Tiny House Petition

bus

Brittany Le Tendre contacted me yesterday to tell me about a problem they are having as tiny house dwellers on their own private land. I will let Brittany tell you all about it.

My name is Brittany LeTendre, my profession involves protecting the land and natural resources. I’ve lived in Steamboat Springs for about 6 years now with my boyfriend Dalton Reed who was born and raised in the county. Dalton has built up a reputation over his 30 years of life in Routt County as “the guy who can fix and repair anything” and save it from the landfill.

We were actively looking for property in the community that was affordable and would allow us to create an off the grid organic hobby farm and we were fortunate enough to find a 5 acre parcel zoned “Agricultural Forestry” in Routt County. We bought this land knowing it is an “unbuildable lot” due to it being under 35 acres. Dalton and I had done our research before we bought this property knowing that things were going to be done a little differently. We asked Routt County planning director, Chad Phillips if we could have goats and chickens on the property and he confirmed that we can and that we can build a structure for these animals. Agricultural Forestry is a very open ended zoning in Routt County and allows many “uses by right”.

The zoning states that you are allowed to camp on any property zoned AF with no time limit as well as build structures that are related to an agriculture application. Routt County camping definition: The use of temporary living accommodations such as tents, teepees, yurts, motorhomes, and trailers.

Before we purchased this property we bought a 1964 International school bus that had already been converted into a motorhome in hopes of using it as a simple and unobtrusive way to enjoy our property.

On our property we have, a beautiful garden with potatoes, onions, and rhubard growing (use by right), chickens (use by right), a motorhome (which is stated as a use by right) and we plan on getting goats for milk and cheese . Our farm is completely off the grid. We are using solar panels (use by right), we’re hauling water, we’re using a composting toilet, and we’re hoping to build a wind generator (use by right). We’ve been abiding completely by the County’s standards.

One week after we drove the bus onto the property, Routt County sent us a letter in the mail. Therefore we called them and invited them to do a site visit so that they could see that we weren’t doing anything wrong. They visited and within a few hours they called us and informed us that we were in violation of the county regulations. They said that our motorhome needed to be moved everytime that we were not staying in it. They then proceeded to say that if we leave the motorhome on our property that it’s considered motor vehicle storage. We have other places to keep the motorhome in town, but this is where we will be using it – therefore, why would we need to remove it. They also stated that camping is “what any normal person would define as camping”.

I know that we’re not all real estate lawyers and county planning directors, but Routt County is asserting non-applicable regulations even though we’re in compliance. If the County’s intentions are now different from what is outlined in the purchase agreement, then who is at fault? We are simply trying to enjoy our new property under the terms of the purchase agreement.

I’ve started the petition “Routt County Planning Department: Stop the Routt to Elitism: Ask Routt County, Colorado to stop harassing Dalton Reed and other Pine Springs property owners” and need your help to get it off the ground.

Will you take 30 seconds to sign it right now? Here’s the link:

http://www.change.org/petitions/routt-county-planning-department-stop-the-routt-to-elitism-ask-routt-county-colorado-to-stop-harassing-dalton-reed-and-other-pine-springs-property-owners

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Marsha Cowan - July 1, 2014 Reply

Just some quick food for thought…even here in my state, if you drive away from the campground or RV park or land in which you have parked your motorhome and stay gone overnight, you are no longer considered camping, and may have to pay a fine for abandonment of your motor home. Perhaps if you took the wheels off your bus, and parked it like a mobile home, you would be in compliance of the law even when you were not on site over night. I am signing the petition, but before presenting it and stirring up feelings of defense against you and your endeavor in your country department, go down there and ask how you can make the motor home legally parked even when you are not on site. Just a thought…

    Pam Bennett - July 1, 2014 Reply

    good idea

    Annette - July 3, 2014 Reply

    Thing is its is 35 acres zoned AG/FOrestry…so you’re not supposed to have a structure on it unless it’s for agricultural purposes.

Devon M. Dougall - July 1, 2014 Reply

Signed! Be aware folks, the more you vote for either established party anymore, the more you are voting away any rights you currently still have. Ban the UN and their Agenda 21!

Sylvie - July 1, 2014 Reply

Leave these people alone. They have obviously made every attempt to comply with regulations regarding the land they are using. It is becoming apparent that Rhout County has taken exception to their lifestyle and is attempting to stop them in any way they can. If the laws state that you can camp there with no time limit, then these people are within the law. Stop harassing them!

joy - July 1, 2014 Reply

Full support ~ petition signed.

Marsha Cowan - July 1, 2014 Reply

Went back and read the petition. I am no lawyer, but the definition of the word “camp” will probably be the deciding factor. Once you leave the site and spend the night somewhere else, you are not camping by definition in most states. How do I know this? I am trying to get a tiny house RV park here in my town and running into lots of definitions for anything that moves, stops, stays, or turns around. The difference between temporary use and permanent use makes all the difference in how my county (and probably others) decides what can stay and what has to go. Not sure if I can sign this petition the way it is worded. Also still feel that you need to go to the county office and ask how to make your motor home legal when you are not on site. The premise sounds like they are trying to prevent a permanent living structure on the land because it does not perk, but will allow temporary camping. You are trying to get a permeant structure on the land which does sound like it goes against the codes for that land use. Sorry, can’t sign.

    David C. Burdick - July 1, 2014 Reply

    Mrs. Cowan:
    I thoroughly agree the term “camping” is the ‘nucleus’ to the argument.

    Dusty Reed - July 1, 2014 Reply

    As the concerned party’s brother I will admit to having bias, but I might also be able to provide more detail to what is said in the petition. First, this definitely does revolve around the definition of the word camping. Many people in the Routt County area confuse the forest service definition of camping (no more than 14 days) with the planning commission definition of camping which is staying in an impermanent structure that is on a platform that is no more than three feet high and can be moved. The county does not have any time requirements on camping and only says that the structure must be self contained. Under county law you can build a structure without a building permit as long as it is under 10×12 feet and movable ie. on skids. Part of the reason that Dalton decided to opt for the house truck is that as long as he keeps the vehicle running and able to move under county law it is not a permanent structure. What the county is now trying to say is that they can only count it as camping when they are on property and that any other time it is motor vehicle storage. Even with that argument though it is listed in the county code that motor vehicle storage is permitted on agricultural industrial zoned land. All of this boils down to the county trying to find laws to restrict the use of this property but not having and precedent to stand on.

      Marsha Cowan - July 3, 2014 Reply

      Thanks! That does clear the air a lot. If vehicle storage is permitted on the land, then you just have to deal with the issue that the bus is not just a vehicle, but is being used as the temporary structure which has to be camped in, and then it sounds like it has to be removed from the land when you are not camping there. In other words, the bus can not fill two roles. I am not trying to be negative here, just to show you that, again, definition of use is everything.

