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Old 05-05-2016, 11:36 AM   #15
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Certainly an idea that comes up for discussion every few months on the forum and each time the conclusion is....viability is totally down to the municipality you chose not the feasibility of doing it.

In our case we even have a plans drawn up, and pricing for a single pent roof park home based sized and based on utilizing our MH bed room. But so far we haven't found a location which hasn't already been 'zoned' to include a specified build size/functionality. Loads of lots available if you want to build your own McMansion!

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Old 05-05-2016, 11:50 AM   #16
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Hi We plan on doing the same thing. Probably out in the country close to where I grew up. Building for Airstream etc. Spending winters in Southwest and summers in Minnesota. Great idea!
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:51 AM   #17
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We researching RV parks to store my AS, I found several that had these small "buildings" attached to a large garage. The fancier ones has a full bathroom, Washer/Dryer and kitchen, but most did not have a bedroom. It was a tiny building attached to a very large garage specifically designed to store RVs.

My wife and I considered this and we almost bought one, but it was a bit too far away for us. Nothing like that near "civilization".
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Old 05-05-2016, 12:30 PM   #18
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I am seeing more and more that there are many others that have thought of the same idea (and some of the executed plans are gorgeous!).

Seems like a living situation like this is almost impossible due to zoning. I can only imagine that the same is true in my city... Seems like similar plans that were executed successfully were done in a very remote location... I'd love to have the best of both worlds-- minimal home in the inner-city, with an easy getaway to camping/a natural destination on the weekends.

I'll do a little more digging into local laws, but I'm not going to kill myself doing it. Seems like this dead horse has been beaten enough.
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Old 05-05-2016, 12:35 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by mousouchop View Post
So, I've been toying with the idea of ways to legitimize an AS purchase, while facing the fact that I don't even have a mortgage/own a home. Then I started thinking, why can't an AS be both (aside from the obvious: trailers depreciate, and homes *typically* don't)? This also speaks to my minimalist nature.

I have a (retired) friend that currently lives in a fifth-wheel in a community trailer/camping park in Florida for 6 months of the year, and works/stays at a campsite in NY for the other 6. I can't do that, and am confined to WNY as my home base/place of work. So, how could I make an AS be a full-time home in the blizzarding wintery months? I'm thinking a custom built "house" could be the answer.

The house would basically be:
First "Floor"
- Garage for AS, with water/sewer/electric hook-ups; heated
- Glass garage doors at each end to allow for full view from the AS wraparound windows; also provides backyard yard access in the summer, and a hell of a cross breeze
- Windows/glass bricks on either side wall for maximum light and privacy
- Storage/utility closets/extra fridge/etc

Second Floor
- Living room
- Full guest bath
- Guest Room (maybe)
- Roof top patio with gardens

The trailer would function as a kitchen and bedroom 365 days a year, and the second floor would allow for more living/entertainment space when "home." This allows for least "waste"; not duplicating belongings between house and AS (bed, appliances, etc). I imagine backing into the driveway on any Friday afternoon, hitching up, and hauling off on a new adventure, winter or otherwise.

I am thinking zoning, and building codes would prohibit this from ever being a reality. Especially inner-city where I live. That a shame, since there's actually an 30 x 110ft empty lot in my neighborhood that I think would be perfect for the project!

Am I overthinking things? Or does anyone else think this might be a viable living situation?
Your over thinking things. Just buy an Airstream & go from there.
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Old 05-05-2016, 12:46 PM   #20
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Another style of community are the fly in hanger/home. Streets are wide enough to get to the runway, and a home is built into the hanger for full time residents. The HOA fees may be high to support the flyers, but you may get to live there with an RV.
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Old 05-05-2016, 01:20 PM   #21
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Your over thinking things. Just buy an Airstream & go from there.
Hah. I don't disagree with you. I overthink most things...

I think overall, what I really need to prioritize is building equity (stop renting, and buy a home) before I "invest" in a depreciable asset like an AS. Although I am really excited by the new Nest announcement... Only so many dollars in a paycheck though.

One benefit of starting this thread: seeing those awesome RV port homes. Beautiful, and very close (better) than what I was dreaming up. That will have to be a retirement goal, or something. Middle-age goal? hah
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Old 05-05-2016, 01:31 PM   #22
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Don't give up too quickly...

Your mention of "the inner city where I live" caught my attention.

The key to working out zoning in the "inner city" is to find what we call "down zoning" - or a zoning designation that allows the trailer storage. In many areas where I work (Among other things we develop infill live/work neighborhoods within existing cities) that would be some type of industrial or warehouse zoning. We then have found that, once you have an area that will accept the AS, adding the residential component (your house above/beside and/or living in the trailer) can be negotiated since residential uses are usually less restricted in those "down zoned" areas.

Where the problem typically lies is folks try to shoehorn "warehousing/industrial uses" (Our AS's) in residentially zoned areas.

You may want to check the underlying zoning in that vacant lot and consult a local draftsman/architect/builder with experience in your area?

You're not wrong - just early. Mixed use is the future of inner cities. Good luck - we're pulling for you!
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Old 05-05-2016, 03:13 PM   #23
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I'll offer my $0.02 worth. I was a licensed building contractor until I retired. I've worked with building codes all of my career. I have designed and built several residential structures. I worked in several eastern US states.

I have considered doing the same thing, living in my trailer inside a garage. It is possible. But western NY does not seem, to me, to be the best location to live in an Airstream all winter.

