By Zaira Perez
Denton Record Chronicle
May 26, 2020
Residents of a unique community in Lake Dallas have quarantined from the rest of the world during the COVID-19 pandemic — but not from each other.
The Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village is home to 12 — soon to be 13 — families, each in their own small houses up to 340 square feet big on about an acre of land. Couples and families moved in with the hopes of finally living in their dream homes while also forming a tight-knit community.
“Even living in an apartment, you rarely see your neighbor,” resident Luis Chavez said. “You don’t even know their name. … And here, it’s like, everybody knows each other. Everybody says hi, good morning.”
The tiny home movement encourages living a simpler life in a smaller space, according to Tiny Home Builders. People “go tiny” to be more sustainable, decrease home maintenance, be more mobile and save money.
The Lake Dallas tiny homes are nestled in a neighborhood near Lake Dallas City Hall. A sign outside the fence advises passersby not to trespass. Trees provide natural shade, while the kids run around and the adults catch up. A camp-style sign inside points residents to the laundry, garden, trash, fire pit, recycling and the backyard.
Saturday afternoon, Marek and Ko Bush were preparing to grill food, Janessa Hook was walking her dog Tracker, and other residents were chatting in chairs set up in between their houses. This is a typical day in the village.
Stay-at-home orders encouraged gathering only among the residents. Morning coffee outside and movie days with a feature film projected onto a wall were normal occurrences. As residents have experienced financial hardships and are limiting their time outside the village, Rick Schon said stay-at-home orders accelerated the bonds they already had.
“During quarantine, we’ve been quarantined within here,” Micah Eady said. “We’ve had more frequent cookouts and movie nights. Those have become kind of an every-weekend thing since the quarantine.”
When they do go out, Chavez said they take precautions and also text each other if they’re at grocery stores to pick up necessities for others to help limit exposure. Hook said they’ve also had groceries delivered.
“I usually change before I even come in the house [from work] to minimize the exposure to our partners and everybody else here,” Chavez said.
Chavez and Eady are both essential workers, and Eady works in health care.
“There’s a sanitation process when I come home,” Eady said. “I come home, and nothing from work enters.”
Some residents such as the Bushes and Rani Chavez were furloughed, and school closures led to the children in the community being home all day splitting their time between home school and play.
“We were both furloughed from our jobs, so we’ve been [home] pretty much the entire time,” Marek Bush said about his and his wife Ko’s situation. “We’ve been taking to some of our other hobbies to keep busy.”
One of these hobbies includes uploading to their shared YouTube channel, Living Tiny with the Bushes.
“Having such a tight-knit community has been really helpful in keeping our sanity,” Katilin Scraub said. “I can’t imagine if we were still living in our own house.”
Residents of the Lake Dallas TIny Home Village stand together for a portrait. Photo by Jeff Woo/DRC
February 27, 2020
By Clark Fouraker - NBC
With real estate prices rising and wages failing to keep pace, more people simply can’t afford rents or mortgages. That is especially true for Millennials, who often join the workforce burdened by more outstanding student loan debt than earlier generations, according to a Pew Research study.
That problem inspired the development of the country’s first tiny home neighborhood in the North Texas suburb of Lake Dallas.
More communities have since joined the trend, with tiny homes also being used to help people facing homelessness in cities including Seattle, Detroit and Austin.
So if tiny homes do so much good, why aren’t they everywhere? The roadblocks include zoning, permitting and also public perception.This is a long form text area designed for your content that you can fill up with as many words as your heart desires. You can write articles, long mission statements, company policies, executive profiles, company awards/distinctions, office locations, shareholder reports, whitepapers, media mentions and other pieces of content that don’t fit into a shorter, more succinct space.
We talked to the Lake Dallas crazies fitting their lives inside 300 or 400 (meticulously executed) square feet.
