Category Archives: New York

09/17 Tiny Houses on Hold in Alfred, New York

tiny houseThe Village of Alfred is on the verge of temporarily banning an emerging trend in housing for one year, while it explores its impacts on use intensity and population densities.

The issue began when life-long resident and Alfred University Graduate Student Alena Giesche purchased a 147 square foot dwelling and sought a variance to store it in her parents’ backyard while she studies abroad.

Under current village code, applying to mobile homes, no residence under 400 square feet is allowed, causing Giesche to seek a variance from the Zoning Board, who referred the issue back to the Village Board.

The variance was granted because it will not be used for habitation. However, the codes remain vague, and there isn’t a solid working definition of what a “tiny house” is, according to Alfred Village Mayor Justin Grigg.

Some village residents wondered, if it’s not allowed already, then — Why is a moratorium necessary?

“This is a standard procedure when municipalities run into a situation that they do not have clarity in their local laws on,” Grigg explained.

A public hearing considering the moratorium will be held on Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m.

“This could go on for many months with many opportunities to comment. The board is not making a decision about the future of tiny houses or no tiny houses, he said.

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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:

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

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.