By TIMOTHY JOHNSON NEW YORK (AP) Tiny house builder and owner Timothy Johnson has just three months left to build his dream home on a plot of land near the border of Georgia and North Carolina.
But it’s about to take another big step toward its goal of becoming a reality, thanks to a state Supreme Court ruling that allows homeowners to build on public land without the need for permits.
The state’s Supreme Court has ruled that building on public lands is legal if it’s done in a way that does not impede public access or interfere with the safety of any of the people who live or work there.
It also said the city of Jacksonville, which is home to a number of public land sites and is a long way from the border, had failed to prove that the small home would pose an imminent threat to anyone, including police officers.
“I think the court was just so open-minded and they saw the possibility for a whole lot of people to build,” Johnson, 37, said Thursday.
Johnson has built a tiny house on land owned by the city.
He says his decision to move into a tiny home is more than a hobby.
It’s a way of life.
“We’re building a house for the future and the future is going to be big,” he said.
The city of New Smyrna Beach has a plan to turn the city’s land into public land, and Johnson said his small home is part of that plan.
“It’s about time people are building on their own land, which in some ways is the opposite of the way the land is used,” Johnson said.
New Smyrana Beach is among several communities across the state that have sought to make small homes legal.
The city’s attorney, Brian Cates, said his office will fight the decision in court.
“The city is not planning to pursue any appeal at this time,” Cates said.
“This is about the city and what they’re doing, not us,” he added.
Newark, N.J., has a tiny housing program that allows families to live in their homes for up to two years.
In January, the city created a plan for families to stay in their tiny houses for two years, with a second year of rental subsidies available to them.
New Smyrsays plan allows for a smaller house to be sold as a vacation home.
“If we are going to make this a place that people can afford to live, then we have to make sure that we’re creating a better environment,” Cate said.
Cates said the tiny home program, and the city, is also looking at the idea of allowing people to use their homes as shelters.
“The city would like to see some sort of temporary shelter for people who have a shelter in the city,” he told the AP.
Cats office said it was too soon to say whether the city would pursue a similar program.
The mayor did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
New York City has had a tiny homes program since 2005.
The first one was built in New York City’s Greenwich Village in 2002, and in 2012, the second one opened in Brooklyn.
The program has since grown, with 1,200 units in 18 boroughs, and has been the subject of court battles.
The tiny homes are a niche market, said Jennifer Stott, a New York-based developer who works with small home builders and owns a small studio apartment building in Manhattan.
“There are no other types of housing in the market,” she said.
A small house in a small spaceThe tiny home industry has boomed since 2010, when the first tiny house came on the market in New Orleans.
It became popular after a New Orleans developer named Kevin Stearns started renting out his space for small home owners.
In the last three years, the number of tiny homes in New England has doubled, according to New England Housing Information.
About 30 percent of the city-owned land in New Hampshire has been used for tiny houses.
That number is expected to double by 2025, said Tom Smith, director of the New Hampshire Tiny Home Association.
In New Hampshire, tiny house builders can sell them for up in the hundreds of dollars, he said, with the proceeds going to nonprofits that help homeless people.
“You’re not making money from them, and you’re not getting them in a market that you think would be the best place for them,” Smith said.
Stott said it’s not that tiny houses are not a popular option in New Jersey.
She said tiny houses in New Brunswick and New Hampshire are popular in both rural and urban areas.
“They’re not just for the homeless,” Stott said.
“They’re for anyone who needs help and they’re for those people who are at the margins of society.”
New Jersey is the only state in the nation that doesn’t allow tiny houses to be built on public parks, she said, because that’s an area where tiny houses aren’t a good