Tiny house zoning revisionsMore Info
To the editor:
Thank you for posting the proposed Great Barrington zoning revisions (see below). The Edge, in making available the new plan, the result of forward-thinking and much hard work, is a great service to the community. Here is what is proposed:
ARTICLE: Tiny Houses as Accessory Dwelling Units
Amend Section 11, Definitions, to add the following new definition:
Movable Tiny Houses (MTH): A structure intended for the separate, independent living quarters of one household for year-round residence that meets all of the following: (a) Is licensed and registered with the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles; (b) Meets the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) 119.5 requirements, and certified by a qualified third party inspector for ANSI compliance; (c) Cannot move under its own power; (d) Has not less than 150 and no more than 430 square feet of habitable living space, excluding lofts; (e) Is designed and built using conventional residential building materials for windows, roofing and exterior siding.
May I make a few suggestions? First, if you added to (b) “Or if constructed within the jurisdiction, meets the requirements of, and is certified by the Building Inspector.” The Building Inspector (with authority equal to ANSI within the town) could conduct his usual inspections. A resident could buy a frame and build the MTH in the driveway. Movable Tiny Houses could also be constructed by students at the high school, inspected and sold locally. Second, if you changed the minimum area in (d) to 115 square feet, you could use the 16 foot MTH trailer as a bedroom or playroom for summer guests or children. Third, placing the MTH in the Accessory Dwelling Unit zoning category would require a sewer or septic connection. Unless I’m missing something, this would require a small shallow basement under the trailer extending to below the frost line which is neither easy nor practical. For full-time living, a composting toilet would be sufficient. The bathroom in the main house, battery-powered lights, a window with a screen and a propane heater in the winter would provide bedroom luxury undreamed of by the people who lived here less than a century ago.
As an example, the trailer frame shown is made by Heavy Hauler near Albany. It is 16 feet by 100 inches, rated at 7,000 lbs, and cost $3,195. This seems to be the closest location and a good design.
I would be happy to help the Building Inspector write a specification with illustrations of what he would accept for a do-it-yourself MTH. Allowing the Building Inspector to use his jurisdiction keeps the manufacturing business and capital within Great Barrington. Movable Tiny Homes should be built locally. Thanks again!
Leif M. Steinert