Kathy Sarachinsky - July 1, 2014 Reply

This is America any more. It has gone MAD. Everything is twisted . I am so sorry for this harassment that they are putting you through. This government seems to be proclaiming war on it’s good citizens.

Martin Rayala - July 1, 2014 Reply

From your description it is clear what your petition should actually address – the land you are living on is zoned as “an “unbuildable lot” due to it being under 35 acres”. This ordinance is saying that you must buy at least 35 acres if you want to live there. These ordinances were popular all across the country as an attempt to “save” beautiful areas from being over built. It seems that, in spirit, you want to enjoy the beauty of this environment just like the more wealthy folks and feel justified in this because you are better stewards of the land. In effect, the legal dispute you have is that people should be allowed to build on 5 acres of privately controlled land rather than 35. How far are you able to go with changing that ordinance? Should people be able to build on 1/2 an acre right next to you?
The New Urbanism Movement had a different take on solving this problem – cluster your dwellings closer together to preserve the largest expanses of land for communal enjoyment. Rather than spreading out on 5 or 35 acres per individual homeowner, with roads and other amenities cutting up the beauty of the land, preserve the land for everyone to enjoy and develop community gardens, with joint composting, and a farmer’s market and other amenities within walking distance of each other.
I suspect you are not in disagreement with the intent of the ordinance – I have a beautiful piece of land that I want to enjoy and keep others from having access to and spoiling it for me. You are only disagreeing on whether all that beautiful land should be carved up into 5 acre or 35 acre parcels.
What if you created a nature conservancy instead, preserved the land in perpetuity, and lived sustainably together. Data shows that cities are more environmentally sustainable than rural or suburban living.

    David C. Burdick - July 1, 2014 Reply

    “…nature conservancy…” <= Good idea!

    jipsi - July 2, 2014 Reply

    Couldn’t have said it better – and more kindly – myself!

    Although I respect and encourage people to go for their dreams, the old ‘due diligence’ must be undertaken, especially when it concerns a subject most of us tiny-house appreciators/dwellers can already understand as ‘the nature of the beast’…
    Not saying ‘you can’t fight City Hall’, either. Just saying their IS a good reason for certain land codes, where National Parks and preserved lands are concerned, and when one person sets a precedent ‘around’ the laws/codes, it’s a sure bet others will follow, and not as carefully and thoughtfully as the first.
    Imagine what could happen if properties of 5 acres COULD be ‘built up’ and lived on! Most of us here understand how important land conservancy of our country’s few and precious forests/prairies is, but few would think of themselves as being party to hurting it.

    But once others see someone has found a way ‘around’ those laws designed to keep the pristine wilderness intact and virgin, everyone and their hillbilly, junk-lovin’ uncle will hit the lands and, horror of horrors, every type of ‘home on wheels’ will appear, with portable satellite dishes, aboveground water tanks, outdoor ‘living rooms’ (and the resulting blow-around trash) and WalMart resin gazebos attending, spaced every few hundred feet or so along a once beautiful, unbroken nature drive.

    Others are pointing out the ‘camping’ definition thing – I’m more concerned that they have even CHOSEN to buy land preserve/govt park property in the first place. There are all kinds of places a few miles outside of smaller country towns that they could have purchased for their use AND enjoyed full-time residential living from the get-go, am I right?

    It just seems to me they made everything so much harder for themselves at the ONSET, the choice of their property location…
    I do wish them luck…

    PS: Why ARE they not camping on the property ALL THE TIME? I thought that was the whole premise, to LIVE there while getting around the ‘unbuildable lot’ thing… That they put a ‘home’ on the property (which is not a home by their own admission: it is made to be a camper) and then leave it there, while they go to live elsewhere/in town, does not make sense to me… The problem would be SOLVED if they simply DROVE the bus-home into town to be with them, parked wherever else it is they are staying. I mean, they HAVE land, and they have a way to stay on it while actively working their garden, etc. Because their bus-home is ‘moveable’, they HAVE their way to live wherever they park it, on or off the land. The only problem I see is that they are being told they cannot PARK and LEAVE the bus-home there… outside of a trailer park or storage facility, this is true in most places ANYWAY! I think the ‘vehicle storage’ thing would apply were the bus to BE a BUS (or tractor, or truck, etc.), but it’s a ‘home’ of sorts, and creates all kinds of legal definition much-a-roo for everyone involved… Like I said, I don’t understand why they are not simply ‘camping’ full-time on their land in the bus-home (which SHOULD alleviate the problems, as I see it)… The story never does tell us readers WHY the couple are ‘living somewhere else’ and AWAY from their land/bus-home, so I really am baffled as to why so much trouble has had to arise of what should’ve been much simpler…
    No bad feelings intended, I LOVE everything they’re about, just wondering why things aren’t going ‘as planned’ for them… unless they planned to live somewhere else, just wanted to park the bus-home on unbuildable land and create problems for themselves…?

Susan - July 1, 2014 Reply

I think they were pretty clear on no permanent dwellings and no permanent structures unrelated to AF. That your dwelling is mobile doesn’t exempt it if you are in essence permanently parking on your property. A “mobile home park” has dwellings that can be moved, but the intent is that they are parked somewhat permanently complete with hookups. Camping is camping as long as it is temporary. You really need to find another spot for your way cool made over bus. It’s not legal to use it to “reside” on your property which is what it becomes if you permanently camp there.

jane - July 1, 2014 Reply

signed x
ask a lawyer for an hour of their time to read and comment on the above statement as well as the specific statement of charge by the county you will have also requested.. you may find you do not have a battle to fight.

    Adam Y. - July 2, 2014 Reply

    I completely agree. As this is described in the above letter, it seems to be an interpretation of a law.

    Getting a lawyer for a short time will, most likely, be the most thorough way to clear this up.

Fred Heap - July 1, 2014 Reply

The whole negative comments are coming from neighbor who is hiding from you through the county. Try and find out who the neighbor is and let everybody know if he won’t stop. Also try and find other property owners who are in “violations” of the so called laws and get their help. You are the new “kids on the block”. You have to meet enough people to find out that you are “good people.” Then everything will work for you. You are being tested.

    David C. Burdick - July 1, 2014 Reply

    A disgruntled neighbor is not necessarily involved since Miss Le Tendre and Dalton “had done [there] research before [they] bought this property.” It seems they voluntarily might have contacted the Routt County planning dept. early in the game. Requires clarification.

Elle Bry - July 1, 2014 Reply

I owned a campground in my other life and there legally is a difference between even leaving a unit here for the season (rest of the time must be empty) and a year round residence. Among other things such as a difference in taxes is that a ‘camper’ cannot send children to school, collect welfare and so forth.