By Rebecca Lee Moody
When the tiny house movement started rolling some five years ago, who’d have thought the idea of living in something the size of a large walk-in closet would take off? But, as it happens, going small has become so big that there are tiny house-themed TV shows and festivals. For owners of tiny houses on wheels, home is where you park it, and they can be found on farms, in corners of private properties, and in rural tiny house communities.
Those were the only options until Terry Lantrip got involved. The Lake Dallas real estate developer had a unique vision a couple of years ago that landed him in the spotlight of the national movement: a village exclusively for movable tiny houses, located in an urban area. Lantrip set about creating the Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village, and, after a three-year ride from concept to completion, the country’s first tiny house community to be built within city limits opened in October.
Lantrip saw his first tiny house at the State Fair of Texas in 2014. “I thought it was the cutest thing ever,” he says. “The following year, at Earth Day in Dallas, there were nine of them, and the lines were so long I didn’t even get to go inside any. But I saw how popular they are. When I proposed the idea of an urban village to the Lake Dallas City Council in 2016, they liked it. They thought it’d help revitalize downtown.”
Along with their interest, the Council also had some concerns with the Aubrey, Texas, native’s novel proposal. “They wanted to see a list of community rules, as well as to regulate it so as to ensure its long-term success,” he says. “We all had to learn what we were doing, since it wasn’t something anyone had ever dealt with. It took about a year to get the green light.” Then another to prepare the property with utility connections, landscaping, and the establishment of individual spaces for the village’s 13 houses to come.
Located two blocks off Main Street, down leafy Gotcher Avenue, a bright white picket fence marks the spot where a collection of little homes shares a shady 1-acre lot with pecan trees; green picnic tables; the Washateria; and a ring of red, white, and blue metal chairs surrounding a fire pit.
Lantrip is pleased with how positively the village has been received. “People really think the houses are cute and a good addition to the community,” he says. “It’s making a huge impact. Churches and businesses have been doing gift packages to welcome the residents.”
One person’s closet truly is another’s castle. Lantrip says his Lake Dallas tenants “are a cohesive group, all of whom have the same mindset. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Photo by Jonathan Zizzo
"We want this to look not like an RV park. We want it to look like home. A nice place to call home."
October 18, 2019
By Kevin Reece
WFAA - ABC - Dallas
LAKE DALLAS, Texas — Terry Lantrip made a deal with the granddaughter of a Denton County farmer -- if he bought the final 3.5 acres on Gotcher Avenue between Main Street and E. Hundley Drive, he had to keep the towering pecan trees, a turn of the century farm house and a sense of home in place.
Lantrip is doing just that, except with a little more "tiny" sense of home than most people are used to.
"I didn't realize this would be such a big deal. It was just a good use of the property," Lantrip said.
Over the past three years, he's worked to turn the final acre of that property in to the Lake Dallas Tiny Home VIllage.
Five of the 13 plots are already occupied, a total of 11 are spoken for and the final two are still available.
Lantrip owns the property. The residents own their homes and lease their spots for $500 to $550 a month. Homes ranging in size from 100 to 400 square feet are hooked up to city facilities with resident access to a washateria and a future community center.
"We want this to look not like an RV park. We want it to look like home. A nice place to call home," said Lantrip.
The residents include Ko and Marek Bush who moved their 200 square foot home to Lake Dallas in just the last month. They promote their tiny house and low-debt lifestyle on YouTube, including their move to Lake Dallas.
Other residents include families with children. Teachers are also among some of the first residents in search of a minimal, low-cost lifestyle.
"And they want to travel they don't want to be bogged down with a house," Lantrip said.
"I am liking it more every day," said Lake Dallas mayor Michael Barnhart who admits he was skeptical of the idea at first, worried about the quality of the homes and the development.
But now he's a convert, pleased by the families who have decided to call the Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village....home.
So does he want one now?
"No," he laughed. "But believe it or not my chief of police is interested in doing it. He says he would do it in a heartbeat if he was single but he's just having a hard time getting his wife convinced."
"The problem with tiny homes is that there are people that want to live in tiny homes but there's just not many places to put them, especially in cities," Lantrip said.
