ISO information on "In-law units"

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Re: ISO information on "In-law units"

Post by alfrandell » Thu Nov 24, 2022 9:46 am

after visiting the tiny homes here, you seemed to like the one that eventually sold.
more recently, you accepted a free bicycle from me, and we had a nice chat.
it seems odd that you now speak out against the buildings that i construct, and suggest that people bring double wide trailers into the valley, and fix them each to a foundation.
also, you suggest that portable buildings are illegal here, and that foundations are required. In fact, portable buildings below some exact square footage do not require a permit, and the owner of them may move them around as desired, or leave them in place.
It was you that pointed out that a permanent structure that was permitted due to family need will need to be disassembled after the need is over.

It is strange to see an ex hippie who has gone to the dark side, and i mean this in a light hearted way. You could not type something that would turn me against you because i like you too much for that.
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Re: ISO information on "In-law units"

Post by tristanbgilb » Thu Nov 24, 2022 9:57 am

I like your buildings. They are sound and creative and solid. You continually misrepresent them as Tiny Houses, or such insinuating they can be used for a dwelling. They in fact cannot be used for a dwelling without putting one at risk of being neighbors sending the government after the person who owns the property of the illegal dwelling. I prefer the comforts and securities of following the laws as far as morality is allowed by those laws.
Tristan Gilbert

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Re: ISO information on "In-law units"

Post by alfrandell » Thu Nov 24, 2022 11:30 am

There was no problem with the portable buildings when i lived near carlton.
Wolf creek is a special case, where an intentional community actively drives off the least affluent residents. Even the large landowner that sold them the land for the community was attacked legally, and had his water rights downgraded. They would have been powerless against the tiny HOMES, but my landowner never built a septic at my rental. So, i paid rent for 4 years, and built more elaborate buildings while the landowner continued to promise the septic to both me snd the county health department.
It was NOT fair to the county, to me, or to the wolf creek property owners to have a plastic outhouse amidst the trophy homes and mansions for 4 years. I am 64 and disabled, so using an outhouse in midwinter is difficult. Paying rent while being attacked by neighbors and the county is not easy or fair.
It never had anything to do with the legality of the buildings, or my ability to take care of land and improve it. It was an Corporation called Badger LLC that has built up a 40,000 dollar fine with OK county while collecting about 20,000 dollars in heavy equipment work from me.
A full report on this business practice is on permanent record with the Wa. State AG office, and no legal eviction has been tried, because a court case might force the county to collect the 40k, and might call into question why they let a prominent local official break health codes for such a long time.

In short, if you are willing to build a septic system, you can have whatever outbuildings that you want. You can live in them, or sleep in a tent, or permit and build a giant mansion. You can not poop in the water, but you can live in a car or a yurt or within a circle of sacred stones if you want to. If there is a minimum house size that is legal in our county, it is surprising that i was not legally evicted a few weeks after i began to reside at wolf creek.

I hope that this is clear, and also seems like a friendly explanation instead of an attack.
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Re: ISO information on "In-law units"

Post by mikeparks » Thu Nov 24, 2022 12:12 pm


If you build a septic system you cannot then have whatever outbuildings you want. First of all, a permit must be issued in order to build a septic system. The county must inspect the proposed location and determine what type of septic system they will allow. The approved design must be installed by a licensed installer.

Any structure over 200 square feet must be approved by the Okanogan County Planning Department. For anyone contemplating building or placing anything on their property over 200 sf they should first check with planning. There are lots of variables depending on location, water, septic, type of structure, etc.

Mike Parks

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Re: ISO information on "In-law units"

Post by Solstice » Thu Nov 24, 2022 1:02 pm

So far, Mike Parks' reply is the gold standard answer to the original inquiry.

I believe the Department of Ecology does the actual perc testing for any new septic system.

County Building and Zoning regulations have changed over the years and will probably change in the future. Due diligence up front always pays dividends and can save a lot of headaches later on. Good luck.
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Re: ISO information on "In-law units"

Post by tristanbgilb » Thu Nov 24, 2022 2:28 pm

Our town planner in Twisp has always been really useful for any projects I HAVE DREAMED UP. He doesn't work every day but has always made himself available at appointed times.

With real estate prices climbing and housing getting very tight in the Methow Valley, an accessory dwelling might collect enough rent to pay for itself over time and be an income producing investment.

This is the definition of an Accessory Dwelling Unit. This is not tailored to Okanogan County. Cut and pasted from internet.

