Joe Callantine has both the desire and the vision to live tiny in community. He has already built and lived in his own tiny house, he owns the land for the tiny community, and now he is working through the legal and regulatory steps to make his dream a reality. Joe is incredibly patient, kind, and does a great job of describing how this process works. As more and more people build tiny houses, the demand for legal tiny house parking is rising so that people who do want to live legally don’t have to question whether they’re allowed to live in their tiny homes.
In This Episode:
- How survivalism led to an interest in tiny homes
- Zoning challenges and prejudices that make tiny house communities difficult to build
- All about Joe’s tiny home, Meraki – and what she taught him
- Could tiny homes be the new “starter home”?
- Why not a co-op? Joe’s thoughts on running a tiny home community
- How to design your tiny home like an electrician
- Should you be skirting your tiny home?
Links and Resources:
Joe Callantine is the founder of and President/CEO of Life Size: Tiny Communities. He is currently an electrician in Colorado Springs, CO, a tiny home enthusiast, and a DIY tiny homeowner.
In 2018 he realized there is a big problem with tiny homes being allowed for full-time living because of the regulatory “gray area” they fall in with cities and counties. Thus he began his journey to bring community-style tiny home living into the mainstream. The housing market desperately needs more attainable options.
This Week's Sponsor:
PrecisionTemp is making one product to solve two issues that I know everyone deals with in a tiny house: running out of hot water and heating your tiny house. PrecisionTemp has made the amazing TwinTemp Junior propane tankless water heater, which provides unlimited hot water for your tiny house and hydronic heating. This means you get warm heated floors, so there are no cold spots. It's designed specifically for tiny houses and features whisper-quiet operation as well as high efficiency. If you want more information on how PrecisionTemp can help make living tiny easier and more comfortable visit precisiontemp.com. While you're there, use the coupon code THLP for $100 off any PrecisionTemp unit plus free shipping.
Joe's initial builder plans changed, so he finished his tiny house himself
He named it Meraki, a Greek word that means to put part of yourself into what you're doing
His tiny home has no gas, only electricity
He has replaced the vanity and the toilet in the bathroom
When he gets settled into Bonsai Village, he has plans to run some things on solar power
Lots of windows and recessed lighting make Meraki nice and bright
Joe originally planned for a 100 amp cord, but had to change to a 50 amp due to regulations
50 amps turned out to be more than adequate for running everything all at once – even the washer!
Joe's trailer sunk quite a bit during his build, but he was able to level it out again
Joe Callantine 0:00
It will technically have the zoning designation of RVP. That fact has the surrounding community beside themselves. You know, Ethan, NIMBYism is alive and well.
Ethan Waldman 0:17
Joe Callantine and has both the desire and the vision to live tiny in the community. He already has built and lives in his own tiny house, he owns the land for the tiny community, and now he is working through the legal and regulatory steps to make his dream a reality. Joe is incredibly patient and kind and just great at describing how this whole process works. So as more and more people build tinies there's more demand for finding places to park and also more people who want to live legally and don't want to question whether they are allowed to live in their tiny house or not. And so Joe is just another guy who is pursuing that and doing it in a way that is going to bring other tiny dwellers along with him. I hope you stick around.
I'd like to tell you about the sponsor of today's episode PrecisionTemp. PrecisionTemp is making one problem to solve two issues that I know everyone deals with in a tiny house, running out of hot water and heating your tiny house or skoolie. PrecisionTemp has made the amazing TwinTemp Junior propane tankless water heater, which provides unlimited hot water for your tiny house and hydronic heating. This means you get warm heated floors so there are no cold spots. It's designed specifically for tiny houses and features whisper quiet operation as well as high efficiency. If you want more information on how PrecisionTemp can help make tiny living easier and more comfortable. Visit precisiontemp.com. While you're there, use the coupon code THLP for $100 off any PrecisionTemp unit plus free shipping. That website again is precisiontemp.com, coupon code THLP for $100 off any PrecisionTemp unit plus free shipping. Thank you so much to PrecisionTemp for sponsoring our show
Right. I am here with Joe Callantine. Joe is the founder and President/CEO of Life Size Tiny Communities. He is currently an electrician in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a tiny home enthusiast and a DIY tiny homeowner. In 2018. He realized there is a big problem with tiny homes being allowed for full time living because of the regulatory gray area they fall in with cities and counties. Thus he began his journey to bring community style tiny home living into the mainstream housing market desperately needs more attainable options. Joe Callantine, welcome to the show.
Joe Callantine 3:16
Thank you for having me, Ethan.
Ethan Waldman 3:17
Yeah, you're very welcome. Thanks for being here. I was hoping we could just start with you. You know, can you tell us kind of your your tiny story how you found out about tiny houses and what led you to want to become a DIY tiny house dweller?
Joe Callantine 3:35
That's a loaded question early on here.
Ethan Waldman 3:37
Joe Callantine 3:38
Ethan Waldman 3:39
I didn't, I didn't realize it was a loaded question.
