Help Sarah Stay in Hadley: Support for Rhizhome Tiny House

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Help Sarah Stay in Hadley: Support for Rhizhome Tiny House

This petition had 1,616 supporters
Rhizhome started this petition to Town of Hadley, MA and

**Please sign my petition so that my tiny home may be able to stay in the town of Hadley, MA.  Remember to note if you are a resident of Hadley!**

On a productive farm along the floodplain in Hadley, MA, I reside on some of the most fertile soil in the country.  Just like the rotation of crops, my home can move and cycle with the seasons.  I live a light lifestyle in my tiny house and this home solves more problems than its small size might suggest.  

My 190 square foot home is a functioning part of the ecosystem, a symbol of sustainability, and an exhibit of my passion.  The character and appeal of my home is obvious to all who enter and I am proud to give transparency to the Tiny House Movement in order to educate others.  However, my living situation is technically illegal.  

While tiny homes like mine have been gaining perpetual popularity across the nation and the world, very few people have found a way to reside in one of these structures in accordance with the law.  Most building codes prevent dwellings under an arbitrary number of square feet, but the small size of tiny homes is not the only factor that makes them illegal.  For one, zoning codes often disallow mobile homes on residential property and sometimes prevent any sort of detached dwelling unit away from a traditional home. In addition, tiny homes are often more self sustaining than traditional homes, implementing alternative waste systems like greywater gardens and composting toilets that are not easily accounted for by permit.   Although my community has supported and applauds my efforts, it is no surprise that one complaint induced the town to cite my violation and tell me to move based on my breaching of current regulation.  

On January 11, 2016, I will formally appeal my violation to Hadley's Zoning Board of Appeals and ask the town to allow me to continue my alternative dwelling on the condition that I propose a bylaw amendment next year.  While there are several possible loopholes in current code that I may be able to harness for an extended stay, I hope to help Hadley realize how tiny homes align with the town's vision and create a more formal change (see end note).   

Before I begin to work with local town government to discuss the possibility of new tiny house regulations, I must secure my own residence. Please show your support for my stay in Hadley by signing the petition.  Remember to note if you are a resident of Hadley!

MORE INFO ABOUT SARAH AND HER HOME: Growing up, I always wanted to build my own creative home.  Through my interdisciplinary education at Mount Holyoke College, I brainstormed a way to do this; by graduation I had competed the design and construction of my own mobile tiny home and received high honors in Architectural Studies for my work.  I sourced all of my material from salvage yards, craigslist, and local businesses within a 200 mile radius of my building site.  Local professionals, friends, and my father contributed their skills and knowledge to my project, which ensured a safe and informed home.  This dedication to recycling and craftsmanship is apparent from every angle. Since moving my home to Hadley, I have continued my active outreach through guest lectures and displays at schools, summer camps, and a variety of sponsored events.  My house project became the foundation for my future and it is the instrument through which my experiences will grow into something more.  For more info, check out my project Facebook page and my website!

Thank you kindly for your support! 


~Sarah G. Hastings 


End note: Please read about Hadley's Vision (from Hadley's Master Plan) to see why my aligns with the community's values.  Hadley is:

-A town that values, protects and supports its rural heritage, agricultural resources and the farming way of life.
-A town that manages and guides development to be sensitive to the natural environment, our rural character and the financial well being of the community.
-A town that actively preserves and protects its natural resources and open space.
-A town that values its quality of life, sense of community and rural, small town atmosphere.
-A town that is aesthetically pleasing, and that protects its scenic views, waterways, rural streets and historic features.
-A town that values and supports its educational system, and that provides a broad range of educational and recreational opportunities.
-A town that manages the growth of housing to meet the needs of its residents in balance with the preservation of its rural character and agricultural resources.
-A town that encourages strategic economic development by balancing commercial, retail, and light industrial land uses along Route 9 with (i) the capacity of its infrastructure and tax base to sustain such development and (ii) the desire to preserve its significant agricultural and natural resources. 


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