small house: zoning, jobs, schools
I found this forum when doing internet research on small house design and construction.
As a newbie, I apologize for rushing with a long post, but I wanted to make it clear where I am coming from.
Me and my wife are have always lived in urban apartments of no more 600 sq feet. With one or maximum two kids coming up, a 1,000/1,200 sq ft house is all we need.
We are young scientists working in academia, thus, can only find jobs in metro areas with hi tech jobs like San Fran, NYC, Boston, DC, Minneapolis etc. We currently make 100K combined, and, being foreigners, do not have parents to help us with a down payment. Thus, "standard" single famliy $600K 2,500 sq ft american houses in the metro areas mentioned above are out of question (even if I had $600K I would not buy a McMansion). Let's say I want to build for $200,000, including land, how ever small house and plot of land I can squeeze into this amount.
Finally, I have chemical sensitivity and get sick in standard woodstick-fiberglass-plywood houses.
Therefore, I was very excited to discover the "small house movement". Hey, I could build a tiny house to my own requirements, knowing exactly what goes into it, with the best materials with least outgassing. The idea is to get a prefab steel house.
The main problem with small houses that I could not find an answer for was:
***If you want your kids to go to a decent drug-free school, how can you get a zoning permit to build a small house in a decent neighborhood, if all of the houses around you are 3000 sq ft mansions?***
And even if you get a permit, don't you run into nosy neighbors who fear their precious plywood mansions losing value?
So far all resources I have found on small houses seemed to be for people who can afford to build a 5,000 sq foot house, but chose to build a 500 sq foot one just to make a point. As a result, these small houses are all in deserts/mountains/wooded areas in Montana/Nevada/Northern Minnesota where there are no zoning rules and, coindidentally, no jobs. It was not clear how someone with a commute and kids in school can build a small house.
Again, I apologize for the long post.