If you’re looking for a drastic way to reduce your carbon footprint, there’s a relatively new way to combine “living the dream” and being eco-friendly.
It’s called a living in a “Tiny House.”
Currently, there's a pending bylaw regulating tiny houses, the first in the state, under review by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey that could clear the way for these small dwellings on moveable trailers to legally exist on Nantucket and elsewhere.
Currently, there’s a pending bylaw regulating tiny houses, the first in the state, under review by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey that could clear the way for these small dwellings on moveable trailers to legally exist on Nantucket and elsewhere.
Nantucket is known for notoriously high home prices.
The median price of a home is $1.2 million. Of three dozen properties for sale now on the island, only three are listed under $1 million.
The use of “tiny houses”, which offers owners a 500 square-foot option that can cost as little as $20,000 dollars to build depending on size and construction, is seen as a solution to a big problem where a high percentage of island residents are in need of permanent housing.
Tiny houses were recently approved by the Nantucket zoning board at the annual spring meeting, and year-round residents likeIsaiah Stover, founder of NantucketTinyHouses.com is hoping that the new regulations will be approved at the start of the July fiscal year.
Stover recently spoke with WGBH's Marilyn Schairer about the idea of tiny houses during the WGBH series analyzing the state of housing in Massachusetts Block by Block.
Stover says his proposal to the zoning board stems from what's called, "The Nantucket Shuffle." He says many people on the island rent their homes out during the height of the summer season to afford their year round home. It results in residents moving several times a year, in order to maintain homes. In addition, he says tiny houses gives people the option to own a home on Nantucket, for those who otherwise couldn't afford to own one.
Initially, he says, the zoning prohibition was a legal roadblock to building them. With the passage of the new bylaw, there are guidelines and criteria for construction of a tiny house that would make them different than mobile trailers. The Historic District commission on Nantucket will review any tiny trailer construction to make sure it conforms to all building codes and regulations.
Noncommercial uses are not allowed and tiny house occupiers must be owners. Certain zones within the 48- square mile island would be prohibited such as the old historic district.
Under state title V options, tiny homes can be connected to a town septic system, incinerated toilet, a holding tank with the maintenance schedule, or a composting toilet.
Other towns in the state such as Brewster and Hadley are also looking at tiny houses as affordable options.
Tiny homes will come under review and inspection to obtain a certificate of occupancy.
To listen to the extended interview with Nantucket Tiny Homes founder Isaiah Stover and WGBH’s Marilyn Schairer click on the audio file above.