Too many tiny homes, not enough places to park them

Austin tiny home community shuts down, sending about 30 people packing

A tiny home community on the outskirts of Austin shut down due to city and county violations.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The tiny house lifestyle is all about simplicity, but some tiny homeowners are discovering that finding a place to legally put the houses is anything but simple.

An entire tiny home community on the outskirts of Austin just shut down due to permitting issues. The property owner says 24 tiny homes were parked on her 10-acre lot, located on Kellam Road in Del Valle, until the city of Austin and Travis County issued violations at the end of June. Officials say the community didn’t meet a number of living standards.

Tiny homeowner Sean Hynes said he’d lived in the community for about a year and a half before being issued a 30-day notice that he’d have to pack up and leave.

“It was stressful to get out of there quick,” Hynes said. “She kind of changed the dates a little bit. She kind of went, ‘no, you’ve got to get out of here faster, faster!'”

Hynes says it wasn’t easy to find a new place to park his 125-square-foot home. “There’s just not a lot of places to put tiny homes. I called all around.”

Eventually, he found a spot in a new RV park north of Austin. He and a few others from the community he’d been at were able to move in before it sold out. Hynes says they were lucky.

“Most RV parks are full, won’t take them, or the tiny home communities are much further out from the city,” he said.

Many RV parks only accept tiny houses if they were built by a certified RV or mobile home manufacturer.

Travis County requires communities with tiny homes to meet the same standards as mobile home communities, according to a county spokeswoman. Hynes says that can be tricky when a house is on wheels.

“I think in the future, people are downsizing and something like this needs to happen,” he said. “There needs to be new zoning associated with tiny homes.”

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