County passes tiny home regulations
Published 12:44 pm Friday, January 27, 2023
BY ROBERT SORRELL
Carter County commissioners recently passed regulations regarding the tiny home craze that has swept the nation in recent years.
The commission met Jan. 17 and passed a zoning resolution that defined a legal tiny home in Carter County.
Planning Director Chris Schuettler told commissioners that due to the popularity of tiny homes in recent years, particularly through television programs on the subject, officials have been working to develop tiny home standards for the county. The Carter County Regional Planning Commission studied the tiny homes proposal on Nov. 22, 2022 and recommended that the County Commission amend the zoning resolution.
A tiny home is a single-family dwelling that is not less than 200 square feet nor more than 400 square feet, according to the resolution. The structure must be either site built or prefabricated and permanently anchored to a foundation.
In addition, the structure must have permanent utility connections, including a Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation approved sewage system, which is necessary for all residences. It must also meet current International Residential Code and current National Electrical Code standards.
A tiny home in Carter County cannot be placed in an R-1 low density residential district, the resolution states.
A tiny home cannot be movable or constructed on a wheeled chassis. It also cannot be a manufactured home, recreational vehicle, shipping container, trailer, tiny house on wheels or another similar object, according to the resolution.
Tennessee does not have statewide tiny home regulations, but it does not permit sheds or other yard buildings to be converted into tiny homes. Schuettler noted that yard buildings cannot be used as tiny homes in Carter County due to safety issues. The state fire marshal considers these types of structures to be fire hazards.
Structures can be grandfathered in, but Schuettler said a storage building or something similar cannot be converted into a living space.
A yard building or shed is considered a “ready removable” in Tennessee. State law makes it illegal to use a “ready removable” as a tiny home.
The state created a safety inspection program for tiny homes in 2021. It’s similar to the state modular home inspection program.
Carter County is one of just a few in Tennessee to pass regulations regarding tiny homes. Others with regulations include the cities of Knoxville and Nashville. Those cities also adopted regulations from the International Residential Code standards.