"Plugging in" a tiny house?

bluedogz

Minister of Fire
Oct 9, 2011
1,247
NE Maryland
As some may know, I am in the processof designing a freestanding house of about 300 ft.². Of course, one of the challenges in such a thing is to find a place to put it.

One of my alternatives is a small piece of land in town that used to have a duplex on it, which was condemned and knocked down. So, there is already electricity, water, and sewer run to the property.

Exactly how much of a big deal is it to "hook up"a house to this? In order to be more flexible, is it conceivable to convert the existing connections to an RV type hookup,with a 30 amp power pole and sewer drain?

I'm considering the RV type question because very different permits would be involved than if I appear to be putting a permanent structure on the land.
 

xman23

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2008
1,967
Lackawaxen PA
I don't think it's a huge cost, since the utilities run in front of the property. So the town will let you place a mobile home on the property and live in it?
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
4,610
Northern NH
Time to talk to the zoning board and the building inspector. In many areas temporary structures (AKA mobile homes) may not be allowed in a particular zone. If its permanent structure you may have to put it on a permanent foundation. If a mobile home, generally you need to put up a power pole with a main breaker and feed it via a conduit as the utility will not run a drop to temporary structure. Of course the entire concept of building inspector comes up, if you build it off site how is the inspector going to be able to sign off at various points?. If its mobile home generally it comes with third party certification but for a owner built that's worth asking questions.

Good luck
 

moey

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2012
1,454
Southern Maine
I know nothing but hooking your tiny house up to the grid may make it a dwelling subject to all kinds of code compliance. Best to talk to the town before going to far with your idea.
 

bluedogz

Minister of Fire
Oct 9, 2011
1,247
NE Maryland
aAftera conversation with the planning and zoning folks in both the town and the county, it appears that being up front about this is not the way to go.in fact, the county zoning guywent so far as to say "if you were to do this in your own backyard, or in your parents yard, nobody would care unless you did something stupid. But if you want to do it on your own land, that's something else"
 

moey

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2012
1,454
Southern Maine
I got the impression the lot was in town. Its hard to conceal something in town.
 

bluedogz

Minister of Fire
Oct 9, 2011
1,247
NE Maryland
I got the impression the lot was in town. Its hard to conceal something in town.
You are correct… I tried the honest way first, now it's time to get underhanded.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
4,610
Northern NH
Recently there was a article on the web about someone who built 3 story castle in England behind a pile of haybales. He currently has a choice of tearing it down or going to jail.

If you do build illegally, it highly unlikely you can get insurance on the structure.

There are quite few books and TV shows of late about tiny homes and how great they are. They tend to gloss over that most communities don't deal with them well as their codes are set up to control housing and population density by lot size. A tiny home can be set on a 5 acre minimum lot but that leads to sprawl and a lot of nearly vacant infrastructure that a town needs to maintain. Ideally they could be clustered together on a smaller lot but then the concern is that the taxes on the structures don't cover the inevitable costs of children that need to be schooled. The goal generally is to get high tax value houses on large lots so the taxes offset local expenses. This battle has been fought in most areas over mobile homes and a tiny house is effectively a mobile home with nice siding and trim.

There are some attempts in VT and ME to do co housing where a large number of small private homes are clustered in one location on a large lot with the balance put in conservation status. Some of the communities put in central heating plants and central solar plants plus have common spaces that can be used by all the community members so their individual residences don't need t be as large. This cuts down on local costs somewhat but the tax and school issue remains.
 

billb3

Minister of Fire
Dec 14, 2007
4,536
SE Mass
zoning laws exist to protect abutters from financial and lifestyle harm from a noncompliant neighbor
underhanded is not a good neighbor
 
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bluedogz

Minister of Fire
Oct 9, 2011
1,247
NE Maryland
I agree with all of the above… To me, "underhanded" means heading out into the sticks on a 4 or 5 acre lot, where zoning is less relevant.