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Where to put tiny houses: pocket neighborhoods

Joan Fieldstone

November 21, 2016

By: Joan Fieldstone, Home Improv Advocate

In: Green Living

Searching for affordable housing recently led me to explore the possibility of buying a tiny house. I've been attracted to the tiny house concept for quite some time. I am pretty sure that I could be content in less than 400 square feet of living space, having managed at one time in a studio apartment with my son and three cats for a year. For me the problem would be where to put the tiny house. This is a question much on the minds of potential tiny house owners.

Further research for where you can live in a tiny house turns up some serious limitations in the State of Florida, where I am house hunting--RV parks or someone's large property being pretty much the only places where they are allowed. For me a tiny house on wheels (THOW) is not feasible. I know I can't even drive a small U-Haul trailer much less pull a camper. That would eliminate RV parks. If nothing else, the high rate of "resident" turnover in an RV park would make it less than desirable for me. I prefer to live in a neighborhood where I can put down roots and establish ongoing relationships.

The alternative, squatting on someone else's property, could potentially turn a tiny house owner into an unwelcome guest. In my case, the host would have to be a stranger because I don't know people with a piece of property large enough to accommodate a tiny house in addition to their own or who live in an area zoned for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in their yard.

Pocket neighborhoods: cozy communities for tiny houses?

My search turned up an unexpected possibility: a pocket community of tiny houses spearheaded by René Hardee that's forming on the Space Coast of Florida within the confines of the existing town of Rockledge. It's still in the planning stages, so it may not be a viable scenario for my needs. I had never heard of a pocket community. Here's what I learned:

  • Pocket neighborhoods are designed to foster a sense of community and cooperation among neighbors.
  • About a dozen homes comprise a pocket neighborhood. They can be large or small, single dwellings or apartments, but they are a subset of a larger community.
  • Each home is designed to allow occupants needed privacy when they are in their homes, yet the homes are grouped in such a way that their proximity encourages and facilitates social engagement.

Similar to cohousing communities, which form out of a desire to establish communities of homeowners with like interests, this type of housing has the potential to appeal to tiny house enthusiasts looking for like-minded neighbors.

If you're searching for a place to form a tiny house community and looking for guidance, you can find more about pocket communities at pocket-neighborhoods.net and tinyhousecommunity.com. For up-to-date information and to express your interest about developments with the Rockledge Tiny House Community, visit their Facebook page.

Tiny house communities have already sprung up in other parts of the country, primarily the Pacific Northwest. Will the demand for places to put tiny houses create more of these micro-communities nestled within larger ones going forward?

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