The most important issues would be with the safety of the mechanical systems of the trailer. The garage on the lower level of a residential structure would have to be open, not enclosed, if you plan to live inside the trailer inside of the garage. The reason: if the trailer was enclosed inside of a downstairs garage there would be issues with the exhaust of the propane furnace and water heater(carbon monoxide poisoning). The second issue is that the toilet vents would be venting into an enclosed space (methane odor and flammability issues).

When a residential garage is built attached to a residence, whether enclosed or not, at least a 1 hour rated fire wall/ceiling has to separate the garage from the living space. That is the minimum building code everywhere, though some jurisdictions may have more stringent requirements.

If you build in a development or zoning area that has a restrictive covenant or law that designates certain types of buildings you may or may not be able to build exactly what you want.

I can't imagine building this type of structure on a 30' wide residential lot. I'm assuming you would build property line to property line.
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Old 05-05-2016, 03:17 PM   #24
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I would just tell zoning that the trailer will be parked in an inside storage facility under your home....




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Old 05-05-2016, 03:25 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mousouchop View Post
Hah. I don't disagree with you. I overthink most things...

I think overall, what I really need to prioritize is building equity (stop renting, and buy a home) before I "invest" in a depreciable asset like an AS. Although I am really excited by the new Nest announcement... Only so many dollars in a paycheck though.

One benefit of starting this thread: seeing those awesome RV port homes. Beautiful, and very close (better) than what I was dreaming up. That will have to be a retirement goal, or something. Middle-age goal? hah
Some folks think RV'ing means dragging a 'home away from home' around the country with them.

Others want to follow the mountaineering base-camp approach of only taking what you need up the mountain, and returning to somewhere nearby and accessible to stock and regroup.

The modular home approach means you take what you need with you, but still have the benefit of access to more space when you need it.
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Old 05-05-2016, 03:57 PM   #26
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The most important issues would be with the safety of the mechanical systems of the trailer. The garage on the lower level of a residential structure would have to be open, not enclosed, if you plan to live inside the trailer inside of the garage. The reason: if the trailer was enclosed inside of a downstairs garage there would be issues with the exhaust of the propane furnace and water heater(carbon monoxide poisoning). The second issue is that the toilet vents would be venting into an enclosed space (methane odor and flammability issues).

When a residential garage is built attached to a residence, whether enclosed or not, at least a 1 hour rated fire wall/ceiling has to separate the garage from the living space. That is the minimum building code everywhere, though some jurisdictions may have more stringent requirements.

If you build in a development or zoning area that has a restrictive covenant or law that designates certain types of buildings you may or may not be able to build exactly what you want.

I can't imagine building this type of structure on a 30' wide residential lot. I'm assuming you would build property line to property line.
Thank you for your valuable input! I definitely thought of ventilation... An enclosed/insulated garage would be necessary in WNY winters-- therefore, I had assumed that some sort of ventilation would need to be in place. But, seeing your post, I can't imagine that just ventilation would suffice; it would probably have to be as you stated, an open garage as per code-- which would not be doable(livable).

As for structure width-- yeah, I assumed there needs to be SOME clearance on the sides of the building (mandated by code?). I thought something might be managed in a 20' or 25' wide structure (most newer AS are only 8' wide after all)... Now that I'm backing off this specific idea (due to comments in this thread), I am wondering 1) what the min distance from property line a building can be, and 2) what the max lot development percentage would be on a 30 x 100' lot. These are things I will look into in seeing if this lot is at least a viable candidate for a "tiny home" type situation. The AS will likely not be in the equation (not even as a storage location unfortunately).
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Old 05-05-2016, 04:02 PM   #27
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Some folks think RV'ing means dragging a 'home away from home' around the country with them.

Others want to follow the mountaineering base-camp approach of only taking what you need up the mountain, and returning to somewhere nearby and accessible to stock and regroup.

The modular home approach means you take what you need with you, but still have the benefit of access to more space when you need it.
I am certainly a fan of the "take only what you need" approach... but it all better be at my campsite; I'm not down with the base-camp approach (usually). I was trying to convince my boyfriend last week at an RV show, that a 16' $44k AS made more sense than a 30'+ $75k 4-slide fifth-wheel... He is not as minimalist as me, clearly. I have since turned my aspirations towards a Flying Cloud 19 (as a strictly travel-only trailer), mainly for the dry bath. The trailer I would try to pair with the modular home idea of this thread, would likely be a 23-25' model...
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Old 05-05-2016, 06:08 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mousouchop View Post
Thank you for your valuable input! I definitely thought of ventilation... An enclosed/insulated garage would be necessary in WNY winters-- therefore, I had assumed that some sort of ventilation would need to be in place. But, seeing your post, I can't imagine that just ventilation would suffice; it would probably have to be as you stated, an open garage as per code-- which would not be doable(livable).

As for structure width-- yeah, I assumed there needs to be SOME clearance on the sides of the building (mandated by code?). I thought something might be managed in a 20' or 25' wide structure (most newer AS are only 8' wide after all)... Now that I'm backing off this specific idea (due to comments in this thread), I am wondering 1) what the min distance from property line a building can be, and 2) what the max lot development percentage would be on a 30 x 100' lot. These are things I will look into in seeing if this lot is at least a viable candidate for a "tiny home" type situation. The AS will likely not be in the equation (not even as a storage location unfortunately).
The required distance from the property line to the building edge is generally called a set back distance. This distance will vary by zoning. In downtown commercial districts the setback distance can be "0" where buildings are separated by non combustible walls. Generally it can range from 8' to 14' on the sides in residential areas (to allow for firefighters space to do their jobs). Front and rear I have seen as low as 8' and as much as 30'.
There are exceptions everywhere, so the only way to know for sure is to ask your local building inspector.
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