Joe Callantine 3:41
Oh, no, it's totally fine. I have to preface a little bit with what really kind of got me into just sustainable living. And, yeah, at one point in my mid 20s, I believe that the world was just going to well go awry, and it would be every man for themselves. So I set out to learn how to be self sustaining as I possibly could. So it sent me down the path of renewable energy, I actually hold a degree in photovoltaic design, which photovoltaic is just a fancy word for solar. So I know a lot about solar and storage capacity with batteries. And it also had me question well, what happens if my solar breaks and who fixes that? So that obviously set me off onto the path of becoming an electrician because electricians are the people who work on solar panels and the inverters and the wiring and things like that to connect to your home or business?
Ethan Waldman 4:44
Joe Callantine 4:44
And between the two of them. I figured it was a great marriage between being electrician and having the hands on technical skills, as well as the the knowledge of the the college degree and how how to design solar systems and how Now they work within the house.
Ethan Waldman 5:01
Joe Callantine 5:02
And throughout all of that process, I learned a whole lot about backyard homesteading and regenerative agriculture and really just tried to be as self sustaining as I possibly could. And then when I relocated from Seattle, Washington to Denver, Colorado, in 2017, I stumbled across the tiny home movement. And to me, it was that third pillar in myself the sustainability, because it's a lot easier to power us a smaller home, or a tiny home, if you will, with solar than it is to have a larger more traditional style home.
Ethan Waldman 5:46
Joe Callantine 5:46
And to me, it just it, it was the last piece of the equation, if you will. So I started digging into tiny homes and what it what the issues are what people are saying, and then the movement as a whole meeting, Jay Shafer, throughout this whole process was actually kind of cool. You know, he's the grandfather of tiny home of the tiny home movement. So it's like, how do we how do we incorporate all these cool things? And then, throughout my research and development of research at this point, I guess the the issues started creeping in, as far as why cities and counties are reluctant to allow tiny homes on a full time permanent basis, and how we would be able to answer the questions that they have as an industry and be able to provide those solutions. And now as the real estate market has become what it has, where people are really frantically looking for attainable options. Now, I think is a good time to be able to usher in that, like you've mentioned, my intro, the community development, the community aspect of tiny living.
Ethan Waldman 7:01
Yeah. Wow. That's that's that there? I have a lot of follow up questions there. I mean, you know, the mission, then is to create these, you know, this community template. Where are you in that process?
Joe Callantine 7:21
That's a great question. The, our first Community is underway in the beginning stages. So we have chosen to locate Bonsai Village, our first premier community.
Ethan Waldman 7:37
Joe Callantine 7:38
Thank you. In El Paso County, Colorado, which is the state of El Paso County is Colorado Springs. So we're right smack in the middle of the the front range of Colorado. And we've chosen El Paso County, largely because of the fact that in 20, late 2017, they essentially legalized tiny homes. So El Paso County passed legislation essentially expanded the - as much as I disagree with the route that they chose - because they expanded their recreational vehicle Park zoning districts,
Ethan Waldman 8:18
Joe Callantine 8:18
And tiny homes, of course, we are trying to emerge and be stand on our own two feet, if you will, getting away from the temporary-ness, if that's a word, of campers and RVs. So, but the fact of the matter is, they have the legislative infrastructure in place. So I have purchased 29 and a half acres on the west side of Colorado Springs in a little mountain community that is called Cascade/Torpedo Park. And with this 29 and a half acres working with the county, we've deemed that this could be a good option for setting up shop or our first community. We are anticipating the official application of our rezone which the rezoning is the next immediate step because there is, well, we can't we can't just put the tiny homes on the current zoning designation. So we're expecting our application to go in just after the first of the year. And with all fingers and toes crossed, we'll go down through the next six to nine months through this rezoning process,
Ethan Waldman 9:31
Joe Callantine 9:31
of which there'll be public hearings, and there'll be meetings with the planning commission and then ultimately, the Board of County Commissioners will make a decision whether to approve or to approve or deny our project.
Ethan Waldman 9:47
So when it is rezoned because of the way this town went through, its its tiny house legalization. Will it be zoned essentially as an RV park?
Joe Callantine 9:58
Yes, it will be It will technically have these zoning designation of RVP. And this, that back in and of itself has the the neighbors, the surrounding community kind of beside themselves. You know, boy, Ethan NIMBYism is alive and well, in our little community here is, it's across the country, because a lot of people don't understand who we are as tiny home people.
Ethan Waldman 10:32
Joe Callantine 10:33
And they make the assumption that it will be a blight on the surrounding community. And it's largely because of the fact that they have a lot of misinformation.
Ethan Waldman 10:43
Joe Callantine 10:43
And what I have been trying to do as a public outreach and as the, quote unquote, face of lifestyles, tiny communities is to help regain control of the narrative, and to paint the better picture of who we are as tiny home people, and why we are choosing this lifestyle, because that's what it comes down to is the fact that it is a lifestyle. And yes, a lot of us choose tiny for the financial reasons, because, well, I spent about $74,000, building my tiny home. And that is a far, far cry from the median price point of a single family home here, here in Colorado, which is a half a million dollars. $500,000 Is what you're probably going to be paying if you're buying a home in the state of Colorado.
Ethan Waldman 11:38
Wow. That's yeah, I mean, and that's unfortunately happening in a lot of places around the country. And I'm curious, I want to back up a little bit and just ask you kind of the follow up is like, what are some of the the common misconceptions that you're hearing from the community around your tiny home community?
Joe Callantine 12:01
The biggest thing is the the stigma that surrounds existing RV parks, or campgrounds, which have a lot of full time residents, and also in tandem, the the stigma that surrounds traditional mobile home parks. Yeah, I don't, I don't want to speak ill of any of that, because it certainly serves a purpose. And there are, there are needs that are being met by those parks, the mobile home campgrounds, and I get that. And this is where it becomes personal for me, Ethan. My mom lives in a trailer park. And when the last the last time I saw her was probably six or eight years ago, maybe 10. And I stepped foot in her trailer, and it broke my heart. Because it was a it's it's falling apart. It's dilapidated. And unfortunately, my mom is not doing well, health-wise. And she doesn't have the capacity or the resources to be able to repair the things that need to be repaired. And that's why we get the stigma, because there's a lot of that. And it is unfortunate, and I would love to be able to go and help my mom. But yeah, she is not one that's willing to take the help. And I guess it's a pride thing at that point, you know, but yeah, yes. Is there there's there's a significant amount of that. And that is what a lot of people are afraid of that when we get that RVP zoning designation that there's going to be a bunch of 1982 Shasta campers that are just going to be hanging out in the space. And you'll have the Ford GT Mustang up on blocks out in the front yard kind of scenario.
Ethan Waldman 14:01
Yeah, yeah. So there's there are some stereotypes and some stigma associated with RV parks. And because the tiny houses are kind of using that same zoning there, they're being lumped in in the same misconceptions, oftentimes misconceptions.
Joe Callantine 14:19
That is exactly what it is. And then there's other development concerns that they do ask about as far as how we're handling water and wastewater. And then of course, fire concerns. As of late, Colorado certainly has been targeted by mother nature, it seems with wildfires. And these they're all legitimate concerns. And they're, they all have the legitimate solutions, however, because the the NIMBY has really taken hold that they have the stands of, "Don't confuse me with the facts. I've already made up my mind."
Ethan Waldman 14:57
Joe Callantine 14:58
So when I'm trying to explain, "Hey, this is what we're actually doing and this is how we can solve this, this issue." They just won't even listen to me.
Ethan Waldman 15:08
Yeah. That sounds hard. And unfortunately, sometimes, sometimes government is needed to force that change. Because, you know, nobody. You know, it sounds like that there are certain people opposing this that just think that you're going to kind of, for lack of a better term, you know, trash up the town, and kind of make things worse, for those who have a lot. And there might not be a way to convince them, you know, you can you can be out there showing them "Hey, I, you know, Hi, I'm Joe, I live tiny, like, you know, I want to be a member of the community, I want to pay taxes. I have pride in my home, like it's, I maintain it, it looks great." But who knows? That's, that's a tough situation to be in.
Joe Callantine 16:01
Well, we are, we've been working with the county for some time now. And we certainly have the interest and support for the lack of a better term of the county, they can't come out and say, "Hey, we're doing this" because they have to go through the legislative was not legislated. They have to go through the process by law. And they can't say, "Yep, let's do it." Because there is there's the laws in place that we have to follow to be able to get this approved.
Ethan Waldman 16:29
Joe Callantine 16:31
So to your point, where we are hoping that because of that support of the government, that we'll be able to say, "Hey, we answered all the questions, we've we've put all the checkmarks in the boxes, and this helps provide a solution for attainable home ownership."
Ethan Waldman 16:49
Joe Callantine 16:49
And hopefully, they they see that they being the government, and that we can get the approvals that we need.
Ethan Waldman 16:56
Nice. So then, now that we've chatted a bit about that, and I certainly want to talk more about it, I do want to hear about your own tiny home and your own story, they're sure where to begin.
Joe Callantine 17:09
So it was, I want to say spring of 2018. After I was really kind of putting in a lot of time and effort into an energy into the home. Well, what's the what's really the problem? What's really going on with tiny homes, and why can't we just buy them or build them and live in them. And I had, at one point partnered up with a local tiny home builder, and was working with them because they were talking about community development. Looking back now. And everything that I have gone through with the community development side of things, there, there is no way that they would have been able to focus on building the the tiny home building like construction part of the business, as well as doing the community development stuff, because I look at it a house divided doesn't stand, right. And if you're trying to do two different business models at the same time, it's a little bit of a challenge.
Ethan Waldman 18:11
Yeah, it's so much. It really is a lot.
Joe Callantine 18:16
So throughout that process, I originally was going to be helping them with the construction side of things as an electrician, of course, I'm very familiar with the construction process, and how all that goes together. And then the the question was asked is like, "Well, what do what does the company need to be able to get really moving in the in the construction side of things?" And they're like, "Well, we need a model." So my thought was like, "Okay, I will personally finance the construction of this of the first home, the model home. And then they would be able to use it for a model. And ultimately, I would take ownership of it and live in it."
Things didn't go according to plan. And part of the way through my shell building process, there was some issues and I took leave, I left the organization and brought my home with me that ultimately turned it into a DIY scenario. So it's like, okay, I have this giant, I mean by giant I mean, it's technically bigger than the average tiny home. I am. And we're talking about that. I'll give you the specs.
Ethan Waldman 19:22
Yeah, please do.
Joe Callantine 19:23
Yeah, her name is Meraki. Meraki is Greek for to put a little of oneself into what you do. Hmm, there is no English translation. So Meraki is Meraki. And I think it's a little under exaggerated because I put a lot of who I am into this.
Ethan Waldman 19:43
Joe Callantine 19:45
So I moved to a different location and I have finished building. Oh, this back. Sorry. It is 37 feet long. Okay, eight and a half feet wide. And then 13 Six tall. So pretty standard. My square footage is approximately 320. Overall, however, my livable square footage is about 289. Because I have a garage. Not a lot of tiny homes have garages, but I do. I can't put my car in it. But like my tools, my snowboard gear, all that kind of stuff fits in there very nicely. And it's outside of my actual living space, which is great.
Ethan Waldman 20:22
Yeah, that is nice.
Joe Callantine 20:24
So moved it to the next place in up in Lakewood, Colorado, which is just west of Denver. And then a couple years, essentially, just getting it all together. And knowing what I know. Now, I probably should have used a professional builder. But I have I've learned a lot of fantastic things. And when I say it like I'm in my office right now, which is above my bathroom. That's why I'm I'm so close to the ceiling. I did learn a lot. And if I do ever build another one, it will be much better and will take less time for sure.
Ethan Waldman 21:01
Yes, yes. Do you plan to build another one? Maybe, maybe?
Joe Callantine 21:07
Yeah. If you were to ask me a year ago, the answer would have been definite no.
Ethan Waldman 21:11
Joe Callantine 21:12
But now that I'm so I moved when we closed on the property for Bonsai Village. It was September this past September. And I've been I've been living in it since I have, there's been things that I've had to change. So I had to pull out the original toilet because it wasn't as functional as I thought it was going to be. I had to pull out the original vanity in the bathroom because it was one of those little teeny, teeny skinny ones, you know, that's hanging up on the wall.
Ethan Waldman 21:40
Joe Callantine 21:40
And I had a mirror with the shelves and things like that. And the very first day, even the very first day, I was brushing my teeth, getting ready for bed, and I leaned down to spit into the sink, and I hit my head on the shelf.
Ethan Waldman 21:53
Oh, no. Okay.
Joe Callantine 21:56
So I had to change out the vanity. But as I as I go through, and I'm living in it, and I'm feeling the tweaks and adjustments, and I'm like, "Well, if I do another tiny home, I know I can do this differently and that differently to make it flow a little bit better and functional." So yeah, it might be in the future.
Ethan Waldman 22:17
Yeah, well, maybe maybe the one the first one that you built will become a home available for rent in the village or actually I should ask is Is the community is the idea that that there will be tiny houses built there that people can rent? Or is it a bring your own tiny home situation?
Joe Callantine 22:33
We really like the idea of BYOH, Bring your own home. Just because the fact that I've I've got a laundry list of people that I know of that are just like me, that already have a tiny home, we just need a legal place to put it. And I have I've had friends relocate halfway across the state because the fact that they wanted a legal place to park their tiny home. So they left one side to move to a place that actually has legal parking just that way they can actually live in their home.
Ethan Waldman 23:04
It's a it's a big it's a big hurdle. I mean, it's it's probably the one other than the financing. It's probably the biggest thing that's stopping more people from living tiny. Yes,
Joe Callantine 23:19
I agree. 100%. Whenever I'm having conversations to the lay folk of people who are not in the tiny home industry, that there's the there's three main problems with tiny homes. Number one, where do we put them? Number two, how do we pay for them? And number three, how do we insure them?
Ethan Waldman 23:39
Joe Callantine 23:40
And I listened to your podcast with Janet and discussing the ASTM initiative, which myself individually as well as Life Size Tiny Communities as a company is in full support of the ASTM initiative. Because once we have a standard in place, then we know how all tiny homes across the country and across the globe really need to be built.
Ethan Waldman 24:10
Joe Callantine 24:11
When you know that then insurance companies are like, "Well, we can insure this because we know how it is put together."
Ethan Waldman 24:18
Joe Callantine 24:18
And then once you have insurance, then the financial institutions are going to be like, "Well, our money is being protected because of the insurance company. So yeah, we can lend on that." And then if only if only we have a company that was working on places to be able to put these things.
Ethan Waldman 24:34
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And there there are some there are a few other, you know, developers here and there that you hear of, you know, putting together tiny house communities in different models. Sometimes they build tiny houses. Sometimes it's bring your own home. What do you think makes tiny communities unique? Or what do you what do you envision for tiny life sized tiny communities that that you know, you don't see other developers doing?
Joe Callantine 26:04
I think the thing that sets us apart is the fact that we're wanting to put something together that is replicable.
Ethan Waldman 26:14
Joe Callantine 26:15
that's duplicatable. So I've gone through and I've looked at some of these other communities, and they're out there, and they're great. And they're full, which is awesome.
Ethan Waldman 26:25
Yeah, they are always full, actually,
Joe Callantine 26:28
Always full. And being able to have something that we can take the best of the best, and the cream of the crop and put it into this nice little package that I can go to any city, any county across the country and say, "Hey, you have a housing problem. Let's look at this as a solution." That's what I'm trying to accomplish. And and ultimately, Ethan, what I'd like to be able to do is create any home subdivisions, if that makes sense.
Ethan Waldman 26:57
Joe Callantine 26:58
Where we can have relative sized parcels of lands, and put on all the infrastructure where we can get the all you got to do is we'll your tiny home in and you're good, and then you're considered single family, you're you can start building the equity, you can start achieving that American dream, whatever that means. And usually it's, it's tied directly to home ownership. And that's why the missing middle that a lot of cities and counties talk about as far as those starter homes, for example, you know, starter homes don't really exist anymore, because developers aren't making them anymore. They're not building up.
Ethan Waldman 27:35
Joe Callantine 27:35
So if we're able to flip the real estate, the residential real estate market on its head, and say, stop building these giant 2,500 - 3,000 - 4,000 square foot houses on this little tiny piece of land, because most of the land is taken up by the house. Right?
Ethan Waldman 27:54
Joe Callantine 27:55
I mean, you got a little little spot out in the front that your Chihuahua can go take a pee, you know, heaven forbid, you have a bigger dog like a German shepherd or something like that. So if we're able to shift that paradigm, where we can create these parcels of land, and we can put tiny homes on them, whether we're building them, or you have your own whatever, and we'd be able to scale that into a volume that is affordable.
Ethan Waldman 28:22
Joe Callantine 28:23
And that's the deal where we can have a package where you buy the land, you can get a tiny home from a builder of your choosing, and then your good. And as the ASTM initiative continues to progress, and we can start getting the insurance and then the financing piece of this, where somebody took out a 30 year mortgage, or the combination of their tiny home and their, their land, because at that point, a mortgage makes sense because it's attached to the land, but it's still a tiny home, and it should still retain its mobility piece, because that's appealing to a lot of people. Like for me, for example, when I moved from Seattle, Washington to Denver, I've the thought has crossed my mind several times how cool it would have been to just drag my home from Seattle to Denver and setup got, right.
Ethan Waldman 29:13
That's the dream.
Joe Callantine 29:15
Yeah, it is. And it really is. And the other thing that I would like to accomplish with LSCC, Life Size Tiny Communities, is to essentially build enough of these where people can have bits of ownership and be able to like say for example, you're a snowbird and you want to be in Colorado for the winter, because you want to go skiing or you want to go snowboarding, but then the summer time you prefer something different. You want to be at the beach so you go to California you go to Florida, you go up to New England, for example, you know, something like that. I mean, summers up there in Vermont are probably pretty awesome. I would imagine.
Ethan Waldman 29:55
Joe Callantine 29:55
Yeah. So that's just my I brain thinking of how I, how I can help contribute to the tiny home movements. And right now, the need is quickly surpassing the resistance from cities and counties.
Ethan Waldman 30:14
Joe Callantine 30:15
Which is, as you mentioned earlier, is the biggest hurdle. And that's what we're trying to accomplish.
Ethan Waldman 30:20
So what's in terms of Bonsai Village? What's like? I guess you've been you've been hearing this resistance, you've been working with the town, where where exactly? Are you in the process? Is there like a vote coming up? Is there a hearing or something like, what's next?
Joe Callantine 30:38
Not the voting and hearings will be coming up, we're anticipating probably in the next six to nine months is what we're quoted, if you will, the next immediate step will be our official application, which we are anticipating just after the first of the year. And once that really is the application in of itself has been the last probably four months worth of heavy engineering work. I've had multiple different surveyors out here on the property and back and forth with my engineering team back and forth with my own internal team, our PR folks, and it's just, it's a lot of stuff.
Ethan Waldman 31:21
Joe Callantine 31:22
to really kind of zero in on the laundry list. I mean, we're talking, I think it's close to 20 different types of documents that the county wants us to present up to, and including a basic site plan of what we think this is going to look like, when it's constructed. And of course, that's 2d at this point.
Ethan Waldman 31:44
Joe Callantine 31:45
Eventually, it'll be it'll become a 3D render. But we've got it, we had to gather all these documents and produce things and put stuff in AutoCAD and all of that. So that way, we can say, "Okay, here's our official submission, El Paso County. What do you think?" And then from there, there's going to be some additional back and forth from the comments and questions and things from the actual county officials or the county engineer, wastewater, water folks, fire departments, everybody's gonna basically weigh in on what we think we want to do here. And throughout this process, there's also going to be public comment. The public, of course, will be able to express their concerns raised their questions, and ultimately it should they decide that there could be there's the potential of lawsuits, lawsuits coming in saying we don't want this. And we're suing to basically shut the project down. I hope it doesn't come to that. But it is it is a very real possibility. The NIMBYs are really adamant about not wanting this in there. I guess it would be in their front yard in this case. But yeah, yeah, there. So that's, that's the next immediate step.
Ethan Waldman 33:06
Wow. Wow. So it's still still a long road ahead, potentially.
Joe Callantine 33:10
Yes, six to nine months is what they're anticipating if everything goes smoothly, and we will ultimately go to the planning commission. So planning commission is the group of folks that basically decide, okay, how do we want the county to look in the next 20 years, and we make our case, they hear our side, they hear the other side of the the surrounding community, and then they would make a recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners.
Ethan Waldman 33:42
Joe Callantine 33:42
So once they make the recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners, we do that all over again, we have another hearing where we're actually talking to the board, and the Board of County Commissioners, here's our side, here's the other side, and then they make a decision to approve or deny the rezone. If they approve it, then everything is great. And we move forward with construction.
Ethan Waldman 34:07
Yeah. All right. Well, and then in terms of the community itself, what will be the model that you see working in terms of like, will people rent their spot? Will they will they buy in like a co op? Like, what's the what's the membership model there?
Joe Callantine 34:24
Ooh, talk about another loaded question.
Ethan Waldman 34:27
Or maybe you don't know yet.
Joe Callantine 34:28
Oh, no. Yeah, we've definitely decided.
Ethan Waldman 34:30
Joe Callantine 34:33
I spent months on this question alone, even trying to determine what is going to be the best course of action for this first community. I looked at Co Op, I've looked at just straight sales. I've certainly looked at the leasing aspect, which by the way, is the the direction that we are going. And the reason why we're doing the lease is because it's the least convoluted the the easier to manage and to employ in the real world. And on that side is, as far as like investors are concerned, it's easy for them to put their money in, which is what we need them to do. Because they know well, it's going to be X number of tiny homes, and there's going to be X number of dollars every month for however many years and it's, it's easy for them to commit.
Ethan Waldman 35:34
Joe Callantine 35:35
So as we grow through this, not only this first community, but the next couple of communities that like I said, the the tiny home subdivision aspects, that will be it'll be a new endeavor at that point. Like, we don't know, how many people are actually going to be able to buy the little plots of land in our division. So it's a big question. The Co Op aspect, oh, man, I spent a lot of time just on the co op aspect. Because there's, there's a lot of appeal of like minded individuals, like we have in the tiny home world, because we're, we're tiny home people.
Ethan Waldman 36:14
Joe Callantine 36:15
we like that. The sustainability aspect. And then when I've talked to a lot of real estate professionals in the, about this whole Co Op thing, and it's like, you have 100 people, and everybody's got a differing opinion of things. And how, how do you actually make that decision? What gets done, what doesn't get done? And this is why Greek democracy way back in the day, you know, Socrates and all that Greek democracy, like pure democracy, yeah, failed. Because things weren't getting done. Everybody had a different opinion, everybody had to do thing. And that's why that's why I love our country, the good ol United States of America, because we are a Democratic Republic, and the Republic aspect, we elect these individuals to work on our behalf. And things actually, well, things don't get done properly, as much as they should, but things get done. So the co op aspect is is, is appealing, and I would like to be able to do that. But I don't know how that would actually work in the, in the real world as far as your governing documents and how all those things, but then then you start getting into that whole Republic thing, and it's less of a co op. So it might work on a small scale. So you have 10 people, that could probably be a functional Co Op, in my opinion.
Ethan Waldman 37:41
Speaking just from experience living in in condominiums, and dealing with homeowners associations, I would, I would think that even like minded people, you know, you can get a lot of disharmony when it comes to living together. So I think, I think the leasing aspect is actually smart and potentially appealing to people. Because, you know, the thing that makes tiny homes affordable is the fact that they're disconnected from the land. And for many, I would imagine that, you know, they might be putting their savings into owning their tiny home outright, and they might not be able to buy in, to, to a co op, or to a small parcel of land. So, you know, having options for legal tiny living that is, you know, you're leasing a spot, you're not going to get hassled, you're not going to get asked to leave. All the hookups are there, it's level, it's flat, it's safe. That's appealing.
Joe Callantine 38:41
Level and flat is certainly appealing in and of itself. My tiny home right now, we have. So it is a mountain community. And both on the north and the south sides of this property are mountains. So like on the south side right now, I mean, it's the darkest day of the year, right it's the winter solstice, and so
Ethan Waldman 39:07
it sure is
Joe Callantine 39:08
and I think about 2:30 the sun went behind the mountain and it's just it's done. But because of the way that the land is is relatively flat considering its surroundings, but we do have some topography, and I have I've had a challenge trying to get my tiny home to just be level.
Ethan Waldman 39:27
Oh, yeah. What have you what have you tried? What have you found that works? Or what is working for you right now?
Joe Callantine 39:37
I have I have the the door side which would be the passenger side, way higher on the jack than everything else. Um, and this is just my own thing is like, I think I need to probably have my retires either checked or replaced because I feel like I have a slow leak that's happening and things users are sagging a little bit on one side or the other. And this is just tiny home problems, you know?
Ethan Waldman 40:06
Yeah. Leveling is hard. I have to say I struggle with the same thing in my in my home not having ever parked in a legit spot like, you know, never never having like a prepared spot. So it's always just on a lawn somewhere. Just sinking over time,
Joe Callantine 40:26
I could actually share with you a picture of my my sinkage when I was building.
Ethan Waldman 40:31
Oh, yeah, please do. I'd love to put it in. You know. And, you know, we're seeing each other right now. But I'll put it on the show notes page for the episode. So listeners can check it out. If that's okay with you.
Joe Callantine 40:44
Absolutely. I have a Google Photo album that I documented my entire build process.
Ethan Waldman 40:51
Joe Callantine 40:52
And of course, when I had to fix the sinking because I was on like, good soil. It was in a residential backyard, basically. And it was good dirt. And it's just, it kept going and going and going. And I'm like, I need to do something about this. So I had to go get like, some 12 Ton, whatever, bottle Jacks so I could actually get the thing up off the ground and then pull it all up and then put the dirt back in and shore everything. And it was just it was a Yeah, it was a mess. Yeah.
Ethan Waldman 41:20
So I actually want to chat. So are you do you work as an electrician currently?
Joe Callantine 41:25
Ethan Waldman 41:26
Joe Callantine 41:27
I work full time. So 40 hours a week. And right now we're doing a multifamily apartment building downtown Colorado Springs. Okay. And probably not attainable housing. But it certainly is more housing that we definitely need. But the rental market here as well as throughout Colorado is is insane.
Ethan Waldman 41:48
Joe Callantine 41:48
And that's why people are building multifamily apartments because they know they can get a premium for it because well, we don't have enough housing.
Ethan Waldman 41:56
Right. Right. I suppose it's better than single family stuff.
Joe Callantine 42:00
Yeah. The multifamily versus single family aspect. This is one thing that I really like about tiny homes, is because it's a little bit of both.
Ethan Waldman 42:11
Joe Callantine 42:11
It has the sense of privacy and ownership of single family. Because it's a tiny home, and it's yours. And it has the a little bit of that form and functionality of the multifamily aspect. Because you're able to put the you can have the higher density with the tiny homes versus when you're doing single family that's 2500 square feet, for example. So it's a little bit of the best of both worlds, in my opinion. Yeah, that's what we're, we're trying to achieve that in terms of the community development aspect. Certainly, certainly.
Ethan Waldman 42:46
So have you gotten to where so when you built your tiny house? You were already an electrician, right?
Joe Callantine 42:53
Ethan Waldman 42:53
Joe Callantine 42:54
Yep. I've been an electrician. It'll be, it'll be 10 years there.
Ethan Waldman 42:58
Joe Callantine 43:00
Ethan Waldman 43:01
I'm curious if you can talk a little bit about how you wired your tiny house? Like how, you know, how many amps is the house wired for? Did you do solar? You know, when you built it, it did just talk about, you know, as an electrician, building your own tiny house? What kind of calculations did you do? And how did it all come out?
Joe Callantine 43:26
Sure. That's a great question, actually. Originally, I did what's called the standard calculation based out of the National Electric Code.
Ethan Waldman 43:36
Joe Callantine 43:37
And the standard calculation basically gives me a platform on how I calculate how big of a wire I need to feed my tiny home. And when I did the calculation, I came out to 87 and a half amps. And that's certainly unorthodox in the tiny home world. And that's largely due to the fact that I do not have any gas. I don't I don't have any propane. I my hot water is electric. It's just it's all electric because well, I'm an electrician. So I sized my main panel for 100 amps.
Ethan Waldman 44:13
Joe Callantine 44:14
Because they don't have an 87 and a half amp panel.
Ethan Waldman 44:17
Joe Callantine 44:17
So I've got 100 amp panel, and I actually did, I have two panels, actually, I have my main and I also have a sub my sub panel, I put all my critical loads like the mini split, the refrigerators and plugs and lights. So the the intention behind that was when I do actually get someplace that I'm more permanent where I can actually put solar and I have space in my electrical closet where I'd have I could put a stack of batteries to and an inverter to be able to pull in the solar and do everything the interconnect. Side note on that I actually have oh, I told you about this my degree in photovoltaic design. So I I've made this preparation for the intention of having solar because I still want to be self sustainable. And I want to be able to, you know, help save the planet, really. So as far as the I size everything based off of that calculation, and as it turns out in El Paso County, tiny homes are only allowed to be cord and plug connected. So I can't hard wire my tiny home into a an electrical supply. So for 100 amps, well, there is not an option for cord and plug for 100 amps because they just, they don't make it usually when you get to that size, your hard wiring whatever the equipment is,
Ethan Waldman 45:46
Right, that's, that's a major plug.
Joe Callantine 45:49
Yeah, major plug.
Ethan Waldman 45:52
So they don't do it.
Joe Callantine 45:53
Yeah. So I'm like, "Okay, well, let's see how this goes." So I went got, I replaced my 100 amp main breaker with a 50 amp traditional deal. And I installed the the cord and plugs that up. So I've got the deal on the side of the house that I put the thing in the screws on. And then I got the the other end connected to a traditional style RV 50 amp plug. And in my reluctance, I said. "Okay, I really, I really got to make sure I'm watching all of this." And I went and got one of the power monitor. And I pulled up pulled open the panel and I put the little things on all the circuits and all the main and all this stuff. And I'm sitting here for like the first couple of weeks. I'm watching it, I'm watching it I'm watching. And as it turns out, I can do everything in my home on the 50 amps. And I have yet to exceed even 75% of the capacity on my 50 amp service. And I've I've had the washing machine running the dryer running. I've had the dishwasher running. I've been watching TV I've got the computer on and I've watched it on the power monitor and it's like not even batting an eye. And a friend of mine. She told me she's after I've explained all this to her. She's like, "Joe, I knew you oversized your entire everything and you're tiny." They said, "Oh, you live and learn."
Ethan Waldman 47:17
Yeah, better to oversize it than under size it, of course.
Joe Callantine 47:20
100% 100%. And as far as like sizing goes I did 20 amp circuit breakers and 12 gauge wire on everything. So I'm I have plenty of capacity. As far as that concerned. The only piece of equipment that I didn't put a 20 amp breaker on is my mini split. And that's just because of the fact that the manufacturer says Max fuse is 15 amps. So they only want the capacity of 15 amps running to the mini split. So that's what I put.
Ethan Waldman 47:51
Okay, right. So it would it would trip the fuse if it drew more than 15.
Joe Callantine 47:57
Ethan Waldman 47:58
Got it? Has it been difficult to find parking spots with with enough power?
Joe Callantine 48:04
Well, luckily for me, I went after I left the organization when I started building this. I had a there was a in a backyard of a couple of friends and then I moved to a different backyard of another friend. And I haven't the only power that I really needed was just generator power to build it. And then from there, I we closed on this property. And I moved to directly here.
Ethan Waldman 48:31
Okay, so you're on the property now yourself.
Joe Callantine 48:34
Yes, I am on the property now myself. The main house that is existing, essentially is vacant. I just got it warm enough so that way stuff doesn't freeze. And I have a it's a full 200 amp service in the main house. And I'm only taking 50 amps of that actually, I I took the breaker from the hot tub, because I'd rather have my tiny house than the hot tub.
Ethan Waldman 48:56
Joe Callantine 48:58
I'm starting to regret that now. Maybe I should power up the hot tub.
Ethan Waldman 49:03
So are you technically legal there in with one house on this property?
Joe Callantine 49:08
So that is a good question. I do. Technically I have a project open with the county and I have been working with El Paso County public health as well as regional building department Pikes Peak regional building department and the zoning and planning folk I have a few more documents that I've got to put together. I'm waiting for public health and the State Water Department because I have to submit documents to zoning and planning saying that the current septic system and the current well has the capacity to serve my tiny home. And then I have to give him a little couple sentence explanation on how I'm skirting my tiny home. Once I submit those last three documents then yes, I will be 100% legit with El Paso County.
Ethan Waldman 50:01
Joe Callantine 50:03
Yeah, skirting is definitely a thing because we're in a mountain community. It's a little windy up here. It's a little chilly sometimes at night. And I've had a couple of drain lines freeze over the last couple, I'd say within the last two weeks, and I started putting the rough skirting up with just some OSB and put some foam board on the back of it so that way they kind of helped block in the wind. And we got to make sure people are skirting their tiny homes. Yeah, so how are you setting your tiny um, so right now I just have you know, they they've got OSB which by the way, OSB is usually cheap wood, you know, a couple, three bucks a panel, and it's almost 10 bucks a panel right now. So it's, it's definitely a pricy endeavor just to be able to put skirting on my home. But essentially, I'm just boxing in underneath my trailer, because I did a trailer made custom trailer. And they've got the nice flanges that come out where the walls come down. So I've got lots of space underneath. So I'm just boxing in right now and securing the wood to itself. Basically, as I'm building the box, and I'm putting some nice one inch foam, I guess I say nice, but essentially one inch foam on the backside of that underneath the trailer. So that way, there's a little bit of an R value there.
Ethan Waldman 51:26
Joe Callantine 51:26
And then once I get it all boxed in, I'm probably going to do some type of corrugated metal that maybe probably black to be able to map the trailer. Just so that way there is a little bit of weather resistance to that. So of the when the snow melts, it's going up against the metal as opposed to being on the wood because OSB will soak up moisture like nobody's business. And I'm just trying to do it cheaply and quickly. Because ultimately, this is not where my home is going to sit. Once Bonsai Village is done, then I'm going to be moving on that nice level concrete pad. And then I'll put a more permanent type of skirt.
Ethan Waldman 52:06
Awesome. Well, is there anything that I that I haven't asked you about that you were hoping to kind of talk about? And let the listeners of the of the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast know about?
Joe Callantine 52:18
Oh, no, I think that I think you've pretty much covered a lot. Talking about Bonsai Village is certainly important. Life Size Tiny Communities where we're committed to the tiny home industry. I like to refer to it as an industry more than a movement these days, because we are we're working to legitimize us as an industry, across the world across the globe, really.
Ethan Waldman 52:43
Joe Callantine 52:44
And I like to believe that because I am a tiny home owner. I can connect I can relate to and I can work with the the tiny home industry as a whole. And then of course, as my business partner, once told me the other day says, "Joe, you're the face of this company, and good, bad or indifferent." I like to be able to be that interface between tiny home people. And then the public at large. Yeah, so we can help dispel that misinformation. We can help paint the picture of the lifestyle that we're choosing, and what for whatever reason that people are choosing this lifestyle. We should at the very least have it as an option.
Ethan Waldman 53:32
All right. Well, Joe Callantine thank you so much for being a guest on the show today. It was really wonderful to finally connect and, and hear hear all about Life Size.
Joe Callantine 53:43
Yeah. Again, Ethan, I appreciate you having me on and if anybody's got any questions, or they can always check us out on online, Life Size Tiny Communities, communities is plural. Or you can reach me directly by our website, or just simply Joe@lifesizetinycommunities.com
Ethan Waldman 54:03
Awesome. Yeah. And I'll put links to everything and some photos in on the show notes page for this episode.
Joe Callantine 54:10
Sure, that sounds great.
Ethan Waldman 54:12
Thank you so much to Joe Callantine, for being a guest on the show today. You can find the show notes, including a full transcript at thetinyhouse.net/197. Again, that's thetinyhouse.net/197. Well, that's all for this week. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman, and I'll be back next week with another episode of the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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