Maine, which was already one of the friendliest states in the US when it comes to tiny houses, has become even friendlier.
A new law signed in July by Governor Janet Mills defines tiny houses and gives them the same status as traditional single-family dwellings. The law, dubbed L.D. 1530, comes into effect this fall.
In the state, a tiny house will be defined as a house not more than 400 square feet in size. This is the same whether it is built on a permanent foundation or on wheels.
In terms of zoning, a tiny home can be built and placed anywhere that a single-family dwelling is allowed. Semi-trailers, camp trailers, recreational vehicles or manufactured housing however do not qualify.
Following the enactment of the law, there has been a surge in the number of enquiries, according to Jimmy Buzzell, a land use planner for the city of Lewiston. There has also been an attitude change among the locals.
Jonah Crowell was inspired by the HGTV series, ‘Tiny House, Big Living’ to build his own tiny home. He says that he has seen a big change in the way people react to his efforts.
“Before, whenever somebody asked what I’m building, I’d tell them and they kind of laughed at me,” Crowell told Central Maine news. “Like, ‘Oh, that’s a joke. That’s not a real home.’ But more recently, within the last month, I feel like it’s more like, “Oh, wow, you’re building one of those. That’s so cool!’ Now it’s more of a cool thing than something to make fun of.”
He plans to build at least 2 more tiny houses in coming years.
Those celebrating the new law include builders specializing in small spaces.
Corinne Watson, founder and CEO of Tiny Homes of Maine celebrated the law saying it will help ease the affordable housing crisis.
“For a while, we have really needed some alternative for affordable housing, and this is a very easy solution for that,” she said. “I think that having the last bill passed will help a lot of people and kind of speed it up. It may have taken some towns longer if they were responsible for doing it themselves. Other towns just took it upon themselves to work with people to allow tiny homes.”