Now on a corner of what used to be a Denton County farm, those towering pecan trees will eventually shade the tiny homes of 13 families. You can tour the final two vacancies this Sunday at 10 a.m. if you're interested.
"And I have a feeling those will go pretty quick, once the word gets out," Lantrip said.
And then, after recovering from the three-year effort, he says he'll start looking for the next site to a build a tiny home village all over again.
October 17, 2019
By John Egan
The first residents of a tiny-home development in Lake Dallas have moved in, and more tiny-house projects could be on the horizon across Dallas-Fort Worth.
Earlier this month, residents occupied five homes at the 13-lot Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village, developer Terry Lantrip says. More move-ins are on tap, but a couple of lots do remain available.
“We have other small developers and tiny-home enthusiasts who want to build their own tiny-home villages that have asked for help, since we’ve been successful with this village,” Lantrip tells CultureMap.
Lantrip says he’s working with one developer who wants to build two tiny-house villages in the DFW area. He declines to identify where those developments are being contemplated.
The Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village is billed as the first project of its kind to be located in a downtown district in the U.S. It’s within walking distance of parks, restaurants, two schools, and a library.
Each lot at the Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village rents for $500 to $550 a month, including access to a “washateria,” and hookups for water and sewer service. One lot accommodates a resident-owned tiny home ranging from 100 to 400 square feet — no bigger than a modest hotel suite. Lot leases are renewed every 12 months. Tiny homes must be on wheels but be tied down and have fire-resistant skirting installed.
The median price of a tiny home in the U.S. is close to $60,000.
Lantrip says the village is one of the most challenging projects he’s ever undertaken. Initial work on the village started three years ago.
“There was a lot of learning about tiny homes and the tiny-home lifestyle, and there was a lot of teaching, especially city staff, the contractors and tradesmen. Most of those we worked with on this project hadn’t even seen a tiny home in person,” he says.
Officials from one DFW suburb already have stopped by the Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village on a fact-finding trip, as they’re considering a tiny-home village in their city, Lantrip says. He declines to name that community.
Lantrip envisions officials from other cities visiting the village and realizing that with proper planning and strict guidelines, “there’s really nothing to fear” about tiny-home developments.
“I’m sure other cities are watching to see if a tiny-home village will work in their city,” he says. “A tiny-home village would work really well in a city or an area of a city that needs something to help spur development.”
“Our business community has been very receptive because they know this will bring in more residents who will be customers,” Lantrip adds, “and it will also bring in people who just want to drive by and see a real tiny-home village.”
Nearly 7,800 people live in Lake Dallas, which sits along Lewisville Lake. The Denton County suburb is about 30 miles northwest of Dallas.
Tiny-home enthusiasts throughout North Texas helped make the Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village a reality, Lantrip says. For instance, some tiny-home boosters attended public meetings in Lake Dallas where Lantrip’s project was discussed, while others assisted with planning, property development, and landscaping.
“It takes a village to build a village,” he says, “and it couldn’t have been more true with this project.”
Photo rendition by Lewis Gonzales
Feb. 28, 2019
By Andrea Ridout
Tiny houses in DFW are hitting the big time.
A new enclave has broken ground on the northwest side of Lewisville Lake and it’s making national news.
The Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village, speculated to be the first development of its kind in the country, is located within the town of Lake Dallas, a community of nearly 8,000, about 10 miles southeast of Denton.
The project is being developed by Terry Lantrip, who’s spearheaded many other iconic projects in the community, along with the help of Beth Ann “B.A.” Norrgard, a Garland-based tiny house owner and nationally known tiny house advocate.
“My dream of a tiny house community is finally coming true!" Norrgard said in an email invite to the groundbreaking. "Words cannot describe my glee.”
Future residents, friends and the Lake Dallas Mayor and City Council members gathered on a chilly morning earlier this month to drive golden shovels into the frozen earth in a symbolic launch to what will soon be a bustling neighborhood of thirteen homes, busy families and a variety of shared amenities.
