many questions or giving your name. By all means, do not annoy your neighbors. As professional architect and planner for more than 40 years, My wife and I decided to move to a more beneficial climate weather-wise and governmental-wise , so we moved to Costa Rica.
Curiously, the standard size house here in the coffee mountains is about square feet. During the last eight years I have designed a number of little houses with delightful results. There is no need to waste anything.
Yes, zoning is always an issue. I love the small house movement and would also consider sharing space on a farm for example instead of having my own place… Really love animals and would like to have some sheep, cows, chickens, etc…. Certainly be easier if had a few others who could lend a hand. I think I would be pretty content to not necessarily have my own small house but to share a larger farm with maybe 4 bedrooms that provided get away space for everyone.
It would take people who have the ability to get along with others…. I guess there are tradeoffs. I have looked into shipping a pickup truck and trailer frame to the country of Belize. There are Mennonite craftsmen there who will build the tiny house on the trailer for very cheap money. Or park in town and use as a winter get away.
Rent to own might also be an option for the homes. Homelessness is a black hole while a low cost home could equal hope and progress. Tiny House developments would exceed mobile home parks in quality and lasting value. Safety must be adhered to, zoning much less so. Also there are some minimums needed for paramedic rescue, such as 24 inch door for showers and what not. If you just specified the small space for rooms with Murphy Beds we could be done.
As for energy efficiency, if the house is Net Zero produces as much energy as it consumes , who cares about individual pieces of the energy efficiency code. Most code is designed for very large houses. Passive House, one of the better standards for energy efficiency is done on a per sqft of floor space. Also, with the price of solar Photo Voltaic PV and batteries coming down, it will soon be cheaper then grid tied or even super insulating.
We just need to update the building codes so they reflect how people want to do things and still keep them safe and lower fossil fuel consumption. I just love it. Our big house burnt and we tore it down but the big unattached garage is still there intact.
I am disabled and cannot do steps. We would hook up to sewer and water, but want to do solar for all electric. Why should it matter how big it is on your own land? Susan, You ask some great questions. Most large cities are ok with a sf house. Memphis requires min. Some cities have other zones. Our sewer also includes trash pickup so that, too is a benefit. Solar is wonderful, but costly.
Good news, many solar products are made in th USA, which I love. Quite a lot, actually. I do recommend that you call your code office to ask what the minimum requirements would be for your town and concerning to be hooked to the electrical grid or not. You generally only have code troubles when you get into Large cities.
This could be a very fun adventure for you! I live just outside Memphis in the county next door. Codes are much different where I live over those in Memphis. There is a house down the street that is not in a subdivision, just on acreage. I believe they only have acres, mostly wooded. They are all probably close to sq. They apparently park cars back behind the main house because you never see a car anywhere on the property other than the VW bug.
It is my ideal as far as keeping family close for generations, but not TOO close. Those little houses could also be rental units for all I know. But, whatever the case, they are clean and neat and there is never any noise, etc. Just a very pleasant space on the globe. I am a residential designer and the seismic zoning is terribly hard on us. That said, we have to comply. Because of this smaller houses require just as much seismic stuff as larger houses.
So, if one could afford the additional seismic stuff, a tiny house would be very easily adapted to our local codes. We currently have a minimum sq. It takes money, but. Possibly small lots in a row. Have the required town meetings regarding zoning.
There is no lawn equipment parked outside the units. Have you ever driven by or through a mobile home park in the south? I have been through parks in So. Cal and they are pristine! Trashy may not describe the people living there, but the units and lots are filled with debris. Old mowers, broken bikes, shovels and rakes leaning against the house, items taped together with duct tape, just trashy.
Or maybe the restrictions of each home would require some small exterior storage to be included in the design of each home, thus an Architectural Review committee would be required for the THSD. Rural would probably be a lot easier. Most cities have Minimum squarefootage requirements.
This was to be a Senior Adult Housing subdivision. You want a small house on a small lot, on a normal budget not a hyped up senior citizen expensive budget. You want neighbors with nice yards, you want easy living, but not a lot of grass to mow. This is what I designed, a downsized, yet nicely accommodated homs. The house next door would have all their windows facing front, back or to THIS side only.
Basically each unit would be as if it were going to be a duplex or a zero lot line on one side without windows. Your neighbors can never see into your home becaues the houses are close together. Anway, each home had a 2-car garage, so there would never be any reason to have any junky things outside the house mowers, ladders, gallon burn drums. There was even room toward the rear of the subdivision for guest parking and a gazibo and a walking trail around th 2 acres.
This would be a gated community so that the residents had that extra feeling of security, but also grandkids would have free reign of the street while learning to ride bicycles.