In short, there are differences. Look up camping restrictions, there may or may not be an allowance in your area. It doesn’t sound like they are going to let this pass as it opens the door to others doing the same. Here, the local county pays the hefty portion of welfare if low income people apply for it and it takes their limited funds away quickly.

teresa - July 1, 2014 Reply

Leave these people alone.Love what your doing. And hope to being doing the same thing soon. The land is always the problem.

Walt Burnham - July 1, 2014 Reply

This is simply harassment. These folks invested their hard earned time & money to build their dream and as any American that holds given property rights, they should be able to exercise the right to enjoy what they’ve paid for.
The action against them is a shameful thing & should be stopped immediately, and an apology is in order. Is this any way to treat neighbors?

    Marsha Cowan - July 1, 2014 Reply

    It seems that if this couple had told the county up front that their bus would be parked there permanently, that they would not always be in it every night and day, that the county could have told them right off the bat that they couldn’t do that. This is not a harassment issue, it is an issue of lack of communication on the part of the couple to state their intension of leaving the bus there permanently. I have worked with county officials in my state for over 20 years on various building and land projects. They are not looking for enemies; they are trying to do their jobs as best they can for the good of all the people, not just the few, and most of the time, if you just sit down with them and honestly tell them what you are planning, even if you can’t legally do it as planned, most will try to help you find a way to get it done. I am not going to sign a petition and fight with people unless I can sit down with those people first and see what is their side of the story. In 20 years, my county officials have never failed to find a way for me to do what I wanted legally with only a few minor changes. They are not always the bad guys.

    David Remus - July 4, 2014 Reply

    The rights you have as a property owner are outlined in the laws applying to the place you live. The rights you hold are codified, anyone can get a copy of the law and make sure they understand what rights they have and do not have.

Kristi Cadwell - July 1, 2014 Reply

It sounds as if Brittany and Dalton went beyond due diligence in making sure they were following
the restrictions and allowances on the property they purchased.

I would personally ask that Routt County take a different perspective on this situation. This is an opportunity for the county to encourage the young and the innovative. This is an opportunity to
engender good will.

I have personally been to that area of Colorado and it’s a wonderful place. It’s important in this time when things become more difficult for many, that an area establish a reputation for facilitating people rather than making things more difficult for them.

I would hope for a sense of agreement and encouragement to come between the parties involved, for that will bring mutual benefit and will speak well of Colorado.

Best wishes to all of you,

Kristi Cadwell
Author, inventor, evangelist

    Marsha Cowan - July 1, 2014 Reply

    It sounds more like they told the officials they would be camping when actually they were going to park a permanent living apparatus on the site which is not camping by any county definition in this country.

A. - July 1, 2014 Reply

Sounds like you might have a neighbor that doesn’t like the look of your camper. Ask your neighbors directly how they feel about it and if they’re willing to put it in writing. Adjoining neighbors voices carry a LOT of weight. Also ask the planning department to see these regulations they’re citing on paper. Are they real? Or something they’re creating out of thin air to please a neighbor? You might end up having to apply for a variance.

    David C. Burdick - July 1, 2014 Reply

    1. “Adjoining neighbors voices carry a LOT of weight.” <= Not so w/ regards to letting them stay at present. The law is the law. BUT, the "LOT of weight" would help in changing the law OR getting a variance (See item #4 below).
    2. "Also ask the planning department to see these regulations they’re citing on paper." <= ABSOLUTELY! The law(s) MUST be on the books of the gov't. in order to determine if a crime is committed. GET EVIDENCE IN WRITING!
    3. "Or something they’re creating out of thin air…" } ). Get the regulations!
    4. “…apply for a variance.” <= X-lent!! Doing this will force the situation to a hearing in front of the Routt County Commissioners.

Swabbie Robbie - July 1, 2014 Reply

I think you are going to have to abide by what the county is telling you. These laws are very hard to fight, but they can be complied to to the letter of the law as opposed to the intent of the law (which is probably meant to keep “you” out).

Use it to camp and move the RV off the land when not there. Of course that means you really can stay on it a huge amount of time as I assume you will be there most of the time. Find a place where you can store the RV for short periods of time – maybe a friend with some land where you can pay them a bit of money so you can occupy the RV while stored there. Note: “what any normal person would define as camping” would not mean they never leave their campsite. I would check to see if there are camp grounds in your county and if those RVs are required to move them off the grounds whenever the owners are not there. I bet they stay in place for the whole season even if the owners only come fro a couple weekends. Just keep in mind that a county has a lot of power and ability to harass and keep you occupied fighting nuisance infringements. You need to figure out if you are up for the hassles and expenses or if it is better to move to a better location.

You petition will only carry weight with the county if signed by county residents.

Zoning for agricultural forestry would mean growing timber for harvest. It would not include raising chickens and garden plots.

Your agreement with the purchase may be at odds with the zoning and the zoning will trump the purchase agreement. You may need to sell it or see if the former owner will take it back due to the invalid agreement.

Good luck, but make a plan B as well.

    David C. Burdick - July 1, 2014 Reply

    Good present time fix until you can sort thru things better…

    Marsha Cowan - July 1, 2014 Reply

    In the campgrounds in this area, campers are parked in a storage location on grounds when left there permanently, but not in the RV park where people camp. It goes back to what their county is saying about them using the land to store a vehicle which is not permitted.

Dale - July 1, 2014 Reply

Unfortunately the county is within their right. You have misinterpreted the statute, “The use of temporary living accommodations such as tents, teepees, yurts, motorhomes, and trailers.” The operative word in this statement is “TEMPORARY”.

    David C. Burdick - July 1, 2014 Reply

    Yeppur and “camping.”

    Marsha Cowan - July 1, 2014 Reply

    I agree with you, Dale. However, perhaps you could go to the county officials and ask to have the land rezoned to residential and build a tiny structure (or use the bus) if the following criteria are met: sanitation demands (grey water system in place, state approved composting toilet in place); electricity provided (totally solar); and water provided (dug well or contract to have water hauled to land). Those are the three contingencies on which zoning rests. Again, try to work with your officials, not against them before you pull out all the big guns, like petitions.

Lisa E. - July 1, 2014 Reply

It’s obvious to me that this is another case of “political prejudice”. You have conservatives in positions of local power and they perceive this couple as “hippies”. This is politically motivated abuse of power.

Government is supposed to facilitate people in having better lives, but Right-wing fanatics have gotten into the power structure in this country and rephrased government’s raison d’etre to allow small handfuls of politically motivated people to mete out their brand of justice and control. This is wrong and it needs to be stopped.

    David C. Burdick - July 1, 2014 Reply

    NO!! NO!! NO!! NO!! NO!! NO!! NO!! NO!! NO!! NO!! NO!!
    You’re way outta line…

      Marsha Cowan - July 1, 2014 Reply

      Totally agree with you, David. Yikes!