“Today is a really big day!” she said choking up with emotion. “The spotlight on us is national and international.”
For Norrgard, a former paralegal who traded her Tudor home near Lakewood in Dallas for a tiny house in 2014, this village is the culmination of years of encouraging local cities to accept tiny house communities. Her own tiny home has been exhibited at the State Fair of Texas, Earth Day Texas and numerous other events across the country. She has been one of the most outspoken proponents of the lifestyle and has helped to bring tiny house living into the mainstream.
DOWN ON MAIN STREET
According to Norrgard, what makes the Lake Dallas village unique is that it’s located within city limits. And all homes, in addition to being moveable, must be built to International Residential Code Appendix Q, a guideline of safety standards for features such as loft ladders and emergency exits.
Developer Lantrip acknowledged that the journey from concept to completion has not been without its challenges. He has some advice for other tiny house trailblazers.
“Developers need to know they're probably going to fight an uphill battle since most cities don't understand tiny homes and they aren't able to think outside the box.”
But Lantrip also notes that the upside of such districts is that they inject vitality into an area.
“There's substantial value to these pocket communities because they bring so much attention to the city. Other developers, restaurant folks and other business people want to be where things are happening and where the action is.”
Just as shovels were prepared to turn the first mounds of soil, Lantrip addressed the crowd and expressed that the village is a work in progress.
"We’re going to create an environment where trial and error are OK.”
Then he shared that the one-acre plot that the village will occupy was originally part of a large farm with a rich history.
The family who owned the land had been seeking a use for it so that the towering ancient pecan trees and the 1910 Victorian farmhouse would be preserved. Lantrip and Norrgard’s vision honors the farm’s history as it embraces the future. Even the farmhouse will eventually become a clubhouse of sorts for the village as it will include a workout room, meeting zone and a communal kitchen/dining area that can serve for gatherings and parties.
Lake Dallas Mayor Michael Barnhart was complimentary of the development as well as the tiny house movement in general.
“I’m for it,” Barnhart said. “They’re bringing in a great concept.”
His hope is that the residents will become part of the extended community in Lake Dallas.
Mayor Pro-Tem Andi Nolan, was also on board.
“I’m a fan of minimalist living,” she expressed. “This is not just a bunch of hippies.”
MEET THE NEIGHBORS
When one mentions tiny houses, many people visualize bearded millennials with their scrap-built homes wedged into inner-city plots or perhaps communities far from major urban areas.
The Lake Dallas future homeowners seemed to reflect a cross-section of Texans including middle-aged singles, young couples and a few families with children.
Josh and Jaynelle Borski and their two youngsters will be moving from their 2,200-square-foot home in Keller to a tiny house that is barely larger than their current garage. Their commitment reflected a mindset that renounces modern-day excesses.
“It just makes sense,” Josh commented.
Recently-married Kristan and Robert Stucky described their future plans.
“We are excited about living in a tiny house because it’s an adventure that we can do together,” said Kristen with a smile.
Residents will begin moving their homes to the site in late April or early May, depending on weather and other factors. Each tiny home will incur rent starting at around $500 per month that includes future access to the vintage clubhouse plus a free washateria, spacious shaded back yard and community garden. Water, sewer and trash service will also be included in the rent. Each home will have its own electric meter and will be billed separately.
Homes will average from 200-400 square feet with yards of approximately 800-900 square feet each, plenty of room for a small private garden and lawn. Twelve of the thirteen plots have been claimed as of this article’s publishing.
Lake Dallas itself is that rare combination of small-town feel but still within the shadow of big city life. The Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village is located at 206 Gotcher Avenue, a short walking distance from the community’s historic downtown area with restaurants, shopping, parks with playgrounds, schools and even a town library. The shores of Lewisville Lake are less than a mile away and a pleasant bike ride.
