Category Archives: About

Something Very Special

I flew into Spur, Jan 15th in hopes of finding a new home. I was only there 2 days and realized there was something very special about this place, it’s history and it’s people. So, i flew back home, put in a request for 2 lots in the Freeman area of town, and began the process of leaving full time jobs, selling a house, and planning on a cross country move. I made a commitment to a company that builds tiny homes….and put my money down. (i.e. major commitment).

Five months later, June 15th, I  drove into town (just moved back to Texas (after 24 years away) from Charleston, South Carolina. I was a bit nervous? What if I made a mistake? It only took a few minutes to dismiss that thought.

I met John Schmidt and we drove out to my lots to see where I wanted my house to land. Along the way, he told me stories of Spur back in the day, as he is one of those Spurites, that left to find work, and later came back to retire. I can see why. 🙂

It was a very easy experience. I went in the city office, met with John and the other folks that work there…very friendly! After taking our trip to the lots, I decided where I wanted to put my house, showed him my tiny house building plans/picture of tiny house and went over the codes. We then filled out the paperwork, all of 5 minutes, and I had my permit (free of charge). The folks in Spur and Dickens County, along with the others that are already here help you, anyway they can. I feel like I belong, and again, I’ve only visited twice.

I will be moving to town, with home in tow, by the first week in August. I literally can not wait. I am a college professor and will be working/teaching on-line. As a sociologist, I find this new adventure intriguing from a social aspect? How will Spur adjust to change? How will the newcomers begin to fit in, assimilate? Is this the beginning or a rural renewal? Time will tell; in the meantime, I look forward to simply calling Spur, …..HoMe;)

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Correspondence that Explains some recent Questions about the New Ordinance

On Apr 25, 2016, at 4:30 PM, Denise Rosner <dee1311@aol.com> wrote:

Hi David the Painter!

This is Denise and I live in my tiny blue house, the first built by a local builder, here in Spur. I had control of Spurfreedom.org until Benjamin took over when I got sick a few months ago. I’ve seen your unfavorable comments about the new permits here in Spur on a couple of different sites so I’m very happy that you are now asking some questions. I see that it seems that things have become complicated here in Spur regarding tiny houses but that’s simply not the case.

Conor was never involved other than to be the first tiny houser here. He did write a full account of his experience in getting here and still enjoys living here although he has stopped enjoying the thousands of people driving by his house ;).
Benjamin was only interested in having ‘alternative’ tiny houses here in Spur. As far as I know, he is still fighting City Hall to that end but in the meantime he has purchased land right outside the Spur city limits where he can indeed build his rammed earth home that he wants. These alternative homes, such as Benjamin’s might be welcome at some future date but for now traditionally built homes, container homes and THOW with wheels removed, are still very welcome.

You do not need a Variance unless you’re building in certain residential areas. Almost all of the areas where tiny houses now exist and where land is available, are not in those areas.
All size homes need permitting and inspections. 900 square feet is only mentioned in the ordinance to state what is considered Tiny.

John Schmidt is the Code Compliance officer at (806) 271-3316 and he issues the permits. You can call him about any code questions directly. The bottom line is that the City only wants to make sure that your house is safely built. John will make unofficial visits (inspections) throughout your build to make sure of this. He will inspect the foundation, plumbing, electrical, etc. I wish this was in effect before my build. I, as well as 2 other tiny housers, had awful experiences because of not having any plans for our houses and they are only looking out for us as well as making sure that these dwellings are not projectiles that will harm anything or anyone in a tornado.

After supplying John with a filled out Application and an approved set of plans, he will issue you a Permit, free of charge, right away. You may do this as you wait for your land purchase bid to be approved. That takes over a month as the Councils only meet once a month and there are 3 separate meetings – the County Commissioners meet on the 2nd Monday of the month, Spur City Council meets on the 3rd Tuesday of the month and Spur ISD meets on the 4th Monday of the month. You will hear that your bid was approved by the second day after the third meeting that had your bid on their agenda.

Yeah, sorry about the local realtor – she really wants nothing to do with the Tiny House movement.

I hope I answered most of your questions!

Sincerely,
Denise Rosner

On Apr 25, 2016, at 12:34 PM, David wrote:

I am trying to decide if Spur is still a viable option for my new winter home. I believe neither Conor nor Benjamin are any longer involved so I am not sure who I should ask.

I understand that anything under 900 square feet requires a variance, permits and inspections. So when does the city council meet and do they just consider variances or grant them on the spot? Also who grants permits and how long does take? And if you could point me to the codes that must be adhered to, that would be great. I have been a builder for years so unfortunately I understand the red tape involved. My intention was to build from the ground up as I can do it much cheaper than a house on wheels but that might be easier as it would likely bypass some inspections. I ask all of these questions because I need to determine if I can go, choose a lot, get a variance, purchase said lot after a variance is granted, get a permit and get work started on a foundation in a short amount of time. I do buy properties sight unseen but never one that requires a variance. A major portion of the build I would handle from Wisconsin and come to Spur or wherever to do some of the work saving me money. I routinely buy and or renovate properties from afar so it’s no big deal for me.

I did talk to real estate agent there in Spur a few weeks ago trying to get some questions answered but she was unaware that the City Of Spur had ordinances regarding buildings of under 900 square feet so I saw no need to ask her more.

Thanks for you answers or pointing me in the right direction.

iDAVID The Painter

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