Panhandle Town Lays Down New Rules for Tiny Homes

The city of Spur, the so-called Tiny Home Capital of America, passed stricter ordinances for tiny homes after a wave of newcomers began setting up tiny homes in this town of 1,200.

By Anna Casey & Laura RiceJune 15, 2016 10:57 am

The wide open space of West Texas has always had an allure, which might be why the panhandle town of Spur, Texas – 75 miles east of Lubbock – declared itself the “Tiny Home Capital of America.”

It seemed like a good idea at the time: TV shows and magazine articles covered the anti-McMansion movement of sorts. The do-it-yourself-style homes only have a few hundred square feet of living space and low carbon footprints. Besides, Spur had been losing residents for years so hitching its future to the tiny home movement could help turn things around.

But as some newcomers found out, to their surprise – and perhaps chagrin – being the tiny home capital doesn’t mean anything goes.

John Schmidt, recently hired by the town to make sure that certain standards are followed, grew up in Spur. He says the town had about 3,500 people when he graduated high school in 1962, but now the town is around 1,200.

“We’ve got about five permanent residents that have moved in that built tiny homes in the last two months,” he says. “It’s really paid off as far as the city, because we have people paying taxes.”

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– The city ordinance that they revamped that requires the homes to be on a foundation and set up city sewer service

– Why one shed made the city change its housing codes

– How the media attention to Spur’s tiny homes has changed things for Schmidt