Lantrip, who has been in Lake Dallas for 34 years and formerly owned the town newspaper, mused,
“The people who will be moving into the Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village are intelligent, caring and will be a great asset to the city of Lake Dallas. They’re a really good group of people who want to live a more simple life but a more fulfilled life not tied down to a large home. I expect they're going to be huge contributors to our community in serving on boards, attending community events and contributing to our restaurants, shops and other businesses.”
Photo by Andrea Ridout
February 10, 2019
By Zaira Perez
Denton Record Chronicle
LAKE DALLAS — The acre of land in a neighborhood near Lake Dallas City Hall was just grass, dirt and pecan trees, but soon it will be filled with tiny homes for more than a dozen North Texas residents.
After two years of advocacy and planning, Lake Dallas City Council members, and supporters and future residents of the new tiny home village gathered around a campfire Saturday morning for a groundbreaking ceremony for the Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village.
The village at 206 Gotcher Ave. will be the first tiny-home community in the nation within city limits, land developer Terry Lantrip said in an email.
The village will be ready by April for tenants to move in.
“It’s a unique concept, so I can understand why [people were] apprehensive,” Lantrip said. “[I want to] set the precedence for future tiny home villages where people can see that they shouldn’t have a fear of having a tiny village in their town.”
The 2018 International Residential Code defines tiny homes as “a dwelling that is 400 square feet or less in floor area excluding lofts.”
The Lake Dallas community will house 13 lots that residents will be leasing for their tiny homes. Residents will have about 800 square feet of land with most of their homes ranging from 200 to 300 square feet.
Tenants can rent 800 square feet of land for their homes for $500 a month. Five 900-square-foot lots go for $550.
The tiny homes will be on wheels. Tenants can build their homes, but they aren’t allowed to build on-site.
The tiny home movement received more attention during the 2008 housing crisis. Since then, tiny houses have popped up around the country.
However, tiny homeowners and tenants have received push back - including in Denton County - — due to minimum square feet requirements and zoning codes.
Future resident Jet Regan said the legality of the community in Lake Dallas is the main reason she plans on moving in.
“This [village will give] you the security and community [without] people calling code [enforcement] on you,” Regan said.
Another future resident, Jenn Bergreen, also said the Lake Dallas community is appealing because she won’t have to move out due to codes. Bergreen was a homeowner for 17 years in McKinney.
“I can be with a group of like-minded people who have the same vision in a safe environment,” Bergreen said.
That vision includes reducing their carbon footprint, taking up less space and saving money, said a few future residents.
Bergreen said she noticed most of her time and money in her traditional home was spent on upkeep.
“I wasn’t getting to spend as much time as I wanted to being outside, traveling, seeing my family, my friends,” Bergreen said. “[Now] I can spend more time doing things I really want to do. I’d rather live more life.”
Madelyn and Casey Johnson, both teachers in Lewisville, said having a smaller home was appealing to them because they like to travel a lot during the summer. Saving money by living in a tiny home will give the couple the ability to travel more, Madelyn said.
“We’re both really outdoors-y people, and a lot of houses now are taking up so much space outside as opposed to only [using] what you need,” Casey said. “And then spend your time in nature — that’s what we really enjoy doing.”
The acre of land Lantrip bought is the site of a 1910 farmhouse. The farmhouse is still there and is now home to a couple, Steve and Bridget Radke, who said they are excited for their neighbors to move in.
“We think it’s cool there’s going to be an outdoor community we get to be a part of here,” Steve said.
Bridget said they’ve both learned a lot about tiny homes since moving into the farmhouse. The research and seeing it all come together has made them interested in moving into a tiny home, they said. Nothing is certain yet, but Bridget said they’re open to the idea.
B.A. Norrgard, who founded the DFW Tiny House Enthusiasts Facebook group, attended the groundbreaking on Saturday. She has lived in a tiny home since 2014 and helped Lantrip with the Lake Dallas project.
Norrgard said she wanted to establish a tiny home village in Dallas but wasn’t able to do so.