However, this was planned for a town with extremely strict building requirements and they have yet to approve it. Or, simply plan an outdoor party area with hour limits such as 10pm. I also believe that children would enjoy living in a place like this, but there may need to be a minimum of a certain square foot per person rule.
I know kids are resilliant, but kids also grow up and get bigger. THIS is why there are codes. Kids age and grow. Ceiling heights would be higher.
The idea is I live here because I want to live simply, not just because this is the only place I can afford… if this is the case, it turns into trash town. BUT to live anywhere near Memphis means one must own a car.
Public transport is here…. I built my tiny house on wheels and bought some rural land in Wisconsin, but after 6 months they said I could not live in something so tiny and the zoning laws prohibited it, so they kicked me off my own land.
I was a bit deterred, but then I found some rural land in Minnesota and their zoning laws permit tiny houses of any size! Also, if you do not have pressurized water you are not required to hook up to a septic or well.
I keep going back and forth whether to try starting a Tiny House community on my land in Minnesota. It is 20 acres, with another 40 acres available. That will be plenty of space for tiny housers to put down roots in a little community! The only problem is Minnesota has some pretty cold winters, but tiny houses do not cost much to heat!
Ben, are you still thinking about starting a community in MN? Am I crazy in thinking this? I purchased 9 acres in a small Michigan town that is part tillable land, part old apple orchard. It would be a tiny house-permaculture community, with the residents using their tillable portion of the land for organic crops, etc.
Have other places done this? Is it viable in an area that gets lots of snow in winter, or would this be a fair weather thing. Our main concern is size of lots and size of houses. Our idea is that the tiny house on footings is an excellent alternative to mobile homes in our area tornadoes are a huge concern , student housing for colleges and universities, and housing for people that is affordable. We are following building codes even where they are not applicable.
During this process we also discovered we could strip down old run down mobile homes and use the carriage to build on. This whole movement is for those who think out of the box and use their creativity for a better way to live.
This needs to always be conveyed to local governments when presenting the case for tiny houses, it is a win,win for everybody. I just purchased 10 beautiful acres in a rural area of North Georgia. My daughter is buying it from me as soon as she sells her house soon. It is about three miles from our small town. Do you think I will be able to build a small house on the same land but on the opposite side of the property. I am very active 68 year old female and still do all the outside mowing, etc.
I do not want to live in her back yard. About six acres is cleared with many places to put a very small house. Would codes allow for a in-law house to be very far away from her main house? Thanks for your help. The investor would install the RV hook ups and prep the land for future tiny homes. So basically, if you were to move in to a tiny house community, you would rent for a year or two at a fixed price, and then if you wanted to buy, some of that money would go towards paying a down payment on your little lot of land, and you would start paying monthly mortgage payments to the investor until the lot was yours.
There could be regulations on what percentage of the original land cost the investor could charge newcomers, to hold the initial investor accountable. But the investor should still receive a reasonable profit, because they did all the hard pioneering work and bore all that risk for the sake of establishing the others. The only problem would be if the landlord retained too much power even when others had purchased their lots. There needs to be some kind of communal leadership that honors each lot owner based on their contribution to the community.
Like a council of stewards. Like a family kind of, without getting all creepy like. I think non profits are best suited to start movement, but sustainable wealth producing, aka profit, is best at keeping those movements going, and making them the best they can be.
I think the 3 keys to my tiny house development idea is that: Now for those who would be dissatisfied with being required to buy their lot, I would say that this kind of rent to own situation is much more like a rental agreement. Aka the seller carries the loan, not a bank, because the seller is not interested in gaining a huge lump sum, they just want their monthly payments.
They could only sell it to the community leaders as a shared asset. And if this were for disabled or homeless folks, you could still follow this model but maybe tie the wealth to something less interchangeable than money.
Maybe farms could implement a community like this in exchange for some farm work? Or maybe a community for veterans could be funded by the VA, and the veterans could use their government subsidies to buy lots? Or maybe ministries could start tiny house communities for at risk families while requiring them to attend skill providing classes, skills which they would be required to use to pay their monthly payments.
For those looking for lots to build on there are many mentioned in the posts above where the minimum dwelling size is not an issue. There are also a few new cities in the last year where the ordinances have been changed to allow a tiny house to be built or placed as a primary dwelling on a city lot: Spur, TX and Walsenburg, Co. Spur is promoting itself as the first tiny house friendly city in the States.
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Barb March 4, , 7: I built my tiny house on wheels and bought some rural land in Wisconsin, but after 6 months they said I could not live in something so tiny and the zoning laws prohibited it, so they kicked me off my own land. The Company makes no representations or warranties and expressly disclaims any and all liability concerning any treatment, action by, or effect on any person following the information offered or provided within or through the Website or Service.
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