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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14 thoughts on “Correspondence that Explains some recent Questions about the New Ordinance”

  1. 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 😉

  2. Just called the tax collectors office only to be told there are only four lots left.Will more be opening up and is there some kind of notification list for those that are interested in purchasing lots?

    1. Hi GG,
      Yes, more lots will continually become available as the attorneys get clear titles on the many, many abandoned lots left here in Spur. No one seems to know when this will be. I’m only told over and over that “things move slowly here in West Texas”.
      But as soon as more lots are available, we will make a note and hopefully have the actual list, right here on Spurfreedom.org. So all I can tell you is, keep checking back.
      Denise

      1. Hi Denise, thanks for answering my questions. Can hardly wait to see Spur for myself. Ill be there with at least two of my sister’s on September20_24 looking around and trying to get a feel for the place. Hope to meet you then. GG.

        1. Sounds good, GG, give me a heads up a few days before you come so I can show you around while you’re here. Denise

          1. Hello Denise. . My sister and I will be there Wed.-Thursday of next week. I hope to meet someone from town. If no one is available that’s fine . We will make our way around. Have a good weekend.

            ANSWERED HER BY EMAIL TO GIVE HER MY PRIVATE INFO.

  3. Hey Denise,

    I have looked through the whole SpurFreedom website and Wow. I would love to live there. I am A happily married husband with two children(9 boy-11 girl) and have been looking to relocate to a small town where I can live in a smallish home and have my own garden – chicken pen and that place sound like heaven. The only things holding me back is a decent paying career and finding a place for tiny home living. Just wanted to talk to someone who has done the transition to tiny. We as a family have been downsizing and have realized you do not need a lot of stuff or space to really live and enjoy Life! I want and desire a simpler life for both my children, wife and myself. A place where you know practically everyone and this place sounds like it is just from reading the whole website and blogs. I am excited and encouraged. I presently live in Hot Humid east central Florida- and I am tired of the rat race here.

    1. Hi Peter,
      Well, it sounds like Spur is the town for you except for the “decent paying career”! Those of us that have already come are either retired or work online. We do have around 4 younger families coming and a couple are planning to open their own business in one of the many empty commercial buildings and one woman is a nurse and will be working in Lubbock where that career might indeed exist. Many people here work in Lubbock. It is only an hour away. For some they balk at the distance but those that do the drive are happy to drive that beautiful hour with no traffic and views as opposed to sitting in traffic or standing on a subway for much longer than that hour in the cities they’re coming from. It is hot here also! But not humid.
      I suggest you come for a visit in person and see and feel if this is indeed the place for you!
      Denise

  4. I would like to come down and see about Spur, Texas and buy 3 Lots so I can come down to live.. I need information who to conact or even a number to whom I need to talk too. Thank-You

    1. Hello and thanks for your interest!

      We’re all very excited by the NBC piece, they did a great job in a few minutes. Stay tuned, they’re planning a longer segment one of these Sunday mornings…we’ll see if that happens.

      As for info about lots and the town, please first read the entire contents of the website. You’ll learn a lot! Then, for info regarding remaining city held lots, please call Laura at the Spur City Hall at 806-271-3316. Beyond that, there are many old, weed overgrown, empty lots or with old houses to be torn down. Those are all privately owned and it will require some effort on your part to research. There are also many large ten to twenty acre parcels around town that many folks are thinking about purchasing as a group. Let us know if you’re interested in that! There is also a planned micro-development pocket layout featuring three to four tiny houses per lot, the builder for that is already here and his name is Danny at 816-718-9247.

      And you can call Rebecca Haney at the Dickens County tax office for info she has at 896.623-5216.

  5. Hi. My name is Irma Miranda and can’t believe the town of spur it looks like a beautiful place to live but as I been reading and looking on line it looks like their is not a lot of land available.but I’m not looking to buy l’m looking for a nice quite peaceful and small place to live and Texas Spur sounds like the place to be living at.do they have tiny house for rent there . I ‘m one person in my early fifties and looking for a new and safety place , very interest in spur . Thank you

    ANSWERED HER BY EMAIL

  6. Hi, My name is Janet and I live in Sacramento, CA. I’ve been interested in tiny house living for quite some time. CA is not tiny house friendly and so over-priced. Unless you wand to live in someone’s backyard or an RV park, move……. Because I’m in CA, I’ve been looking at places in Texas to have my tiny house built. I’ve been looking at real estate, but I want to purchase a tiny piece of land for my tiny house. I want to live near other tiny home owners. Can you help me with that? I’m so tired of living in “busy” and not being happy. I long to ride a bike instead of using my car. If FedEx and UPS come to Spur, TX then I can order organic food online. Oh yes, if a tiny home is not on wheels, does it have to be placed on a cement slab or can it be on cement blocks? I have so many questions before I get started. Does Spur allow Yurts or Container houses?
    Thanks so much and am looking forward to your email.

    REPLIED TO HER BY EMAIL

  7. Hi, I just tried to leave a couple of questions but I don’t think it went through so i’ll ask again. I wont be retiring for three more years, does that mean I cant buy land if I can’t live there right away ? Could you tell me what the approximate taxes would be on an ave size lot ? What would it cost to have a foundation put in?

  8. Hello, Just purchased our 2 lots in the Freeman addition! So excited to start our home. Do you have a link for the building codes/requirements? Need to start studying up! Is there a list of people/businesses to hire for outside services? I checked the businesses listed on this website & didn’t see anything for construction services. We will be doing most of everything ourselves, but we will need to rent a backhoe and maybe retain an electrical contractor, etc. Also, we purchased these lots site unseen. We used google maps to view our property but the images were several years old. Is there anyone in town that you could recommend that might be willing to take current pictures of the lots? We are willing to pay. Thank You! Looking forward to meeting our new neighbors within the next 6 months! – Jeff & Briana

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