Proposed Thunderbolt amendment could affect what's allowed to be parked on personal property

Proposed Thunderbolt amendment could affect what's allowed to be parked on personal property

Thunderbolt - Some residents in Thunderbolt are keeping a close eye on an amendment to a zoning ordinance that could affect what won't be allowed to be parked on their property.

On that list in question are vehicles exceeding 20 feet, 10,000 pounds, and tiny homes.

WTOC's Sean Evans spoke to one former Thunderbolt resident and firefighter, who lives in one of those tiny homes, about how difficult working around zoning ordinances can be for the tiny home dweller.

Tiny homes are becoming more and more popular for people who want to leave a smaller carbon footprint, or just downsize to a more manageable space.

"Originally I wanted to live in an RV, discovered tiny houses in my research and thought, wow. That's a much homier idea. It seems so much more livable, and I love it," said Nicki Davis, tiny home owner.

Davis' interest in tiny home living even gained her notoriety. She was featured on an episode of HGTV's House Hunters.

"Aired in December around the time this was delivered," said Davis.

But Davis found that once she had her tiny home on her own plot of land in Thunderbolt, that it caused some big issues, especially with town officials even though she says it was there temporarily.

"The zoning administrator was waiting there in the driveway for the house to be delivered, before it even got there, just to let me know that it wasn't ok to live in that house in Thunderbolt," said Davis.

Davis says she was even taken to court by a neighbor who didn't want the tiny home on the lot, but the judge ruled in her favor since the tiny home is tagged as an RV, which is allowed under the current ordinance.

Davis has since moved her tiny home to a farm in Effingham County. But the issue of tiny homes and where they do or don't fit in around Thunderbolt has since come up in a draft of a zoning ordinance amendment.

That amendment draft not only included prohibiting tiny homes from residentially zoned property, but also RV's, campers, any motor vehicle longer than 20 feet, trailers or any part of semi-trucks.

The draft of the zoning amendment was not on the agenda for a second reading and vote in October.

The Town Attorney will be working with Planning and Zoning on a new draft at the request of the Thunderbolt City Council.

Davis' tiny home is currently located on Green Bridge Farms, a sustainable community project in Guyton. For more information on the farm and sustainable living, click here.

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