Posts Tagged With: Tiny House

Night Time Goosebumps

At 2:00 am, Dieter signalled that he had to go outside.  Hj turned on the upstairs lights and tottered down the stairs with him.  Then he turned on the downstairs and outside lights, including the spotlight out to the dog’s garden and since it looked clear, he opened the door to let Dieter out.  Dieter immediately rushed out the door barking and began chasing a large animal around the yard.  Hj was yelling “Dieter, Dieter, Dieter” and running after him.  At first we thought the animal was a fisher, but within moments we understood it was a porcupine.  A big one, of about 25 pounds.

Fortunately, Hj was able to get Dieter back into the house and the porcupine never made contact with either of my guys.

Can you see it?

S/he is right there under the sapling. Can you see our prickly friend?

 

The porcupine, I guess needed to relax after such a burst of commotion, so s/he stayed in the fenced area for about half an hour and then finally scaled up the fence and continued up one of the maple trees.  After s/he climbed up Dieter was brought out to go to the bathroom… ON A LEASH, this time.  He really did have to go to the bathroom but quickly did his business without further incident and came back in.

 

Dieter (doing his best Flock of Seagulls imitation)

Dieter (doing his best Flock of Seagulls imitation)

Dieter is, by the way, our most recent rescue.  He is five and a half and was adopted in December.  He had been living in a cage in disgusting conditions for the first five years of his life.  His owners were backyard breeders, who ran a small puppy mill.   He was the “stud”.   When he was pulled along with all the other dogs he was half the weight and had half the hair that he now has.  He was covered in fleas and suffered with tapeworm just as all the other dogs in the house.   He has made a stellar recovery!

Please adopt, don’t shop.  Dogs like Dieter make such grateful and wonderful companions!

 

Categories: Dog, Dogs, Forest, Ontario, Open your eyes, Tiny house, Tiny House Ontario, Wildlife | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Ontario Tiny House Legalization…

Update: Monday May 16, 2016

I am sorry to say that the tip that came to me about the Municipality of Highlands East was not correct.  I don’t think that the tipper meant any malice but they were simply misinformed and I passed on this misinformation to you.  I am very sorry about this.

I know it must have been a sad disappointment for at least one of the people who read it, because Dan wrote to the the Municipality of Highlands East and here is the note that he got back.

“Our zoning by-law has not changed and the minimum size of a dwelling is 65 square meters or 700 square feet.”

I am sorry Dan and others who hoped to make this community their home.

 

_____________________________________________

 

There are two bits of news that I find promising when it comes to the legality of tiny houses in Ontario.

1. Garden Suites

2. UPDATE: the Municipality of Highlands East has lowered its footprint size to 500 feet.  Which is a perfectly reasonable house size and right sized for a lot of people.  (News of this came to me on November 19, 2015)  One tiny step forward!

 

Tiny house hopeful Anthony shared a bunch of research that he has been doing in his area.  He discovered that Garden Suites are allowed to be built in the area outlined in black in the below map of Ontario.

Each of these areas has rules unique to its own area.  But essentially what holds true to all of them is that if you can get someone to agree to allow you on their land, if you hook up your services to the main house and if you pay a nice hefty fee, you can park a tiny house in these areas. Yes I said PARK!  These buildings must be supplementary and they must be mobile.

With this said, please before you jump check the specific area, there are a lot of restrictions and you will need to know these.  You can’t fill too much of the green space in a lot for example and wouldn’t it be a pity to build a house 1 square foot too big after paying for all the hookups.

Also doing this will NOT be cheap.  These houses MUST be hooked in on the existing infrastructure.  No off grid toilets, there must be running water and electricity.  In other words, if you are considering building you have to add all of these infrastructural costs to your build. Further to this, you better have a LONG term lease with the land owner, even if this is someone you trust.  Once you spend the money for hooking your house to sewage, water and electricity you want to be sure that a fight over a cup of sugar won’t find you and your house without a place to live.

I want to note that while I am excited about the potential of this, there is a lot of leg work and money to make this happen.

