Last weekend I came across an article in the Cape Cod Times entitled Tiny Homes May Help Big Problem. The focus of which was the lack of affordable housing on Nantucket. A 48 square mile island with a lot of billionaires per square foot. Hum, a problem for those that live year round, don’t own, and are in a near constant state of house hopping unrest.
An island with a rich history of tiny artist and whaling cottages, it is now quite common for out-of-towners to snap up million dollar properties, tear them down, and erect even more outrageously expensive properties in their place. Perhaps they weren’t fond of the paint color in the foyer. Whatever the reason, it’s created an oceans divide between those that live on the island year round, and those that don’t.
Construction Manager, and island resident, Isaiah Stover submitted a Citizen’s Petition in support of tiny mobile homes in designated residential areas on the island. The petition, which had been rejected at a previous town meeting, passed this spring, and now will go under review by Attorney General Maura Healy. If approved, it will still face steep opposition and obstacles to becoming a legal reality, including building codes which often require houses to be on a foundation to be considered a permanent residence, and of a certain size – larger than the 8′ x 18′ or 20′ homes. The tiny house size is dictated, in part, by regulations for vehicular size on highways. Another significant issue is where these homes will go. Land is as expensive as housing on the island, so if you don’t know a land owner willing to allow you to squat on their property – you might be out of luck. Of course, if the tide turns and Stover’s idea takes hold, some wealthy and benevolent land owner may donate or lease land for these tiny mobile homes.
Word has it, legal or not, the island is home to quite a few tiny homes on wheels. They are not publicizing their existence, as their existence depends on keeping them secret. Tucked down winding dirt roads, off the beaten path, islanders are literally building their own American Dream.
Build Small . Live Big . Support Tiny!