“I’m very glad that [Lantrip] has made it a reality,” Norrgard said. “I just really hope [this village serves as] a bright light on the movement and shows other cities it is possible. I think it’s going to bring change they won’t expect but they’re really going to love.”
Photo by Jeff Woo, Denton Record-Chronicle
January 18, 2019
By Lisa Prevost
As Teresa Lewis entered her fifties, she began to seriously consider how she would afford retirement. An executive assistant in the Dallas area, Lewis worked full-time while also taking care of her mother, and it had become quite clear that “no pot of gold” waited for her come age 65. She’d watched friends spend their retirement years trying to scrape by on Social Security—“it’s not pretty,” she says—and wanted to better position herself by finding a way to dramatically minimize her living expenses, while still maintaining a decent quality of life.
Her solution? A tiny house, something she’d read about online. In 2015, she headed to Colorado Springs for the first Tiny House Jamboree and toured some houses on display. The visit inspired her to plan in earnest for a downsized lifestyle. And this summer, Lewis, now 56, will move into her own 375-square-foot tiny home alongside a dozen other similarly sized dwellings in what could be the country’s first urban tiny home community that’s officially sanctioned by a municipality.
Lake Dallas, a city of roughly 8,000 located about 20 miles north of Dallas on Lake Lewisville, approved the tiny home development plan last October in hopes of bringing more foot traffic to its sleepy downtown and elevating its profile. Once a center for commerce, downtown has been overshadowed by a heavily developed, highway-accessible corridor of chain stores and fast-food restaurants. A regional commuter train regularly rushes past Main Street without stopping, as the city opted years back not to join the funding authority that operates the service.
The City Council voted 4-1 to change the zoning for a one-acre property about a block from downtown from single-family dwelling to a planned development district with a “tiny house park” as an allowed use. “We will have some more people living right downtown here,” says city manager John Cabrales, Jr. “Tiny house people tend to be well-educated, employed, with disposable income. They can help bolster downtown businesses.”
The developer, Terry Lantrip, is a familiar face in town—he ran the weekly newspaper for two decades and has built several mixed-use buildings downtown. Lantrip hopes that the publicity surrounding the tiny house community will bring additional downtown investment. “It shows that Lake Dallas is open to new ideas,” he says. “It says, if you bring us something of quality, we’re more than willing to listen to you.”
The park won’t be ready until June at the earliest, but Lantrip already has more than 50 people on the waiting list for one of the 13 lots. That’s not surprising given that, even as HGTV has popularized the previously fringy concept with programs like “Tiny House Hunters,” finding a place to put a tiny house remains the greatest challenge. Zoning typically does not allow for such small dwellings, which are commonly no more than 400 square feet. The houses, which are often built on wheeled trailers, do not conform to local building codes for single-family dwellings. And while some are built to meet the certification standards for a recreational vehicle, zoning usually precludes year-round living in an RV.
So it is that the vast majority of tiny house residents are living illegally. Some municipalities with severe affordable housing shortages, including Fresno, CA., Portland, OR., and Nantucket, MA, now allow a tiny house to share a lot with an existing home as an accessory dwelling unit (with various restrictions). But proposals for tiny house communities have run up against staunch resistance in densely developed areas, usually due to neighborhood pushback or uncertainty about how to regulate and tax them.
“I think once one community in an urban area is successful, it will be the model for others,” says B.A. Norrgard,, a well-known Dallas-area tiny house advocate. A former litigation paralegal who traded her career and Tudor home for greater independence, Norrgard now lives in (and travels with) a 78-square-foot house on wheels she built herself. (She parks it in a friend’s backyard in Garland, Texas, which technically isn’t legal, but, she says, “The mayor knows I’m here. He’s okay with it.”) Norrgard says she has helped advise other developers who have wanted to set up tiny house communities, but Lantrip is the first to be successful.
One major factor that worked in his favor was the International Code Council’s approval of a model building code for tiny houses for inclusion in the 2018 International Residential Code. The ordinance adopted by the Lake Dallas City Council requires that all tiny houses in the park be constructed in compliance with that code, which regulates such things as ceiling heights, ladder safety for accessing a lofted bed, and emergency exits.
