I recently stumbled upon this website that sells plans for small homes. I found one that I want to build. It is 261 square feet. I live in Georgia and I was wondering where I could build a home that size here? Is there anywhere I can build it?
Please email me @ mc_quiz at hotmail dot com if you know of a county or city in GA that I could build it.
Editors Reply: We think that you might have to be outside of areas with zoning or a building code to build a house that small.
That's not to say there is anything wrong with what is being called a cottage or a tiny house. In fact, the architect selling the plans may be very clever.
Ships, submarines, and college dormitory rooms have long been considered places where one could survive in a small space. Livability entirely depends on what is around you.
The typical land use zoning ordinance may specify a minimum square footage for the home, although minimum square footage for the lot in a zoning district is more common.
We mention that because some of them would fall in the tiny house category, and in our opinion that's driving the cottage phenomenon.
Other factors include many young adults who can't afford rent, family elders who need someone nearby but want to preserve independence, and the sheer difficulty of the economic times.
Regardless of all that, your timing is good. Cities, towns, and villages are moving toward more versatility in housing types and toward what is known as form-based code.
This means that some of the rules are loosening, even in places that have zoning. In your case, the form-based code may not be such a welcome innovation though, unless someone involved in the code-making can be persuaded to see the beauty of a group of small cottages in the same general area, so each one doesn't look dwarfed by other housing.
If you are in the rural area, as we suspect you might be, you're probably free and clear of any governmental restrictions.
You still might have a building code issue. Some of the standard codes still tell you the minimum size for a room to be considered a bedroom. Bathrooms have some minimum functionality requirements too.
As you can infer, many rural areas have building codes in force, often through a county government, even if there is no zoning.
So your best bet is to get busy researching both zoning and building codes in Georgia counties. We didn't check, but in most states an association of municipalities in the state could be a good starting point for asking for help.
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