Couple make big changes to live in a tiny house

In this April 2016 file photo, David and Shayla Bowler show off the interior of their tiny house on wheels located in Grand Junction, Colo. The Bowlers are participating in a trend sweeping the nation called minimalism.

Trying to get ahead of the national tiny-house trend, Pima County has released new permitting regulations for homes under 400 square feet.

For zoning, such homes with a permanent foundation will be allowed in any area where single-family dwellings are currently allowed. Those built on a chassis with suspension and axles removed “will be treated as factory-built buildings” and those with a mobile chassis will be treated as trailers, both of which have more restrictive zoning requirements, according to a summary of the policy on the county’s website.

Recognizing the unique scale of the homes, the county will also “waive certain building code minimum standards,” such as minimum dwelling, room, ceiling and window dimensions and stairway requirements for loft areas. In part, those requirements are designed to ease escape from homes and the entrance of rescue personnel during emergencies and reduce accidents like falls.

“As these homes are tiny, they provide quicker exiting and occupants are more aware of the physical configuration of the space thereby alleviating fall and means of egress risks,” the summary reads.

Read about the changes at

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As more University of Arizona students leave surrounding neighborhoods and move into the towers around campus, vacant homes in the area have increased steadily. In some neighborhoods the percentage of homes that are owner-occupied is less than 10 percent.

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