Idea of tiny houses gaining traction locally
May 25, 2016
Steamboat Springs — Steamboat Springs High School students, under the direction of engineering teacher Dusty Dike, are finishing up their seventh tiny home build.
The current project uses reclaimed materials and sits on a wheeled trailer; upon completion, it will be purchased and used by a teacher and her husband as a man cave/mother-in-law unit on their Steamboat Springs property.
Dike shared the tiny house with dozens of interested community members Tuesday as part of a Yampa Valley Sustainability Council Talking Green event on tiny houses.
"The kids love every minute of it," said Dike, who was one of five speakers who presented during the event, intended to educate the public about tiny homes.
Tiny homes are typically more sustainable than other homes due to their footprint and the materials used.
At 600 square feet or smaller, tiny houses can be built on a foundation and located on a lot owned by the homeowner, or they can be placed on rented land, including trailer parks.
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Tiny houses — which can be custom-created or modular structures built in a factory — can also be constructed on trailers for easy transport.
Darrin Fryer, Steamboat Sotheby's International Realty broker, said he was in the process of working with La Junta-based Sprout Tiny Homes, a mass producer of tiny houses, to study the feasibility of creating a tiny home neighborhood in Steamboat Springs, something the company has pursued in both Salida and Walsenberg.
"This is a really interesting opportunity," Fryer said. "We don't have zoning for it right now, but with some collaboration and focus, we can definitely make it happen."
Fryer said he envisions a neighborhood where tiny home owners also own the land upon which the home is located, leading to pride in ownership and nicer neighborhoods.
"I'd like to see people have a piece of ground that they own," Fryer said. "It's real real estate. Personally, I'd love to see it come to fruition."
Fryer said small houses force people to spend more time outdoors, which many Steamboat residents already enjoy doing.
"I personally believe there's a market for it," he said.
Steamboat Springs Planning Director Tyler Gibbs said he's received interest from developers considering building a dozen to 50 tiny houses, but no one has formally entered the planning process for such a development.
"We've got folks who are definitely looking into it at a variety of scales," Gibbs said.
Also at Tuesday's event were Steamboat Springs Building Department Director Ben Grush and Alan Goldich, with the Routt County Planning Department, who helped field audience questions.
Grush said the building department was willing to work with builders constructing tiny homes and encouraged builders to get regular inspections while the home is under construction.