"What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit?
An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is a small, self-contained residential unit located on the same lot as an existing single-family home.

An ADU has all the basic facilities needed for day-to-day living independent of the main home, such as a kitchen, sleeping area, and a bathroom. As the term "accessory" implies, ADUs are generally defined to be smaller in size and prominence than the main residence on the lot. Some definitions include specific size limits, and a location that is not readily visible from the street.

In theory, an ADU may be created as a separate unit within an existing home (such as in an attic or basement), an addition to the home (such as a separate apartment unit with separate entrance), or in a separate structure on the lot (such as a converted garage). See the examples shown below.

Some communities, however, only allow ADUs that are within or attached to the main residence, and exclude ADUs housed in a separate structure. Whether attached or detached from the main residence, most codes require that the main residence and the ADU must be owned by the same person and may not be sold separately.

ADUs are sometimes called "mother-in-law apartments" or "granny flats," because they are often used to house extended family. Other codes use terms such as "accessory apartment," "accessory living unit," or "secondary unit," to have a similar meaning."
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Re: ISO information on "In-law units"

Post by alfrandell » Thu Nov 24, 2022 3:43 pm

all of my buildings are under 200 sq ft, and do not require any permit.
a septic system is separate from the house, and is a separate issue. I have lived in portable buildings both in carlton and in winthrop. they were inspected many times because of all of the complaints about them from the wolf creek folk. The building inspector had a notebook with each of the buildings, and they passed. the electrical inspector gave me a list of suggestions, and i fulfilled every one of them.

small portable buildings and a bathhouse connected to the septic should be legal where a buying group have not made further requirements about the colors of paint that may be used, what outdoor lighting is OK, if you can have solar panels and how, and all of the rest of the HOA stuff.

I expected the buildings to sell well after fires, but no one wanted tiny 10,000 dollar buildings. That does not mean that i am a criminal or a swindler. I passed all of my inspections for the buildings. as a caretaker, i was not expected to build a septic. As i previously mentioned, i do not feel that i fooled the community by purposely using an outhouse for 4 years. i feel like I maybe got the short end of the stick from a land owner who also ran into financial difficulties so that they amassed a fine when they would not permit the septic after 1 year, and then could not or would not pay the fine for 3 more years.

this is unrelated to the issue of tiny homes, and should not be confused or conflated with the legality of small portable structures. it is fully legal to permit and build a septic system on your property, and then to sleep in a coffin under a tree, or in a hammock way up in the tree.
I am sure that decision makers will fix this loophole, to raise the bar as far as the minimum income that will be just enough to live here. For example, Moab Utah passed a 500 sq foot minimum size for any dwelling. no more sleeping in motor homes or shacks in Moab.

A larger minimum size can be chosen to up the income requirement. The new code could read : because it is dangerous to live in a small structure in such a challenging climate, we will require the main dwelling on a property to be at least 2000 sq feet, and the guest house must be at least 800 square feet. Likewise, in such a challenging climate, it is not totally safe to let home owners build their own structures. Because of these safety concerns, all new structures will be built using licensed and bonded contractors, and a code enforcement worker will be hired to make sure of this. More frequent site inspections will be made to make sure that the qualified builders are used for every stage of construction and that they do not cut corners.

ps... you do not need to further reduce the desirability of portable buildings, or make believe that 120 sq ft buildings are tightly controlled. they are not controlled at all. My dreams are shattered here, and i am leaving, so you do not even need to reduce alf randell to a shabby criminal. I tried the tiny home thing here and failed. I will try it somewhere else. good luck here!
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Re: ISO information on "In-law units"

Post by tristanbgilb » Thu Nov 24, 2022 4:46 pm

Here is an interesting article I ran into when researching the minimum size requirement for a house in the town of twisp. In the article the town planner is saying there is no minimum size requirement unless the house is a manufactured home. This is from 2018 and the council was under pressure at the time to make a minimum size requirement for a dwelling. I wonder if the law was ever amended.

"Room for disagreement

Photo by Ann McCreary
This small residence on May Street in Twisp has sparked discussion about the size and appearance of dwellings permitted in town.

Controversy over tiny home in Twisp prompts town to revisit zoning code
By Ann McCreary

A tiny house has turned into a big issue for the Town of Twisp after neighbors complained that the residence is too small.

