‘Tiny house’ movement grows through the cracks in city rules

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Marie and Alan Boucher have two houses. One fits into their suburban Charlotte neighborhood. The other could nearly fit into that house’s sun room.

At 130 square feet, their house is not much bigger than a couple of parking spaces. Duck inside the 6-by-2-foot doorway on a 97-degree day, and you’ll find that a single window air conditioner keeps it quite cool. Climb up a painter’s ladder, and you’ll see a cramped loft bedroom with a roof so low that Marie and Alan can only sit up one at a time, in the middle of the bed, while they listen to the rain hit the tin roof just inches above.

The South Charlotte couple aren’t solitary eccentrics. They’re part of a growing “tiny house” movement taking root across the U.S. that has inspired websites, blogs and multiple reality shows. And here, as elsewhere, the movement is outpacing public policy, growing through the cracks of zoning codes.

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