Review triggers backlash from tiny housers

Proposed local law changes for Mount Alexander Shire have tiny house advocates up in arms.
As part of its current wider local laws review Mount Alexander Shire Council is proposing changes to the laws governing camping on private property – something with implications for tiny house residents.
The proposed new local law would allow people to camp on private property for 21 days only before being required to obtain a permit, compared with the 60 days currently allowed.
“The current laws allow someone to live in a caravan or tiny house on their own property for six weeks of a year, while the proposed laws reduce that time frame to three weeks and then require the property owner to fulfill 11 new criteria for a six-month permit,” said Shannon Schultz who together with husband Fred Schultz runs Castlemaine business Fred’s Tiny Houses.
The Schultzs are now among at least 54 people understood to have lodged a submission to the Local Laws Review as it impacts on tiny house living.
As submissions to the review closed on Friday, Fred and Shannon Schultz said they believed Mount Alexander could look to other councils and also interstate for examples of regulation that was more progressive, encouraging tiny houses as a possible solution to wider housing accessibility issues.
“What we’re trying to do is to maintain the current six-week period for camping in a caravan or a tiny house on wheels even when there is no dwelling on the property – to maintain that as opposed to putting it back to 21 days,” Fred said.
“And in my submission we would allow for people to have a tiny house on wheels that they could live in indefinitely on their own land, where there’s a dwelling already on the land.”
Castlemaine 19-year-old Rainer Cook Tonkin is currently building his own tiny house, together with friends, with the hope of living in it as he builds a more permanent residence.
He has lodged a submission to the review and, like Fred Schultz, also plans to make a verbal submissions as part of the review process.
“I’m going to do whatever I can to lobby against it,” Rainer said.
“I’d rather the laws went in the other direction.
“It’s a concern because of the uncertainty around house prices in the future and the possibility of getting into the housing market in the current economic climate.
“It’s regressive. It’s kind of backwards.”
Council staff have previously said the council’s approach to mobile tiny homes was constricted by requirements of federal and state planning and transport laws.
The draft laws are on exhibition for public comment with the proposed changes part of a routine 10-yearly update to the council’s local laws.
Once the General Local Law comes into effect, it will have a 10-year life unless it is revoked sooner or renewed to remain valid.

Castlemaine teenager Rainer Cook Tonkin (pictured at left), with helpers and the frame of his tiny house, has made a submission to the Mount Alexander Shire Council Local Law Review.

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