The house that sparked the complaints is a 288-square-foot dwelling at 403 May St., in a single-family home neighborhood commonly called Painters’ Addition. The issue has prompted the Twisp Planning Commission to consider changes to its zoning code to establish minimum house sizes in different zones of town. A public workshop on proposed zoning code changes is scheduled for Aug. 15.

Complaints about the house and a travel trailer parked next to it have been voiced over the past couple of months by residents in the neighborhood, primarily Mark and Leone Edson, who live across May Street from the house.

In comments made at several Town Council meetings, the Edsons have complained that the small house is incompatible with other, larger houses in the neighborhood, and criticized town officials for permitting the structure. They have also questioned whether the house conforms to town building codes and whether the trailer parked next to the house should be allowed to remain on the property. The Edsons also alleged that the owner was occasionally living in the house without having received an occupancy permit from the town.

Gap in code
The questions about the house revealed a gap in the town’s zoning code. While there are minimum size requirements for manufactured homes (also called mobile homes) of 320 square feet, as set by federal law, there are no minimum size requirements for other types of houses in Twisp, said Kurt Danison, Twisp’s town planner.

The small house is owned by Linda Maxwell of Burien, who purchased the lot in 2014. The property is part a three-lot short plat developed by Lucy Reid, who lives nearby.

Maxwell said covenants for the property allowed mobile homes or trailers to be occupied for up to 90 days a year.

In an interview this week, Maxwell said she and her partner, Gretchen Baar, didn’t plan on building right away and bought an 18-foot travel trailer that was delivered to the property in May 2016.

“This met our short-term needs to a T,” she said.

However, Maxwell and Baar were informed that summer that Twisp ordinances do not allow a travel trailer to remain on a property unless there is a residential dwelling. They subsequently received a temporary-use permit that allows a trailer to stay for up to two years if an owner has a building permit, said Danison.

“We were required to demonstrate basic plans and evidence that a dwelling was initiated within 365 days,” Maxwell said. “We were a bit taken aback, to say the least, and checked with several builders and contractors, but no one was interested.”

Because they had not intended to build right away, “our funds were limited,” she said. So, they contracted with Alpine Sheds in Tonasket, which customized a 12-by-24-foot building to meet residential standards, including insulation, wiring, overhead lighting, a stove vent and full bathroom.

The building was delivered to the lot in May this year — and complaints from neighbors began soon after. The temporary-use permit for the trailer is due to expire in August.

The town has told Maxwell that she must complete water, sewer and electrical hookups before the house can be legally occupied. Maxwell said she has arranged with a local excavator to dig ditches for utilities in late August and hopes to complete installation this fall. The cabin is furnished and insured, she said.

The town is considering whether to extend the temporary use permit to allow the trailer to stay while the property owners complete the utilities installation and obtain a certificate of occupancy, Danison said.

Danison acknowledged the frustration of neighbors who see the small house as incompatible. But without zoning regulations that address house sizes, the town had no grounds to deny the project. “Nobody’s thrilled with the situation. As the planner …I can’t say no just because the neighbors don’t like it,” Danison said.

Meeting with neighbors
After receiving a letter in late June signed by several Painters’ Addition homeowners questioning the continued presence of the trailer on the property and whether the house could be legally occupied, town officials called an informal meeting in mid-July to discuss the issue with neighborhood residents.

Mayor Soo Ing-Moody, who is also a resident of the Painters’ Addition neighborhood, said town officials were not ignoring the concerns of residents. “We’re doing the best we can, and doing it in the best interest of the public,” Ing-Moody said.

The Painter’s Addition area is an R-1 zone, a low-density residential zone with minimum lot sizes of 10,000 square feet. The owners of the small house met all the requirements of setbacks and lot coverage, Ing-Moody said. A certificate of occupancy won’t be issued until requirements for completing the building, including installation of utilities, are met, she said.

Danison said with the approaching August deadline for removal of the trailer, the town will need to determine how to deal with that issue, including whether to give the property owner more time to complete work on the house. “The enforcement of our land-use codes can be a balancing act,” he said.

Danison said the Planning Commission is discussing new zoning regulations that would set a minimum house size of 1,200 square feet in the R-1 zone, which is the zone for Painters’ Addition.

Complaints heard
Some neighbors at the meeting said the building didn’t look like a house, and one person said it resembled a “gypsy camp.”

Leone Edson criticized the mayor and Town Council for not responding during council meetings to questions she and her husband have raised during public the comment periods about the house, which the Edsons have referred to as a “shed.”