      Yojimbo - July 2, 2014 Reply

      Left winger here — Wouldn’t want the bus parked next to my beautiful house in the country!

      jipsi - July 2, 2014 Reply

      Agreed, David. We are (most of us) ADULTS these days, and more aware of the way things work: the government is NOT the ‘enemy’ by default. Maybe this was more dubious, decades ago, but I think a lot has changed, and for the better. As well, something all of us adults, especially adults who have been/are parents, we now understand how important it is to not only stand up for what we believe in, but the ‘right’ time and place to do so (for better effectiveness, AND the ‘choose your battles’ thing); most importantly, that we do and will make mistakes and can be ‘wrong’, as much as we hate to admit it. Yes, it’s important to follow ‘your own path’ but to do so in a way that will not cause CONFLICT with the order that is in place (not just for others’ benefit, but yours too!) or harm/upset others (again, those ‘already’ in place). And I don’t think any of us will EVER be ‘too old’ to learn new lessons, among them the one that tells us ‘if you go into a room looking for a fight (confrontation), that’s what you will get’.
      Life is simpler when we keep our eyes and minds open and try to work WITH the flow instead of against it (and that IS what most of us are all about, after all, isn’t it? Simplifying, downsizing, living sustainably and responsibly, etc.).
      The last thing we tiny house folk want or need is to cause trouble, or be viewed as ‘trouble’ – our desire to live ‘smaller’ is already a difficult enough goal as it is, with the city/land codes and restrictions, taxes, land lease agreements, etc etc. WITHOUT trying to lead a crusade to ‘change’ those obstacles, worse, to try to cleverly subvert them (the brief ‘payoff’ can, in fact, result in more harm than good).
      To the couple all this is about: I do hope you find a solution to your problems, something that will be beneficial to all involved, but I, too, will not be signing the petition, although I REALLY, REALLY WANTED TO, to support you both.
      However, although you both might be a wonderful, exemplary pair who maintain your home(s) in such a way that often causes others to stop and pat you on the back for how neat/pretty/creative/innovative/clean/etc you keep your place, you need to realize there could well be a DOZEN after you who will NOT live as conscientiously. Years later the ‘petition’ drive could well be you AND others trying to ‘clean up’ the resulting mess. I don’t know how else to say it, but that the laws in place there sound as though they took many, many decades (and instances of experience) to put in place, and I’ll wager my life on it that they might be difficult to work with, but ultimately are there FOR EVERYONE”S BEST INTERESTS.
      Good luck, and please share your progress… many of us are not where you are at, yet, in our tiny-house dreams, so must live, vicariously, through the experiences (good and not-so-good) of those, like you, further on the path…

Dale - July 1, 2014 Reply

Unfortunately, the county is within their right. You have misinterpreted the statute, “The use of temporary living accommodations such as tents, teepees, yurts, motorhomes, and trailers”. The operative word here is, “TEMPORARY”. You really don’t have a legal leg to stand on.

    goldsaver - July 1, 2014 Reply

    It is so sad that so many of our fellow humans, even in a site like this, are so willing to accept slavery if it comes in the guise of good government. If we are free men, why are we so willing to ask permission to live from those with guns and pieces of paper?

    As to this specific case. A petition does nothing since it represents no consequences to those who seek to enslave. By all means, ask to see the regulations. Ask why they think they are applicable to you. Then get a lawyer to contact them. Let them know they will have to go thru an expensive and public battle. If they persist, use their system against them. Find the names of those slavers. Sue their properties. Claim code violations, file liens, sue for harassment.

    Eventually it will become too costly to continue to harass you.

    Otherwise, sell the land and move away. Sorry. You either fight or loose.

      Marsha Cowan - July 1, 2014 Reply

      We are free because of the government we have, just ask all our soldiers who serve it.

        goldsaver - July 1, 2014 Reply

        Really? So you are free because 1% of the population gets to tell you what to do wether you agree or not and they use coercion, extortion and violence to enforce their will?

        I really hope I missed the sarcasm tag.

          Marsha Cowan - July 3, 2014 Reply

          That one per cent is voted into office, so I control things by the way I vote. Granted, voting outcomes can be tainted, but in all the world, there is still more freedom in America than any other country.

    David C. Burdick - July 1, 2014 Reply

    See my reply to you at July 1, 2014 at 9:22 am above.

Ruth Prock - July 1, 2014 Reply

I don’t think government should ever be allowed to govern outside of it’s own rules. I don’t think anyone who is doing no harm to others should be harassed by the government on their own property. I hope a Colorado Lawyer sees this and offers help. This is a problem for all of us, because it victimizes responsible taxpayers outside the law. Today it is them tomorrow it could be anyone. If it were me, I would be calling the Governor, my senators and congressional reps. I would call the national news media. I would be like a hornet until I got a cease and desist order against the county. What I would not do, is roll over.

    David C. Burdick - July 1, 2014 Reply

    1. Come up w/ an idea…, then
    2. If the idea is tied to the gov’t, then
    3. Check the law(s) THOROUGHLY – talk extensively to the gov’t getting answers to questions you don’t know to ask. Get EVERYTHING IN WRITING. I assure you it’ll save you later if gov’t intervenes.
    4. Perform your idea.

    If the law(s) don’t allow your idea(s), get’m changed…

Daniel - July 1, 2014 Reply

I signed it, but it might help the situation if the bus didn’t look like a hippie caravan. Even though it may be totally functional, it kinda looks like an eyesore.

    David C. Burdick - July 1, 2014 Reply

    Maybe not an issue w/ the gov’t but may be w/ getting positive input from neighbors if a variance is sought.

    Marsha Cowan - July 1, 2014 Reply

    Really? I thought it was cute and would love to see some pictures of the inside.

      A. - July 1, 2014 Reply

      Sorry, I think it’s kind of an eyesore, too. It may be artsy and funky, but I think most folks would not want this parked next to their estates. Personally, I have neighbors that are really nice people, but their yard is a mess. I love the people, but when it comes time to sell my house I know it will affect my ability to sell – or get my asking price. Do I put up a privacy fence? IDK.

    daniel - July 3, 2014 Reply

    i should add….even though I do think the van/rv thing is pretty ugg to look at, I do side with the hippies who own it. If they really did ask ahead of time about all the stuff in question, then I think it’s totally unfair for them to have to deal with this after they’ve already purchased the land. I’m wanting to buy land and build on it too (permanent structure) and I would want to do what I’d want to do too. Maybe they should talk to the head honchos and see if they can come to an agreement where they can keep the vehicle on site if they build a better looking enclosure around it. Sort of like a garage or good looking carport with a fence or something?

