John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
Are Tiny Houses Allowed in Newtown?

Are Tiny Houses Allowed in Newtown?

A Newtown resident contacted me because she was interested in knowing if there were any restrictions on the types of property in Newtown that a tiny house can be placed or built on. She also wanted to know if it was allowable to place a tiny house on another person’s private property with that person’s permission.

It just so happened that I was planning to attend the monthly meeting of the Joint Zoning Council (JZC) Definition that night, so I decided to email members and experts associated with the Council to see if they had the answers. The JZC establishes policy on matters of importance to the Newtown Area Jointure Definition, which consists of Newtown, Upper Makefield, and Wrightstown townships. It specifically reviews and suggests updates and revisions to the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance Definition.

After some back and forth via email, the topic of tiny houses was added to the January 9, 2020, JZC agenda. The following is an excerpt from the discussion. Participating in the discussion were Chester Pogonwski (Wrightstown Supervisor), Chair, Tom Cino (Upper Makefield Supervisor), Vice Chair, Phil Calabro (Newtown Supervisor), Lisa M. Wolff, Bucks County Planning Commission, myself and others.

Evan J. Stone, PLA, Executive Director, Bucks County Planning Commission, provided the following information:

“Dear team, this is indeed a potentially complex and multi-faceted topic/issue.

“Yes, a tiny home, is a single family home just as a mobile home is a single family home however there can be distinctions depending on whether it’s on wheels and treated as a “recreational vehicle” versus one on a foundation (see first link below)

“This subject is a kin to “granny pods” and the issues of principal use, accessory use, number of principal uses on a lot etc.

“Pennsylvania is one of the friendlier tiny house states to date. A community in Elizabethtown also claims to be the largest tiny house community in the United States - an impressive title to say the least! Rural areas of Pennsylvania will likely be the easiest when it comes to finding a place to park your tiny. Be sure to check with the local municipalities for specifics.”

Here are some links to explore on the subject:

Posted on 10 Jan 2020, 10:19 - Category: Zoning

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