Ing-Moody responded that the Town Council takes public comment, but meetings are not forums for discussion or debate. “We’re not ignoring you,” Ing-Moody said, adding that the town encourages citizens to provide concerns and comments in writing.

Town Council members Alan Caswell and Hans Smith, who are also residents of the Painters’ Addition neighborhood, said they met with Maxwell and Baar to talk about the concerns. They made the visit as neighbors and as council members, they said.

“They’re very upset … they came here with high hopes,” Caswell told residents at the meeting. “They’d like you all to mind your own business. As disappointed as you are with them, they’re disappointed with you.”

In an interview last week, Danison said he was “kind of taken aback by the level of vitriol” that has arisen in discussions about the house. There is a nationwide trend toward smaller size houses, Danison said. Homes being built in Twisp by the Methow Housing Authority range from 900-1,100 square feet, he said.

Maxwell said she and Baar have been visiting the Methow Valley for 15 years. “We love the valley, but this experience has been very difficult. We appreciate the support of some of the surrounding neighbors.” She said she and Baar plan to landscape the property after they complete the building.

In a Town Council meeting last week, council members briefly discussed the possibility of placing a temporary moratorium on houses of certain sizes in the R-1 zone, although took no further action.

Minimum house sizes will be a topic at the Planning Commission workshop to be held on Aug. 15. Proposals under consideration would place minimum sizes of 1,200 square feet in R-1 zones, 800 square feet in R-2 zones, and 320 square feet in R3 zones, Danison said. The meeting will be held in the Town Council chambers at 5 p.m.

Tristan Gilbert

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Re: ISO information on "In-law units"

Post by alfrandell » Thu Nov 24, 2022 5:39 pm

hahahaha, i made up my proposed new codes, but they are remarkably close to what has been drawn up.
All of the problems are very familiar to me.
i expected neighbors to root for me as i attempted to build my own house room by room on wolf creek. An elderly, partly disabled curmudgeon, just spinning his wheels while waiting for the dirt nap.
One or 2 did visit and voice support, but the others did what the large house dwellers in twisp did.
complaining in every way possible, that their orderly life and investments were being drastically devalued by the poor people living so near to them in dangerous and unsightly small structures.
The folks at wolf creek started by beeping their horns as the circled the property on wolf creek road, and proceeded with the phone calls and the letters that all of them could proudly sign.
what may not be clear is that these retired real estate agents and lawyers felt REALLY threatened. They could not understand WHAT POOR PEOPLE DO! I showed them what poor caretakers do. we push dead trees and old cabins into piles and burn them. We take away knapweed, and put clover there instead. We prevent trespassing, so that the property rights will be respected in the future, and so the caretaker him/her self can also enjoy their rental fully. It was perhaps expected that i would burglarize the mansions while the owners were enjoying another of their dwellings. But, after 4 years, it is looking like i maybe prevented some burglaries instead of performing them or inviting in my poor criminal friends to do their harmful work.

If the edsons want to be part of a big group that attacks and removes unwanted residents, wolf creek is the place for them! there are the equivalent of eviction clubs among the most particular retirees. groups of friends who meet, write group complaint letters, and encourage each other to call the health department or the planner again and again. Other residents have suffered law suits and private investigators prowling around taking photos. One has spent 35,000 dollars on the law suits, and they are probably the family that has lived at wolf creek the longest. Leaving other people alone, and minding ones business is not a rule that wealthy people have to follow. only poor people who are criminalized for being poor must mind their own business. Wealth allows one to mind other peoples business, and to have the police and other authorities act as ones own private security service.

It is kind of a surprise for me, as i was a rich kid back in the 1960s. My family owns a printing company named the Randell Press, which maintains a storefront on 6th avenue in NYC. This role as evil, lurking burglar-in-waiting does not fit me very well.

i am currently experimenting with different ways of mounting solar panels to very small buildings, and learning how to install the equipment so that it is very safe, and can be understood and maintained by a non engineer [I am an engineer, trained at NMT].

a final though on how elitist twisp and the other towns around here should get?
i actually do not care. However, you may not like laying in the bed that you are making!
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Re: ISO information on "In-law units"

Post by Reapward » Thu Nov 24, 2022 7:35 pm

Tristen, yes, since 2018 there has been an amendment and there is a minimum size requirement of houses built in the Painter's Addition. Lot sizes too.
Pearl Cherrington

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