Wendy - July 1, 2014 Reply

I can see both sides of this issue. On one hand- that is a lovely area that if I’m not mistaken gets quite a bit of its income from tourism. So they have reason to want to keep things looking a certain way. On the other hand, it seems that this couple did their research and as it appeared to them, they were within the law doing what they are doing.
I don’t know of anyone who puts up a yurt for “temporary camping”. I think I would research the area and see if anyone is living in a yurt nearby- if so, then that would be your argument.
Do no other residents in the area own motorhomes for recreational purposes, and if so, do they store them on their property? Maybe a work-around would be to build a nice, traditional wooden barn and park the motorhome inside of that.
The other thing I would do is perhaps “store” the motorhome on the property, but build a really really nice “chicken coop” complete with running water, a kitchen area and a toilet of some kind.
I know that where I live people get around it by building “art studios” that are simply that when the inspectors come by (art studios generally require running water, and having a toilet in it is handy too), but in reality are where they live. This happens not only in rural areas, but in urban areas as well.
The final thought I have is to make sure your bus is parked where it can’t be seen by people driving by. It does sound to me like someone has taken offense to your lifestyle and is complaining because of that. I also know how insanely narrow-minded local governments can be to deal with, especially if you get some power-hungry idiot in charge of making decisions.
DON’T STOP FIGHTING! The longer you hang on, the better chance you have of winning.

Wendy - July 1, 2014 Reply

Just thought I’d add that there is a private camp ground where I live at the beach that has a lot of trailers. In order to not be considered a mobile home park, the owners have to take the trailers out one month a year. It’s a pain for the owners, but keeps them in compliance with local ordinances. So that might be a work-around for you, too. Simply taking your bus off the property and parking it elsewhere for a short time may be all you need to meet the “camping” requirement.
Please keep us posted!

Ani - July 1, 2014 Reply

Have you looked into homesteading laws in your area? Since the land was zoned as agricultural to begin with, you may be able to use homesteading/hobby farming regulations to your advantage. And, since your home is mobile, you have not built on the property. Since you own the property, you should be able to park on it at will.

Nancy - July 1, 2014 Reply

As soon as I read WHERE you live, that was a red flag for me. Having lived in Colorado, you’re living near a resort area which spells big bucks. Multi-million dollar homes. I agree with , “The use of temporary living accommodations such as tents, teepees, yurts, motorhomes, and trailers”. The operative word here is, “TEMPORARY”. I know there are lots of “camping cabins” outside my area of Boise that are limited to temporary use by design. No one lives there year round. I think it’s a zoning thing. I would talk to the county and ask what you can do to comply, and have a lawyer read the paperwork. I would have suggested that before you bought your land… Or build a cabin as a backup plan…

Paul - July 1, 2014 Reply

This is our tax dollars at work, deliberately dis-incentivizing country living & penalizing freedom. “Clustered dwellings with communal acerage” is urbanite serfdom. Anyone recommending, proposing or justifying urbanite serfdom has to be misled or a paid shill. Are we going to play with the governments rigged system (not in our favor) or empower ourselves? This is UN Agenda 21 at play, “Sustainable Development” for Orwellian control. These property owners are in their rights, they’re being bullied by priveledged minions being used until their own land is stolen. Will we let these legal parasites drive positive-intentioned landowners from their land at a loss so the Agenda 21 minions buy it for half price? They (Governments, Corporations, Lawyers, Banksters, Minions, Global Elites) do not control us, We Empower Them!

    David C. Burdick - July 1, 2014 Reply

    NO!! NO!! NO!! NO!! NO!! NO!! NO!! NO!! NO!! NO!! NO!! NO!!
    You’re outta line. Too broad.
    Impressions and personal attitudes don’t fly when confronted by gov’t officials w/ lawful backing.

    Yojimbo - July 2, 2014 Reply

    Oy.

David C. Burdick - July 1, 2014 Reply

Pls. keep me informed.

Indicated herein VERY FINE LINES of definition(s) & performance by the Routt County planning dept.

ABSOLUTELY MAKE SURE “Routt County planning director, Chad Phillips” COMMUNICATES IN WRITING. This case may go to litigation whereupon you’ll need the evidence for the court, and esp. your lawyer.

David C. Burdick - July 1, 2014 Reply

Overall, after thoroughly reading this post:
1. The term “camping” is the deciding factor;
2. IF you don’t like or the codes / laws are effecting a change upon you, THEN GET THEM CHANGED!! ALWAYS REMEMBER, ignorance or no knowledge of the law is not an excuse to break it.
3. Please people, READ the POST!

becky - July 1, 2014 Reply

Unfortunately, a petition will not help in your case what so ever. Legally, if a governing body makes a special case for you without good reason, they’re opening themselves up to get sued by someone they didn’t grant exception to. You need to stop rabble-rousing and start a personal conversation with the planning director and planning staff about what you want to do and what the land use and code regulations say you can do. Their job is to assist you if there’s any way to change what you’re doing in order to come into compliance. If not, your only option is to petition to amend the land use regulations, which would then apply to the entire county (so very unlikely). But before that, make sure your property doesn’t have a conservation easement on it. If it does, then it doesn’t matter what the land use code says. Check out your warrantee deed with the county records department to make sure development rights were not sold off sometime before you purchased the property.

    David C. Burdick - July 1, 2014 Reply

    X-LENT, Becky!!!!!
    AGAIN, get everything writing. Take COPIOUS NOTES!

    BTW, IF there’s a conversation, write what I call a ‘back-door letter.’ Write a summary of the conv. (using notes & memory) IMMEDIATELY AFTERWARD while the comm. is FRESH in your memory; end it w/ telling the other they have 48 business hours to reply otherwise the communication(s) stand true. Send it directly to whom you communicated w/ via e-mail & facsimile. It’s involved but that’s what the court can look at if litigation goes thru (Works for me in construction).

      Maire - July 2, 2014 Reply

      I don’t have this problem =but= I will not deal with city officials except by email. The one time I crossed swords with them, I wrote a summary of the conversation and emailed it to all parties. Wow! I was told that that was “unacceptable.” Wrong.

    Marsha Cowan - July 1, 2014 Reply

    Finally! Voices of reason! You and David have good advice. I hope this couple listens, and that other people in the future faced with buying land on which to live their “different” kind of lifestyle will also listen.

David C. Burdick - July 1, 2014 Reply

Brittany Le Tendre and boyfriend Dalton Reed:
Note my comments herein are based upon my knowledge AND the comments of others. I’ve gained insight by reading, but like I’ve said, when you talk w/ whomever, you will see the answers to the questions you didn’t know to ask accumulating; your knowledge base shall increase. Preferably ‘talk’ via writing but follow my STRONG SUGGESTION under “Becky” (July 1, 2014 at 9:49 am), send the ‘backdoor letters.’

et - July 1, 2014 Reply

How far do you have to move the bus? Would 5 ft forward be enough? Then in a certain amount of time you can move it back 5 ft.

