Tiny House owners face eviction

Posted at 7:09 PM, Jul 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-16 18:28:04-04

The Smith family in Ripon is fighting to keep living in their "tiny house," after a notice from the town says it is not allowed.

Adam Smith recently moved with his wife and two of his children from Tuscan, Arizona to Ripon for a new job as a music pastor. They downgraded from a home in Arizona to an apartment in Ripon, before finishing and moving into the tiny house that they designed themselves.

They've only been there a little over a month, but the tiny house is already stirring up trouble.

The "Mustard Seed Tiny House" is only 400 sq. ft and sits on a corner of a family friend's 20 acre property. With one home already on the lot, an attorney for the town says having a second residence violates a zoning ordinance. The noticed was given to the owner of the property the house sits on, not the actual Smith family, signed by attorney Paul Kilgore.

Adam Smith says he got into the "tiny house movement" first, and his wife, Jessica took a little more convincing. But now that they've started their minimalist lifestyle, they want to stay.

The family has already been approached to be featured on a national TV show about tiny houses, something they feel will bring some great exposure to Ripon.

"But if we get the boot, how are we going to showcase Ripon in a positive light if we're looking for a place to live and we are homeless?" Jessica Smith said.

However, the notice says the house must be off of the property by August 1 and after that the property owner will be fined daily.

Adam and Jessica say they expected to meet with some resistance, as the "tiny house movement" is still a new concept and they aren't the only tiny house homeowners who've run into problems with town ordinances or zoning laws.

Now they want to be a part of the solution, and are hoping to meet with town representatives and work something out so that they meet any financial obligations and the tiny house can stay.

"We're not doing this to try and like avoid anything, we're not trying to pull a fast one on anybody. We just want to live and it's kind of hard because it's hard to navigate all the ordinances and codes and tax stuff," Adam Smith said.

"I don't know the best way to go about it but we'd like to play by the rules."

The Smith's have started a petition for support and are hoping to reach 1,000 signatures. You can sign it here.