Tiny house, big problem: Woman's home too small for Pa. laws

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Tiny House, Big Problem: Woman's Home Too Small for Pennsylvania Laws

West View, Pa. (WTAE) -- Rachel Ford is making big decisions: She's decided she doesn't need so much stuff.

Too many clothes in her closet, and when it comes to her kitchen, there's just not enough room in her cabinets.

See more of Rachel Ford's tiny home below:

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Tiny house, big problem: Woman's home too small for Pa. laws
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So before she turns 30 this August she's planning on moving out of her residence into this: a 320-sq. feet home.

"It appeals to me on an economic level," Rachel Ford said. "I work two jobs ... and I don't want to work two jobs forever."

Her new tiny house arrives in March. The budget for her new place is $25,000. Her parents are 100 percent against it though.

"My parents aren't thrilled," Ford laughs. "They think it's a little weird."

But convincing her parents is turning out to be the least of her worries. She's having trouble finding a legal place to put it. Not only is it small it's also on wheels.

"It is very difficult ... I'm not sure why the regulations are in place, but every borough -- not just in Pittsburgh -- has its own rules," Ford said. "So for example I was looking at an economy borough ... and it seems that the minimum square footage is 700-sq. feet."

That's more than twice as big as she ordered. So WTAE went to work calling nine communities and found one area currently considering changing its laws to accept tiny houses: Avalon.

Borough manager Harry Dilmore toured the recent open house of the new tiny house in Garfield along with hundred others. He said the crowd to see the small house is an indication that there is a lot of interest.

"To be able to do that and ride this new trend, we would have to make some changes," Dilmore said. "Right now the borough along with Bellevue and Ben Avon are working on a new comprehensive plan and zoning that now would be the time to make the change.

He says Avalon has a lot of vacant lots and should welcome tiny homes.

But for now, Rachel Ford's home is still not allowed there. She's hoping by the time it gets here she'll have a place to put it to begin her new life of decreasing her things, decreasing her debt and decreasing the impact on the environment.

"I have all this stuff and then I have to find places to put all this stuff ... and I don't really need it, I don't use it ... so I figured why not either give it away or sell it and lessen my footprint in the world," Ford said.

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