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The Future of DC’s Tiny Houses

by Lark Turner

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A tiny house moving off the lot of the former Boneyard Studios. Courtesy of Boneyard Studios.

Now that the cofounders of Boneyard Studios, formerly a collection of tiny houses in DC’s Stronghold neighborhood, have gone their separate ways, what’s next for the lot at 21 Evarts Street NE — and for the city’s tiny house movement?

In August we reported that two of the three tiny houses on the lot owned by Brian Levy were moving out. Levy would stay behind. The three had disagreed over the governance of Boneyard Studios and over one particularly thorny issue: Sewage. Though none of the three were technically allowed to live on-site, it was made clear in several interviews with Levy, Jay Austin and Lee Pera that at various points at least one of them was regularly living there.

Now Levy is starting up a new venture called Micro Showcase, and is outlining his version of what caused the break-up on his website. Levy says the three “fundamentally” disagreed on how to spread and grow the micro movement, but also says Pera took too long to construct her own tiny house and targets Austin for not disposing of waste properly.

The backdrop to the conflict on the lot was a zoning rewrite amended to specifically address camping in alleys and target Boneyard. It probably didn’t help that Councilman Kenyan McDuffie’s house backs right up onto the lot. Eventually, Boneyard’s relationship with the city turned sour. In an interview detailing a plan to more explicitly prohibit “camping in alleys” — and living at Boneyard Studios — in the zoning code, Office of Planning’s Jennifer Steingasser said the tiny homes weren’t homes at all. She mentioned the sewage issue, too.

“Let’s be clear: They’re not homes. They’re trailers,” Steingasser said in August. “Having people living in them could be an issue because they’re not hooked up to city sewer and water.”

Levy now says he wants to turn the lot at 21 Evarts into a learning environment. School groups and micro-enthusiasts continue to tour the site and Levy’s own micro home, Minim House, which has won several architectural awards.

Levy told UrbanTurf he wants to make the site “a showcase of high quality micro housing and green technologies that inspires exploration on how to live well, sustainably.”

Meanwhile, as they search for a new place for Boneyard Studios to call home in the city, Pera and Austin are camping in separate backyards in Brookland. Pera did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

See other articles related to: tiny houses dc, tiny house, tiny homes, boneyard studios

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the_future_of_dcs_tiny_houses/9689

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