» Tiny House PetitionTiny House Blog - July 1, 2014 Reply

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Ryan Wilkins - July 1, 2014 Reply

I, too, have a dream of building my mobile tiny and taking it to CO to live in the mountains, at least part time, and very much want to sign this petition, but I don’t feel that sending a petition with 1000 signatures on it is the right action at this point in time. There hasn’t been any mention of trying to get in front of the planning commission, or filing a variance and attending hearings. It seems like you have a reasonable shot at this based on what you report as being the existing laws. You’ve indicated that you’ve already had representatives from the county out to see your lot. If the person or persons attending wasn’t the planning committee then you might try reaching out to them to set up an in-person meeting to explain what it is that you intend to do. You might try addressing their concerns, such as how you’re dealing with sewage, water, and electric as other’s have mentioned. Ask what section(s) of the law they think you are breaking and ask that they show the section(s) to you and ask them to explain their position. Better yet, get it in writing so that if you need to get a lawyer involved you already have the sticking points documented. Document as much as you can. CYA. If you’ve filed a variance request, for the variance meeting ask to give a presentation on what you want to do and how it will help the community and the environment and highlight how their approval will help the county. Most people want to do the right thing but some people are stuck behind some serious issues so hope you don’t get one of those folks, otherwise a longer fight is in order. You might even follow up the variance meeting with a written letter thanking them for their time and summarizing your plan and how it helps solve current problems and how it helps the county. Respect and professionalism go a long way many times. Good luck! Keep up posted!

CountyPlanner - July 1, 2014 Reply

I am a planner. I’d say the County is hinging their argument on temporary vs permanent living accommodations. If the property is your primary living address, the County is likely to consider it “permanent”. A petition won’t help you but a land use attorney might. Best of luck.

frank - July 1, 2014 Reply

I find it hard to believe that the county has the time and resources to have a person spying on you to make sure you are in your bus or not. what really erks me is that we all know that these laws were never really ment to insure your safety or protect the environment ,only to find a way to suck more money out of you and force you to live beyond your means like most of us are. if they were they would all ready have offered a solution or offered to meet you to solve the problem. it sounds like some one is going to have to interpret the word camping and a few other words to that we all think we know the meanings to.may be you should see if growing weed on your property gives you any typ of shelter from these laws? just a thought.

Bob - July 2, 2014 Reply

County says you can camp there, but you are trying to abuse the law into living there and want to know what the problem is?

tinyhousetom - July 2, 2014 Reply

If this goes to court the judge will rule based on what a “reasonable person” will consider camping.

Camping implies temporary and none primary residence.

The “it is my land and I can do what I want” arguement is a none starter.

Yojimbo - July 2, 2014 Reply

A dissenting voice here. The law seems designed to prevent property owners from leaving RV-style vehicles on the property while the owners are absent from that property. I’d support this law, and the value that it’s intended to protect. I’d expect that most of the neighbors would support the law, as well as its application, very enthusiastically.

The owners ought to remove the bus from the property when they’re leaving. Doesn’t seem an unreasonable expectation.

Lewis - July 2, 2014 Reply

Obviously you were trying to get away with skirting the law and you got caught. Now you are trying to beat the system by whining on the internet. Pathetic.

    jipsi - July 2, 2014 Reply

    Lewis, we’re all trying to be HELPFUL here in our responses to this story, most acknowledging the couple may have made some mistakes but with constructive criticism and some remarks based on personal and/or professional experiences (in this way, we try to help the couple AND anyone else here who might be in (or expecting to be later) similar planning stages.
    Since this is a tiny house (online) COMMUNITY, we all respect and appreciate each others’ contributions, both the good and the bad. Clearly, this couple WAS sincere in asking for others’ help and advice. It’s also clear they expect some ‘bad news’, but they don’t deserve to be ridiculed or called names, do they? ;-(
    .

Kati Gorecki - July 2, 2014 Reply

Would a yurt on a platform be in compliance?

PradaDota - July 2, 2014 Reply

While I support the spirit of what you are trying to do, I cannot in good conscious support the way you are going about it. It you really didn’t know that this would not be something allowable in this area then why didn’t you tell any of the many people you spoke to that you were planning to park an old dilapidated bus on the property and spend a lot of time living in it on the property? I am guessing the reason is that you knew they would tell you it would not be an allowable thing to do. You are destroying everything the small house movement is by going about things this way. If this movement is going to get off the ground we can’t run around like sneak thieves and then start national petitions against government agencies making them instantly all of our enemies. We need to find a way to change the codes BEFORE we buy land and set houses up so that everybody involved knows exactly what we are planning to do and signs off beforehand. We need to get allies in the planning, building, and assessment offices. We need to show local officials that we are regular people that want to live in well kept small houses where the only difference between our circumstance and someone else’s is square footage. Living in an ugly old bus on land that doesn’t allow you to live in an ugly old bus and starting a fight with the county in the name of the small house community is not doing anybody any favors.

Linda Tascheteau - July 2, 2014 Reply

Did homesteading off the Grid ,, not easy ! All luck & power to you & your patener 🙂

Linda Taschereau - July 2, 2014 Reply

First comment had typo , name Taschereau

Rod - July 2, 2014 Reply

Could you not build a bunkhouse or nice goat barn or chicken coop that has living quarters in it to ‘camp’ in?? Couldn’t they all be considered ‘structures that are related to an agriculture application’????

Stacy - July 2, 2014 Reply

Maybe more people need to grow a sack and start standing up for their GOD GIVEN RIGHTS! I understand the need for some regulation, but it is getting ridiculous in this country. When we going to finally draw line?

    Marsha Cowan - July 3, 2014 Reply

    I have a 4 year Bible degree and am just finishing up another degree this summer, and have read the Bible cover to cover many times. God does not promise us land on this earth (only the Israelites of the Old Testament, and then not in America). However, Apostle Paul does state in the book of Romans that we (Christians) are to submit to the government authority that is over us. One reason that the followers of jesus fell away from him in the end was because he had no plans to lead them in a rebellion against the Roman faction over them. So I think it is safe to say that to God, land ownership is not his priority with us.