The concept also found an enthusiastic advocate in the city planner, Kevin Lasher, who worked with Lantrip on drafting an ordinance and responding to issues raised by councilors. (Lasher now works for another city.) And finally, Lantrip says his track record and longevity in Lake Dallas “helped tremendously” with gaining officials’ trust that he would stick around to manage the park.
“It’s very doubtful that an outsider could have gotten it through,” he says. “I’ve been here 32 years, so I’m obviously not going to cash out and move on.”
The park will include eight 800-square-foot lots, accommodating homes up to 35 feet long, and five 900-square-foot lots, for slightly longer homes. All lots will have water, sewer and electric hookups. Rents will run around $500 a month (including water and sewer charges) on a 12-month lease. Houses must be owner-occupied and on wheels, so they can easily be removed if the owner isn’t complying with community rules, Lantrip says.
Cabrales says they aren’t yet sure how the park and its residents will be taxed – the city attorney is still researching that. And Lantrip hasn’t yet obtained financing, as he is still waiting for the engineering for the utilities, drainage, etc., to be completed, but he doesn’t anticipate a problem. He already owns the land.
With input from Norrgard and Jet Regan, another tiny house activist, Lantrip designed the park so that cars will be parked on the perimeter, leaving plenty of interior room for shared community features, such as a bike storage shed, fire pit, garden area, and a laundry area. If all goes well, an antique farmhouse on the site will eventually be converted to community meeting and dining spaces.
Regan, 36, is a database engineering analyst who got interested in tiny house living primarily because she has “a whole lot of” student loans. “I don’t foresee being able to ever afford a mortgage,” she says. “And secondary to that, I just don’t have a lot of stuff.” She has participated in seven “community builds” of other peoples’ tiny houses organized through a Dallas/Fort Worth Meetup group started by Norrgard. She plans to build her own in 2019.
For Norrgard, the Lake Dallas village brings tiny homes one step closer to being accepted as a mainstream housing option, rather than one that must be hidden. So many people are now “pushing at the zoning wall” that blocks tiny houses, she figures it won’t be long before more communities follow Lake Dallas’s lead. If you think about it, she says, “it’s a low-risk endeavor for these municipalities. Why not give it a try? If it doesn’t work, the people can all just pack up their houses and go.”
Lisa Prevost is a New York City-area journalist specializing in housing and real estate development. She is the author of “Snob Zones: Fear, Prejudice and Real Estate” (Beacon Press, 2013), and a regular contributor to The New York Times.
Photo: BA Norrgard, a tiny house activist, on the steps of her tiny home during a tour.
October 27, 2017
By Seth Voorhees
KXAS - NBC - Dallas
The popularity of tiny houses is on the rise, thanks in part to TV shows that are dedicated to them.
Now, a North Texas city could get its own tiny park development — the first of its kind in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Lake Dallas City Council approved a local developer's plan to build 13 tiny houses on an acre of land there.
"Lake Dallas is kind of an area that's been passed up by progress and prosperity," said developer Terry Lantrip, who hopes to turn that around.
His plan is to think out of the box — a very small box of a house.
Lantrip plans to build 13 tiny houses on property he's owned for 15 years on Gotcher Avenue, a quiet residential street.
"This is an option for people," Lantrip said. "It's not an inexpensive option. These are custom built high quality homes."
Lantrip says tiny homes in his development could range from $40,000 to $100,000 each, depending on size and features. He expects his property to be ready for construction in about six months.
The developer also realized tiny houses are not for everyone. Would he live in one?
"I don't think so," he said. "I like the concept, but I don't think I'm quite ready for it."
He is, however, confident that there are enough folks who think a tiny house would be a perfect fit.
"I have no worry that this is going to be filled very quickly," he said.
Ashley Cole Photography
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Cover art by Lewis Gonzales