If you decide to go ahead with doing this, please do so with your building inspector as well as a lawyer to draw up a lease agreement.  Remember I know something about tiny houses, but I  am not willing to take any responsibility if you fail to do your own homework for your own house.  I can’t possibly know all the individual codes for every township.

 

Garden Suites

 

 

The second point, and this is REALLY great news, just last night I heard from a counsellor from a very nice area in Ontario.  This person said that they are considering removing the minimum house size in the area that they are representing.   I sent back SO much information that they will have to spend quite some time reading the information I sent.  This said, it is totally worth my time to donate my time to this cause, because I want to ensure that tiny and small sustainable homes are available to anyone who wants to live this lifestyle.

When I know more, I will certainly share more.

We are getting closer every single day folks!

Categories: Building code, Community, Environmentalism, Ontario, Rules, Sustainable living, Tiny house, Tiny House Ontario, View | Tags: , , , , , | 38 Comments

NO MINIMUM!!!!

Here is a sweet little business set up in an alley in the arts district in Saskatoon.  An absolutely right sized spot isn't it?

Here is a sweet little business set up in an alley in the arts district in Saskatoon. An absolutely right sized spot isn’t it?

After a recent trip to Saskatoon, a community filled with tiny and little houses, I called the City of Saskatoon, Planning and Building Department.  I asked if there was a minimum size requirement in Saskatoon.  Apparently there is not because they said they did not think that there was a minimum size restriction in the National Building code.  This is the code that Saskatoon uses.

After speaking with three people on the phone, I wrote to the Canadian Code Centre (a couple of times before I got the straight to this question):

What is the minimum size of a house in the National Building Code?
Here is the response I got:   ((((I will comment on this after the letter below))))

____________________________________

Dear Ms. Moreland

 The National Building Code (NBC) does not regulate a minimum size for buildings in the body of the code. Whether a permit is required or not for a building is an administrative requirement, for which each province and territory has detailed requirements (and – which may differ from province to province).

 The National Building Code only contains a few (model) administrative requirements for provinces or territories, should they wish to use them in enforcing and administering their code. Within these model requirements (located in Division C of the NBC) is a reference to a document “Administrative Requirements for Use with the NBC 1985”, which in turn suggests that an exemption for permits would be appropriate if buildings are smaller than 10m² (108 ft²).

This exemption is based on the assumption that such small buildings would be accessory buildings and that there is only 1 such accessory building per primary building. In addition, the 1985 document states that the exemption for small buildings is not intended to waive the safety and health requirements for a series or group of such buildings. This likely means that an authority having jurisdiction (city or municipality) would not use this exemption where people intended to live in such small houses.

In addition, staff at the Canadian Codes Centre are not aware of a study or research report that contains a clear-cut, definitive answer as to whether there is a legal or safe minimum size for a permanent dwelling.

The views expressed in this letter are those of the staff of the Canadian Codes Centre of the National Research Council who assist the Committees which are responsible for the preparation of the National Building, Plumbing and Fire Codes. These views should not be considered as official interpretations of legislated requirements based on the National Building and Fire Codes of Canada because the final responsibility for an official interpretation rests with the authority having jurisdiction.

Kind Regards

Frank Lohmann,
Senior Technical Advisor, Housing and Small Buildings  (NBC Part 9)

NRC Construction
Canadian Codes Centre
1200 Montreal Road Building M23a
Ottawa, ON, K1A 0R6
http://www.nationalcodes.ca

_________________________________________

What I get from this letter is that it is as I previously understood.  There is NO minimum house size in Canadian code!

So, it is therefore up to we Tiny Housers and Tiny House enthusiasts to educate our municipalities and local government to the benefits of tiny living so that we can have these changes in code made to all locals.  We must lobby, speak to elected officials, educate those who are on the election trail and keep making our voices heard if we want to see tiny houses available in communities across this nation.

What I am asking is that anyone who is interested in this lifestyle please take a few moments and write letters to the elected officials in your community.  Copy the building department as well.  If we all lobby together there will be change, community by community.

