Chesterfield man’s tiny home met with big resistance

Posted at 7:00 PM, Apr 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-20 19:00:51-04

CHESTERFIELD, Va. --Michael Brown says his Chesterfield home has everything --- from  the perfect kitchen, to the comfortable living space, to the right price.

"I am mortgage free," Brown says enthusiastically.

Michael’s dream home however isn't the four-bedroom, two-car garage home you would expect.  His home is a tiny house, built in the backyard of the home he owns.

It’s no bigger than a shed and it was built --on wheels -- for  $25,000.

Tiny homes, which are often described as 400 square feet or less, have become a popular housing option for people looking to downsize -- whether it's their budgets, belongings or both, according to a CNN report.

"I had control of the floor plan, the layout --everything ,” Brown said.

Brown loves it so much he and his wife rented their big house to another family. Over the last six months, they have preferred the cozy space.

"It is a labor of love," Brown said.

But Brown has one huge problem. Last week the county forced him out.

"I can’t live in my tiny house because Chesterfield County and many other localities in the area have ordinances against living in recreational vehicles,” he said.

County leaders said that in order for Michael  to live there, he has to get rid of the wheels as well as comply with a variety of other county ordinances.

Brown said that defeats the purpose.

Some neighbors have even complained about how their home prices could possibly decline.

For now, the Browns are in an apartment.

“Apartment living is not for us,” he said.

Thom Stanton with the local chapter of the American Tiny House Association said that  “tiny house people who try to live in the area are going to face issues.”

Stanton said that as tiny houses continue to grow in numbers across the US, his group plans on fighting archaic rules.

Richmond has a meetup group with hundreds of members; who all dream of a mortgage free life  that they can hook up to a  truck. Stanton said the immediate goal is to get people like Michael places to live.

"Our Hope is that we'd be able to establish a community somewhere,” Stanton said.

As for Michael he's not giving up, even if some want him to pack in the tiny house living.

"This is home," Brown said.