The tiny house movement is sweeping across the Europe and America and has come to rest in the tiny town of Spur, Texas. Spur Freedom, a website created specifically for the city, states that as of July 2014 the city became the United State's first official tiny house friendly town passing a city council resolution that welcomes all tiny homes.
Although many people like the idea of going tiny since it minimizes the ecological footprint they leave behind, finding places where they can actually live in a tiny home can be a problem. Ecobuilding Pulse reports that as of June 2015 the top five states that were tiny home friendly were California, Oregon, Texas, North Carolina and Florida. The rest of the states make getting permission to place a tiny home somewhere far more difficult. Having Spur announce that all tiny homes are welcome is a huge step forward for the tiny home movement.
What is Spur's regulation about?
According to Spur Freedom, the decision came about in an attempt to breathe new life into a town that was slowly dying. The population was slowly dwindling and the economy was drying up. David Alsbury states in an interview with Tiny House Build that many of the existing homes in Spur are already under 500 square feet (46 square meters), so making a town for tiny homes wasn't a huge leap. Any tiny homes that would be added would fit right in with what already existed.
Spur Freedom states that the only regulations for the homes are that they must be built on a metal or wooden frame. They must have a flush toilet and proper electrical work. The water and electric must be connected to the city's utilities, and each home must be placed on a permanent pad. For those with tiny homes on wheels, the city offers to help remove the axles and store them. Unlike most cities, the process to obtain the permit is free.
Why is this significant?
For those who want to go tiny and want to have a place to sink down roots and call home, Spur is becoming that place. It is pioneering a movement as the first official tiny house town. This means that it is learning as it goes. As The Wall Street Journal reports, sometimes the rules change as the city encounters something it didn't expect. Mayor Steve Bland said, "This is new for us. We understand as it grows, we’ll have to grow with it—you can’t stay stuck in your ways—but we want things to go slowly.”
What are the experiences of some of the first tiny home dwellers in Spur?
Tiny House Talk introduces Connor Mccann, one of the first people to move to Spur in order to live tiny. He owns a micro home of 84 square feet (8 square meters). The home is set on a permanent pad and is connected to the city's utilities.
The Wall Street Journal states that Denise Rodson is the second tiny house owner to move to Spur; and according to The Texas Spur, Rodson would not be deterred from moving to Spur even though Alsbury told her all the "bad" things he could think of about the area. The seclusion and long commute to get to the nearby town were actually attractions rather than deterrents. She originally took over running the Spur Freedom site from Alsbury, but has since passed that off and is instead helping to sell lots within the city to tiny home builders .
Having an entire city to call home is a huge step forward for the tiny home movement. Communities have risen throughout the States, but to have an entire city is uncharted territory. The people are in the process of learning how it will all work together with the long time residence of Spur, but thus far, this move forward is reaping big rewards for Spur.