ALSO, FYI… Here is a story on the awesome community that  opened my eyes a little more; Saskatoon.

Categories: Building code, Environmentalism, Money, Tiny House Ontario, View, Writing | Tags: , , , | 28 Comments

THO visits Osaka Japan

I have been invited to Osaka Japan in July of 2014 until August 2014.  I am considering taking the trip but only if I am able to see inside of some tiny houses/dwellings, photograph and run stories on them.

We understand that Japan is a country in which space is at a premium and therefore Japanese architects are significantly more familiar with how to best utilize smaller spaces; however, we do not have the opportunity to see this small architecture written about first hand by North Americans for the North American audience.

If you are in the Osaka area and you have a tiny house: or if you are an architect and you want to see your tiny work showcased please contact me here.  Likewise, if you know people in the Osaka area of Japan who you think might enjoy having their tiny home featured in one of my articles, please  pass this along and hopefully they will contact me.  I am not restricted to looking at show houses, any tiny livable space is interesting to our readers.

OSAKA

Here are samples of my work.

Categories: Tiny house | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

The Trees: Speaking to the Issue

My friend Colleen and I were chatting this morning, as we do from time to time.  Our chats are filled with banter about animal ethics, environmental issues, and we also very often speak about the problematic ways in which human beings behave.  There is often an emphasis on sheeplism and our frustrations in dealing with this.

During our banter, she mentioned a song called The Trees which is both written and performed by the iconic Canadian rock band Rush.  Since I have always been about as far away from the mainstream as possible, I had never heard this song.  My loss.  It is really great; meaningful on a lot of levels.

The way that this song connected to something that has been on my mind for the last bit was timely.  For the last few days I have been thinking a lot about the rules.  Not the dating book series, but the rules of society.  These rules, while put in place for the good of the whole, lost sight of a lot of things that are perfectly sensible.  Specifically, I am speaking about Tiny Houses and the Bylaws that prohibit people from making choices that are better for the land, environment, mental health and in a million and one ways are greater than any McMansion can ever possibly be.

I have for three days had the story on my mind about the fellow who bought some acres in the US and whose neighbour harassed him from the day that he moved there.  The story* messed up on so many levels, sort of Deliverance meets the Tiny House movement.  The post is interesting but here is my synopsis of it this Deliverance story, the blogger bought land and put a tiny house on it.  He hoped to live there for two years but made it only 5 months, in the time that he lived there he was constantly harassed and subjected to all sort of crazy from a weirdo next door (my words, not his).

The question is, who would you rather have for a neighbour?  A quiet person whose house is so small that you can’t see it and who leaves the land as natural as it was when the planet formed, or a lout who blares his music, lets his kid, big scary dogs and insanity into your life every day just because you happen to live next door?  You guessed it, the lout called the government and they are making him remove his Tiny House from his land.  It seems wrong that an innocuous Tiny House can be considered wrong in anyone’s mind.

I am of the opinion that the legality of Tiny Houses should not be questioned.  This should not be an issue.  If indeed laws are put in place to protect people then who exactly is this law protecting?  Why would anyone think that a Tiny House is dangerous?

Is this because refusing to participate in a consumer lifestyle is not acceptable and therefore a crime?

Here are the wonderful lyrics to the song that I think speaks to this issue.

“The Trees”

There is unrest in the forest
There is trouble with the trees
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas
The trouble with the maples
(And they’re quite convinced they’re right)
They say the oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all the light
But the oaks can’t help their feelings
If they like the way they’re made
And they wonder why the maples
Can’t be happy in their shade
There is trouble in the forest
And the creatures all have fled
As the maples scream ‘Oppression!’
And the oaks just shake their heads
So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights
‘The oaks are just too greedy
We will make them give us light’
Now there’s no more oak oppression
For they passed a noble law
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe and saw
.
.
Categories: Art, Environmentalism, Forest, Materialism, Money, Off Grid, Ontario, Open your eyes, Sustainable living, Tiny House Ontario | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments