first_imgCOMMENTARYFreedom to Build Your Home Your WayA home of one’s own has always been part of the American Dream.  Millions of Americans have considered building or moving into a smaller house. Some people want a true “tiny home” smaller than 400 square feet, a cultural phenomenon captured on shows like Tiny House Hunters. Others may just want a small house that’s right-sized and right-priced—for them. Recent action by the Vanderburgh County Commission, spearheaded by Commissioner Cheryl Musgrave, has given people considering a smaller house the right to build a house that’s right for them.To some, smaller houses mean the ability to live in a more ecologically sustainable way, using fewer resources. For others, smaller houses mean a continued ability to live within their financial means, rather than being forced to build a house that’s too large for their budget. And some people just prefer smaller houses to larger ones.Surprisingly, for decades, needless government regulations meant that such dwellings could not have been built in Vanderburgh County without a variance. County ordinances required new houses to be at least 720 square feet. At that size, tiny homes, and even many houses built in the early twentieth century, could not be built legally in Vanderburgh County.It took a year to repeal this excessive regulation. Commissioner Musgrave led the way as unelected bureaucrats in the Area Plan Commission dragged their feet. With the repeal of the 720 minimum square foot rule, Vanderburgh County residents now have greater freedom to live sustainably and affordably. Commissioners Ben Shoulders and Jeff Hatfield also supported this important rule change.“This rule change restores a little bit of freedom that had eroded away,” said Commissioner Musgrave. “Allowing smaller homes will make everyone better off by letting people choose the housing size that is right for them without the government restricting their choice arbitrarily.”New housing must still comply with state building codes and other ordinances. Anyone wishing to build a smaller house should still check with the Building Commissioner and other offices to ensure their plans comply with safety and other regulations.We commend Vanderburgh County Commissioner Cheryl Musgrave for thinking outside the box and taking a common-sense approach against overreaching bureaucratic regulations.  Oh, we are also glad that County Commissioner Jeff Hatfield and Ben Shoulders supported Mrs. Musgrave in this endeavor.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img

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