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Tiny Homes a potential option for Carr Fire victims

Lake Keswick Estates

The Carr Fire has destroyed at least 1,079 homes, leaving hundreds of people looking for places to live. Members of the community are coming up with creative ways to help, but there are codes and restrictions standing in the way.

"We are getting together with all of the other local architects and trying to come up with suggestions on how to move forward," said Hayley Andersen an architect at ONESHOP in Redding.

One idea making major headway is building tiny homes in the mean time. Several groups of tiny home and RV manufacturers are getting together to discuss what it would take to get Carr Fire victims into tiny homes on their own property as they rebuild.

"We have a number of clients, friends, family members who would love to see tiny houses both independently and tiny house communities come together," said Andersen.

Shasta Lake City resident, Hannah Townley, has been advocating for tiny homes for two years. She's been pushing for the need for affordable housing.

"The Carr Fire happened and it was like 'Wow, this is going to become even more of an issue' and there's so many people without a home. This [has been] a viable solution before and it's even more so now," said Townley.

She is building her own tiny home with her husband and says tiny homes are very practical.

"Ninety percent of people who come through my home say, 'oh my gosh, like this feels so much bigger than like I imagined it would from the pictures!'" said Townley.

However, there are certain codes and restrictions in California when it comes to tiny houses.

"So, from our research we found that the City of Santa Rosa and Sonoma County actually had the same problem and for those counties. The county and city were able to allow residents to either build or park a temporary residence on their property, either on their property that burned, or on a friend or family members property," said Andersen.

The Shasta County Department of Resource Management writes, "An RV by definition is considered to be a vehicle and not a structure. Therefore, cannot be lived in on a residential lot (even on a temporary basis)".

A tiny home on a permanent foundation requires county building permits and must meet all zoning and building codes, which could mean you're spending more per square foot to meet all the requirements.

The Shasta County Board of Supervisors plans to talk about the zoning rules at a future meeting, though the date hasn't been announced yet. Until then, those architects and builders who are ready to help have to wait.

"We understand there is a process. There's always a process when it comes to construction," said Andersen.

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