Category Archives: Maryland

11/30 Annapolis woman pushes to make tiny houses legal in Anne Arundel County, MD

tiny house on wheels

one of the tiny homes Liza Roe is dreaming about

Liza Roe has big dreams about living tiny. The Annapolis woman wants to ditch her things and buy a tiny home. She said a simpler life, with fewer possessions and a smaller environmental footprint is appealing.

“It’s hard to see a future being a homeowner, and that’s what I have as a goal, so it makes it more attainable to think of it in tiny terms,” Roe said.

But it’s not just ideas, Roe has done the research and knows what she wants. She’s in the process of designing a modest abode for less than $70,000 and at least 300-square-feet. She also wants the petite dwelling to be on wheels.

“That just gives me the flexibility to move it anywhere that I want to,” she said.

There’s just one thing standing in her way, zoning codes haven’t caught up with the tiny house craze.

Tracie Reynolds with the Department of Planning and Zoning said little homes are actually illegal in Anne Arundel County .

“Currently there’s no definition for a tiny house on wheels in the zoning code,” she said.

The struggle to fit pint-sized properties within the limits of the law is not unique to Maryland. Building codes and zoning codes dictate how a house must be constructed and where they can be lived in.

Because most tiny homes are less than 400-square feet, and many don’t have foundations like traditional houses, they’re not recognized by the law. But there are a few ways to get around that.

“It can either fall into the category of an RV because it’s on wheels and it has to be RVIA certified,” Roe said. “But in that case you can’t live in it full time unless it’s parked in an RV park or a campsite or something like that that allows RVs.”

A small space on wheels can also be considered a mobile home. However, long term parking of the tiny house would only be allowed at a mobile home park.

Turns out, it requires a change to the code to park on someone’s private lot.

“So we would need to define what is a tiny house,” said Reynolds.

Roe has been lobbying local officials to loosen zoning restrictions. Yet she says changing the law is no easy task.

“There’s a lot of red tape to kinda go through or even wade through, it’s a very slow process is what I’m starting to learn,” she said.

Brand new legislation would need to be drafted, proposed and approved through the County Council. So far, Anne Arundel planners said they recognize tiny houses will probably need to be integrated so folks can build and live in them.

“Right now we are in the very early, preliminary stages,” Reynolds said.

Read more and watch the video – http://www.abc2news.com/news/region/anne-arundel-county/push-in-anne-arundel-county-to-make-tiny-houses-legal

Building code map

Handy map of the US. Just click on your state (in the link, not on the picture) to see which building codes are in effect: http://www.iccsafe.org/about-icc/overview/international-code-adoptions/

International Code Council Map

International Code Council map

Park Model RV Regulations, State-by-State

The RVIA has provided a table showing regulations by state for park model RVs
http://www.rvia.org/UniPop.cfm?v=2&OID=3531&CC=7616

What is a park model? 

Below is a description from the RVIA:

On July 1, 2012, RVIA created a new membership category for manufacturers of park model RVs (PMRVs). A park model RV (also known as a recreational park trailer) is a trailer-type RV that is designed to provide temporary accommodation for recreation, camping or seasonal use. PMRVs are built on a single chassis, mounted on wheels and have a gross trailer area not exceeding 400 square feet in the set -up mode. They are certified by their manufacturers as complying with the ANSI A119.5 standard for recreational park trailers.

PMRVs are most often used in recreational vehicle campgrounds. They may be owned by the campground and rented to guests, or they may be brought in and used exclusively by their owners on a site rented or leased from the campground. They can also be placed by their owners on private property. These RVs are used for recreational purposes only. They are not meant to be permanently affixed to the property, they do not improve property values in any way, and they are neither designed nor intended by their manufacturers to be used as permanent residences.

Two different types of park model RVs are offered. One type is less than 8′ 6″ in width and is designed for frequent travel on the highways while the other and more popular type is wider than 8′ 6″ (usually 12′ in width), and must be transported with special movement permit. The 8′ 6″ unit typically is expandable when it reaches its destination utilizing slide-outs or tip-outs. The wider units, being less mobile, are usually sited in a resort or RV park location for an extended term, typically several years. Park model RVs are titled as vehicles by the various states. This is because PMRVs are built on permanent chassis such that they can be and are moved either within a campground or between campgrounds.

Free Online Zoning Codes

Here are two sources of online codes:

  • Municodes from the Nation’s leading legal publisher.
  • The American Legal Publishing Company provides a free online library of state and municipal codes for most locations. Click on the map to go to the library and chose your state and city. Then search or scroll for descriptions of minimum lot sizes, setback rules, etc.

    American Legal Publishing Compay online library

    American Legal Publshing Company online library


    Information is available for all states except these 13: AL, CO, ID, KS, LA, MO, MS, ND, NV, UT, VT, WA, WY.