Henry - July 3, 2014 Reply

There seems to be two streams of thought in these responses. One is the practical: what the law permits and plans of action on how to deal with it. The other thought stream, which I address here, is the ideal of freedom and shows how our personal definitions of freedom differ greatly. Some people believe that how a neighbor’s property looks should be subject to the views of neighbors/community. Others believe that the aesthetics of one’s property that do not pose a safety hazard to adjoining property, should not be subject to the opinions and control of the community. When laws concern aesthetics and not safety, they will almost certainly be imposed by higher economic classes in order to keep the “riff raff” out of their neighborhoods. These laws generally preserve or even expand freedom for those of means, and restrict the freedom of those without or with lesser means. Case in point: a commenter wrote that if she built a house on 35 acres in pristine environment, a neighbor should not be allowed to destroy her pristine environment by inhabiting adjoining land with aesthetic standards that she finds unpleasant. Of course, building a house in a pristine environment means that the environment is no longer pristine. However, it may be pristine enough for you–a personal aesthetic. If someone doesn’t have the means to purchase 35 acres, but can purchase one acre and put in place a meager residence that suit her own personnel aesthetic, why shouldn’t she have that right? If you want to preserve the pristine environment, prohibit all land use. If you want to live on private land and preserve your own aesthetic preferences, buy enough land so that you don’t have to look at your neighbor’s freedom (35 acres should be more than enough for that). If you can’t buy that much land, either construct a privacy screen (natural or artificial) or mind your own business–like most good neighbors have done throughout history. This is not a left-right issue it is a more-freedom vs. less-freedom dispute. Happy Independence Day to all, regardless of the level of freedom to which you aspire.

MacKenzie - July 3, 2014 Reply

What gets me most about this isn’t so much that it’s the local government just trying to justify their interference, and for who knows what reason… but even more striking to me is the commenters who defend the local government’s position on the basis of the specific wording of codes (which seems to still be no defense at all), having semantic arguments about people’s lives and the land they tend to. Since when does defining the word “camping” have to be involved in making these kinds of decisions. It’s local government, even if they have 30+ acres apiece, these people are neighbors! What are they even arguing about? If the definition of a word is all, that’s easy… we control what words mean, they have no meaning outside of our usage. Just make a decision with heart and soul, and the words will conform to your will. If there’s something else at the center of this debate, then they should talk about whatever that is, rather than talking around redefining a word to suit the People and the Earth… ok and the Future for crissake. If we keep appealing to words as if they aren’t our servants, and pale imitations of meaning at that, then we just delay growing better than that.
The ethical decision is one that benefits the People, the Earth, and the Future. If the local government isn’t willing to make the ethical decision, then what are they doing? Upholding the law? The law isn’t an ethical set of rules, it is a social agreement to keep the peace and build strong communities, and it seems more and more that we have forgotten what the law’s purpose is in blindly following the letters that were written by dead men, dead men with inflated egos.

dewhit - July 3, 2014 Reply

There are always two sides to every story.

One side or perspective of the story is presented here.

The other half of the story is unknown at this point to readers here.

I would say that a online petition is a misplaced strategy at this point and adds nothing convincing to change an involved parties consideration.
Petitions need to be used to garner the support of people in the immediate community that know the parties involved and the properties and are willing to make their name brought forward in a manner that can be verified with addresses and contact information. That type of petition with verifiable individuals info shows the petitioners resolve and belief by other s around them.

Unknown persons signing a petition from the internet is just a list of words that represent an unknown. The unknown has no effect on the known in these type circumstances.

Sandra Napier - July 3, 2014 Reply

I wish you luck with your struggle to follow your dream. I have only 1 question:

Are you having mail delivered to you at that location? If you are perhaps that may be part of the unseen problem. I would get a PO Box for my mail and use a relative (if possible) for living address.

Very best wishes,
Sandra

Mary Randolph - July 3, 2014 Reply

It seems to me that you are trying to have it both ways: you want to run an organic farm on land zoned Agricultural Forestry while living permanently on it in a converted school bus that you define as “camping” to get around the zoning regulations that prohibit residential development.

One solution, which others here have suggested, would be for you to use the bus to commute to the land from a legal residence elsewhere. Your idea of adding farm animals that should be tended around the clock would made this inappropriate, but for now, that seems reasonable.

I agree with others here that the vehicle you have repurposed as a tiny home is quite unattractive and may even foul the air with untreated fuel emissions when it’s being driven. While these possibilities might or might not be actionable by law, they may be factors in the blowback you are getting from local government, especially if neighboring landowners, unbeknownst to you, have voiced objections to how you are using the land.

In any event, it appears you have inadvertently drawn the county’s attention to some holes in its zoning ordinances. If you had chosen to set aside your sense of entitlement to continue working with them until a solution could be found, you might have be able to fill those holes with revisions that will benefit you. Instead, this internet-based petition, I fear, will turn the blowback you’ve already experienced into a killer windstorm. If possible, you might want to keep the petition’s results to yourself. They might warm your hearts, but I cannot see how they will help you turn adversaries into champions down at the planning office.

Mary Randolph - July 3, 2014 Reply

ps: The Routt County zoning regulations are easy to find online.

http://www.co.routt.co.us/index.aspx?NID=194

David Remus - July 3, 2014 Reply

It sounds like if they had simply gone to the local authorities they knew were going to be responsible for enforcing the laws governing the land BEFORE they purchased it, and outlined HONESTLY everything they wanted to do with the land, all this trouble could have been avoided. They may find they have purchased unsuitable land for their dreams. Too bad, going to smaller homes, organic farming, and getting off grid in a green manner is the future I hope we embrace.

King Hammurabai (died circa 1750 BC) had business, land use, and building codes written and posted where everyone could see them. He tried to eliminate ignorance of the law and save everyone time in the courts. Regulations and law are as old as civilization itself, by definition.

For better or worse, having rules is what defines a civilized society and exhaustive research can save time and money.

Great looking bus, they can often be a strong solid platform for a rolling home and safer for carrying such a load than an RV.

Kristina - July 3, 2014 Reply

Just park it! When u leave to go out drive it! Simple

David Remus - July 4, 2014 Reply

One quart of motor oil can pollute up to a quarter million gallons of water. People parking vehicles that drip oil, transmission fluid, and coolant into the groundwater can make the water not only smell bad, affect your health, and kill wildlife, the slightest bit of these products in your ‘organic’ food would render the farm useless.

These adventurers want to park an old vehicle on land right where they want to grow decent food. People that feel they have the ‘freedom’ to do with their land whatever they want, like some posters here, often are the same people that feel they have the ‘freedom’ to use whatever chemicals they want without any regulations from the gov’t. They would ruin the land for future generations persuing their ‘freedom’.

This is just one reason that most places don’t just let people park a vehicle on a piece of land that is even somewhat wild. And also it’s a reason why we can’t just ‘do our thing’ on land with shared groundwater.

Where I live here in California farmers used to spray PCB based poisons in the 1950’s until the 1970’s with chemicals that really improved their bottom line. It was known for a long time the danger the chemicals containing that and other compounds but of course they just kept using it to make a larger profuit. Now those farmers have sold their land to developers, taking no personal responsibility AT ALL for ruining the groundwater for future generations of Americans, and the city keeps closing wells as the toxic plumes spread because it is economically unfeasable to clean up the water.

    sc - July 4, 2014 Reply

    @DAVID REMUS
    Thanks for that information, DR. It appears that these folks really didnt do their homework and nor did they be completely honest with what they were going to do. Sometimes not telling the authorities works out okay, this time, it didnt work out. I dont think i will be signing. I just hope the couple dont do anything rash in retaliation. (i dont think they will).
    I hope they can work something out that doesnt cost them too much.

