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Tue September 19, 2017 - National Edition
Maine's Technical Building and Standards Board attended a public hearing Sept. 18, in an effort to put guidelines in place for tiny home construction.
Tiny homes have become popular in the past few years for those who are looking for a more affordable, environmentally friendly and simpler lifestyle, WABI 5 reported. The homes are usually between 100 and 400 sq. ft.
"People that are younger are moving out of the state or moving to places where they can afford it, not necessarily because they want to but because they have to. So tiny houses allows that affordable housing to happen," said Alan Plummer of the American Tiny House Association.
Maine is one of only a few states that are looking into organizing appropriate building codes to ensure safety in the construction of the tiny homes.
“Basically the building code requires certain square footages to meet minimum requirements in the code. Tiny homes are smaller than that. So, this basically gives the code enforcement officer the tools to build them safely," said Richard McCarthy, assistant state fire marshal.
State Rep. Seth Berry decided to forego the normal process of submitting legislation to update the codes in favor of simply asking regulators about the changes, WABI 5 reported.
"I'm very interested in the next steps that we might take and this is not necessarily in your wheelhouse, but I think clearly the issue of tiny homes raises some interesting questions about septic, and plumbing, gray water, and composting toilets are often a part of those systems," said Rep. Berry (D), Bowdoinham.
The board will accept public comments until Sept. 28 and said it will be up to individual towns to choose whether or not to allow tiny houses in their area.
"The next step is zoning. That's where most people misunderstand that there's going to be tiny homes popping up everywhere. It's still is up to the town to zone for that size structure," said McCarthy.
The board should have a decision by sometime in November.
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