April 24, 2014

Madison’s Urban Design Commission approves non-code-compliant "Tiny Houses."

Because the code-violations come from the heart.

27 comments:

Mike said...

Composting toilets? I'm sure that's just what poor people aspire to.

madAsHell said...

Hold my beer!!
I'm going headfirst down the slippery slope!

B said...

Building codes, like taxes and PPACA requirements, are for the little guys.

Big Mike said...

Interesting experiment. Hope it works, but my reading of Madison-type liberals is that they won't acknowledge the failure if it fails because their hearts were always in the right place.

southcentralpa said...

Low-income SWPL types could make that work. I'm guessing this will end up as a typical "housing project" disaster.

Without knowing how the lots are laid out there, if they were looking to increase affordable housing units, they would've been better off approving "tiny houses" as back of lot rental properties...

richard mcenroe said...

This ain't new. Black community activist Ted Hayes organized a successful, code-compliant mini-home community in Los Angeles in the early 2000's... which the progressives shut down because Ted Hayes is a Republican. In fact, the man who donated the land said, "If I'd know you were a Republican I'd never have let you have it."

So dozens of black families were turned out into the street to stick a prog finger in the GOP's eye.

chrisnavin.com said...

The environment, collectivist impulses, genuine sweat and sacrifice for the right ideals...

PB Reader said...

Zoning is only for rich people.

mrs.e said...

My hat's off to Konkel for her creativity and persistence in tryihg to thread the government needle. Hope it works.

Larry J said...

The article doesn't specify the particular areas that violate the building code. Does the building code specify a minimum square footage or separation requirement? That's kind of the whole point of these tiny houses. On the other hand, do these small houses get a waiver from the snow loads requirement? That wouldn't be good. Neither would deviations from minimum insulation, plumbing or electrical requirements. Not all building code violations are created equal.

Dan from Madison said...

"Composting toilets"...those were ruled out flatly in the final recommendation. The tiny homes will not have them. the "residents" will be using the facilities in the building there according to the plan.

PJ said...

What would you call a white conservative who advocated for substandard, non code compliant housing for poor people? I know there is a name for it, but I am drawing a blank.

D.M.Dutcher said...

Most of the issues with "non-code compliance" for tiny houses is that they are too small. On the whole they are probably built better even than singlewides or the cheap ranch houses that flooded the market after WW2.

Tiny House Swoon has some good pictures of Tiny houses and the way they can look:

http://tinyhouseswoon.com/

David said...

Hope they build them. Then see how it works out.

Sigivald said...

Codes written by middle-class "feelers" are what prevent affordable housing for poor people now.

Modify it to let changes work, I say, though not, ideally, with middle-class enviro-hippie style "tiny houses" with "composting toilets".

Let people live more densely ... because it's cheaper.

(The "1938 Minimum wage was a living wage!" thing I've seen going around Facebook forgets that "living wage" was a lot cheaper [$.25/hr then is $4.07 or so now] then.

In 1938, poor people didn't have cars, and you could fit a family in two rooms (or one).

The higher you raise the bar for "a decent living", the more expensive it is ... and the less it can possibly be available to people whose labor is not valuable.)

Michael said...

Fantastic idea! It would be best, however, if these tiny houses sat on the unneeded and unused parts of the yards and lawns of the professoriate, especially those members who are deeply concerned about economic justice and the vast gap, disparity in fact, in income between the rich and poor. There is no need to cluster these "tiny houses" (an insult to the occupants) in low income ghettoes, effectively signaling an encampment of the underclass. Especially when there are so many beautiful and leafy streets in Madison with wasteful space in evidence.

Our very own hostess, herself an admirer of tiny houses, could volunteer to hostess one of them on her own estate.

Surely no member of the faculty of Wisconsin could argue that this solution would not be a win win for all concerned.

jimbino said...

Code compliance is bullshit. We don't have such here in Rio and we do lose houses and folks in mudslides and other disasters, just as have recently occurred in Washington and New Jersey and New Orleans.

Life involves risk-benefit tradeoffs. Why the hell do we risk-tolerant folks need to hew to the risk-averse fears of others? Why do we sacrifice opportunity in favor of the security of the timid? Imagine if the gummint had "code compliance" rules for our partners! You are more likely to suffer from an STD than a Tiny Home.

Danno said...

I'm surprised you don't have any pictures. I will have to check these addresses out when I am down in Mad Town for the weekend.

SineWaveII said...

How is this any different from a mobile home park?

pst314 said...

"Our very own hostess, herself an admirer of tiny houses, could volunteer to hostess one of them on her own estate. Surely no member of the faculty of Wisconsin could argue that this solution would not be a win win for all concerned."

And the first 2 years of occupancy should be free--paid entirely with compulsory voluntary donations from Education School professors.

pst314 said...

I think it's a silly overstatement to say that "all code compliance is bullshit" but I will certainly agree that some is bullshit. Some codes, like lot size, are designed to keep out the riff-raff (although a certain level of separation is good for fire protection.)

pst314 said...

As another example of fire code: All new construction in our community must have not just smoke detectors, but networked detectors with a strobe on the front of the house to assist the fire department in finding the house. I would happily pay for this feature for myself, but the vast number of such requirements contribute to the high cost of housing, pricing some people out of the market.

And then there are automobiles: Safety and mileage and pollution mandates (airbags, child seats, no more child seats than there are seats, etc) mean that a car for a family with more than 2 children can be painfully expensive. Of course, the vast majority of the safety nazis are hostile to anyone having more than 2 children.

Peter said...

Low cost housing already exists. It's called "mobile homes," aka "trailers." it's inexpensive, but zoning confines them to trailer parks.

(I suppose the "Tiny" version would be the travel trailer.)

SJ said...

@PJ,

I think the word you are looking for is "slum".

CWJ said...

Building codes are for the little people.

But little people would be perfect for tiny houses.

I'm so confused.

Sam L. said...

Oooooooh... A marketplace for them to sell home-made goods.

Steve in Toronto said...

Two* things to keep in mind 1)we are talking abut by-law not the building code. big difference one is life and safety one is land use. By-laws are bent and even broken all the time. if you live in a old neighborhood you will almost certainly need a variance to build an addition. when towns grow agricultural land will be re zone commercial or residential no big deal happens every day. 2 building code are now "perfomative" the architect or engineer who stamps the drawing say the structure will meet or exceed the requirements of the code even if it does it in a way not described in the code. If the structure fail sue the guy whose stamp is on the drawing and his government mandated insurance will pay up. You have a lot of libertarian readers I am surprised there is so much push back at what seems to me is a good idea.