      Paul - July 5, 2014 Reply

      I see that the owner of the bus reposted a clarification on the bus home. I have to agree with SC’s posting. Unless the couple can guarantee that the engine block won’t drip oil, such a structure is a toxic spill waiting to happen. My wife & I bought aundeveloped lot in the North Bruce Peninsula (2h NW of Owen Sound [Ontario, Canada]). I was also sorely tempted to sneak an RV on the site and use it as a tiny house. The risk of Watershed contamination is too great. Option: remove the engine block from their bus hut & associated powertrain?

    Henry - July 5, 2014 Reply

    Certainly fossil fuels, lubricants and other chemicals used in the internal combustion engine are hazardous to our environment. Vehicles of all ages, even brand new, can leak these substances. Often leaks only occur when the engine is running and the oil or coolant is under pressure and forced out through faulty seals and gaskets, or during mechanical failures or accidents. Also, spills occur during maintenance of engines in regular use. I suspect that others in the area have cars, trucks, chainsaws, lawnmowers, off-road vehicles, etc. These all pose the hazard to our environment that you identified. If engine leakage is the concern, then the community should target ordinances to address it in a fair, equitable and reasonable manner. Using this rationale as a basis to ban only vehicles parked for extended periods is not a just, or even effective solution. While you may know of communities that use this rationale, I seriously doubt that it is the true motivation for such an ordinance. If it is, I hope such ordinances are challenged, overturned, and replaced with more effective and fair ordinances that truly protect the environment.

Dalton Reed - July 4, 2014 Reply

Hi
I am Dalton, Brittany and l live in the bus in question. I wanted to say a few things to clear up any confusion.

Routt county’s definition of camping is as follows
Camping: The use of temporary LIVING accommodations such as tents, tepees, yurts, and recreation vehicles such as motor homes or trailers.

We did extensive research both on our own and at the planning department before I bought the property and before I drove the bus to the property. The conclusion that we came to as well as what we was told by staff planners was that what I was planning on doing is Legal.

One neighbor made a complaint a few days after I brought the bus to the lot. He owns the lot at the end of the road and the only place he can see the bus in full view is when the road crosses my lot. In fact, unless you are flying above my lot, you cannot see anything but the roof of my bus from anywhere except my lot. Even then it is hard to spot unless you know where to look. The county sent someone up to inspect my lot on Monday and they then called me a few hours after and told me that I was in violation. They said that having the bus there when it is not occupied is motor vehicle storage.

Motor vehicle storage is not permitted on AF zoned land, or any other land in the county except industrial zoned properties. That is why motor vehicle storage is listed as an industrial use in the county zoning regulations. If an unoccupied motor home is an industrial use than there are hundreds of others in violation throughout the county.

The road to my property has been in place since the 1930’s and has rarely if ever been improved or maintained. The last two miles are a rough high clearance four wheel drive road that is impassable when wet. We spent countless hours doing road work, mostly by hand, and had to wait until a dry stretch of weather to get the bus to where it sits. So the prospect of having to move it on a regular basis is not something I look forward to and should not be necessary.

The purpose of this petition is to gain support, both locally and nationally, and present it to the planing commission during their meeting next Thursday. I plan to explain that my bus, which is a registered motor home, as well as a “tiny house”, is a viable form of residence. Having no need for external hookups and being entirely self contained means that the definition of temporary is fulfilled because when it is removed there is no lasting evidence of its existence. If I can get Routt county to recognize tiny houses as a legitimate place of residence for me and others it will be a huge benefit for the community and for the “tiny house” movement in general

    rp - August 6, 2014 Reply

    Here is the crux – “Temporary” – if you permanently leave the bus there you are not temporary.

    I don’t blame the gov’t for their enforcement and I don’t believe you are helping anyone, anywhere. You tried to skirt the law, you got caught. Own up and correct yourself.

      GW - January 4, 2015 Reply

      “Temporary” is something that can be moved if needed, it doesn’t mean it must be moved daily. These people did not try to skirt any laws, they were completely honest and even invited inspections. They have nothing to “own up to”

Dalton Reed - July 4, 2014 Reply

I am currently doing remodel work to the bus. When we bought the bus, it had water damage under the shingles, so we decided after 30 years as a house bus, it needed a face lift. We have purchased beautiful new windows and cedar shingles and have been in the process of residing it. The interior has been almost completely stripped and will be the next step after the exterior is finished. We will gladly post pictures when it’s a little further along, which should be fairly soon.

Dalton & Brittany

deb c. - July 6, 2014 Reply

The problem, as I see it, is that the local government is mad that you beat them at the game. They want to control how everyone lives & what they do. Even if you follow the rules, the local gov’t or the locals will harass you until you play the game the way they want it played. My sister had much the same problem & even though she did thorough research before using her property, she gave up because she could no longer take the harassment from the neighbors. I wish you much luck & hope that you can STAND for the duration. We are Americans & have rights & freedoms that are outlined in the Constitution. It seem that the local gov’t is being subjective & limiting your movements to what they deem appropriate.

    TerriW - August 27, 2014 Reply

    If you read the way it’s written, it DOES say “temporary”. The way the bus is left there when they aren’t there DOES constitute vehicle storage. Sorry.

    Now, this is not the case all over Colorado. I own 5 acres in Costilla county and have had zero problems. We have had a pull behind camper there for over a year now and we leave our RV there over the summer since we have large family gatherings there. Reading and understanding the regulations is the key.

Marcene - July 10, 2014 Reply

Hmm. Just playing the hair-splitter, here. What is their definition of “move,” how far and how often? What could they say if you created a second pad with a different view and simply “moved” it back and forth between the two (say, weekly or monthly)? Besides, “stored” vehicles are not regularly relocated &/or inhabited. Ever. Besides, even a “mobile home” has wheels but they are not considered “stored” when someone goes to work.

Ryan - July 11, 2014 Reply

I’d be prepared. You say there are hundreds of other people in violation? Go find them. Take pictures, write down addresses. Then when you have to meet about the issue explain that all these other people are in violation as well and see if they’re willing to piss that many people off. It’d be pretty funny if anybody that worked for the county/city was in violation themselves wouldn’t it? Do a little investigating.

Shiela - July 18, 2014 Reply

Build a two story barn. The bottom for the animals and the top for grain/hay and a small living space that could be used while you are at the property taking care of your farm. The bus could be left in town.

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