An Albertan man who constructed the tiny home of his dreams is speaking out after being told by Rocky View County he needs to get rid of it – or face a fine.
Gregg Taylor of GHT Contracting spoke to News Talk 770’s Danielle Smith on Friday about the home.
“Although I’ve been a contractor for my entire adult life, I’ve never built a house that I’ve lived in,” he said.
He said the pint-sized residence cost him about $15,000 to construct and includes a 4 ft. balcony, two sleeping walls, a full bathroom and a kitchen. Pretty good when you consider it’s only 20 ft. long.
“You can tow it on a half-ton truck,” Taylor says.
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Taylor says Rocky View County has told him if he doesn’t move the home he’ll be slapped with a $1500 fine.
“With this economic downturn we’ve experienced here, I decided I’m going to do it. Because it’s not that expensive, especially when I do all the work myself.”
Taylor said he has the home on five acres of land, but there’s no services; though he does have a few solar panels and a wind turbine. And therein lies the problem.
“You have to remember this is a rural community; what are you going to do with water and waste water. If you don’t have a municipal address how are we going to find you when you need the fire department or police department,” said Grant Kaiser, spokesperson for Rocky View County.
Rocky View County says the home just doesn’t meet the proper requirements.
“The bottom line is the house simply appeared on the roadside with a large banner on it promoting a construction company. Neighbours objected to [the home] being there and called it in. This from our perspective, has less to do with a tiny home and more to do with advertising, or perhaps to do with a mobile home,” Kaiser said.
Kaiser said the home just appeared and they have no record of any applications or development permits. He also said it didn’t appear to their inspectors that the home was habitable.
“There is no way for water to get into the house and no way for water to get out of the house,” he says.
But Taylor says there are other, less traditional, options for plumbing.
“There’s composting toilets, there’s incinerating toilets. You can just use a regular toilet and use a stow and go,” he says. “I’m working on a system right now of recycling my shower water… I recycle my sink water.”
Grant Kaiser admits the home is too small for current bylaws but says there is an appeals process.
“Certainly ‘philosophically’ Rocky View County has no problem with tiny homes.”
“If he’s looking to build a real tiny home in Rocky View County, simply apply for a development permit and follow the process through. If he’s looking to have a mobile tiny home in Rocky View County then he has to do one of two things; he has to actually find a place that allows for that, or he has to find a property that already has an existing permanent residence on it so that the mobile tiny home can take advantage of the water source, the waste water, the municipal addressing for emergency services,” Kaiser says.
Taylor suggests municipalities like Rocky View County need to look at changing the rules to accommodate tiny homes. He says since building the home he’s already been contacted by a number of people that are ‘excited’ by what he’s doing.