Tiny house on wheels

LAKE DALLAS — Move-in day for the Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village will be pushed back because the project is being put on pause for a grading permit, which land developer Terry Lantrip said he was only recently made aware of.

About 30 supporters and future residents of the development voiced concerns and excitement about moving to the area during a City Council meeting Thursday evening.

Lantrip said City Hall has been a hindrance by placing roadblocks on the project, while the council has been supportive of the tiny home village. The community was supposed to be ready for residents to move in by April. Now, Lantrip says the opening may not happen until May.

Terry Lantrip

Lantrip

“I’m OK with the city making mistakes — we all make mistakes,” Lantrip said. “But don’t shut down a project because a city forgot something.”

Future residents and City Council members gathered Feb. 9 for the groundbreaking ceremony. Three days later, Lantrip said he was told to stop working on the site because he needed to submit a grading permit, which he says he was not told to submit in the two and a half years he spent working on the development.

Lantrip said Friday he got the grading permit on Feb. 22. The grading permit of 13 tiny homes on one acre of land cost him $1,000. He said he doesn’t know how the city came up with that number.

Lake Dallas City Manager John Cabrales did not respond to calls Friday for clarification on grading permit pricing.

At Thursday’s meeting, Lantrip described the city’s efforts to stall this project and others in the past with three words: hinder, delay, block. He suggested the city take on a new motto to encourage, support and promote projects.

“When you’re doing all this [stalling], it’s not just paperwork — it’s people’s lives,” Lantrip said.

This isn’t the first time tiny homes have received pushback in Denton County. An Aubrey resident in June faced a local code violation and eviction after she was told her tiny home could not reside in another resident’s yard.

Future Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village resident Denise DeHart’s voice shook as she began to voice her concerns to the council, but she leveled out toward the end. She is planning on moving into the community with her mother.

“We’re real people that just want to live here and contribute and volunteer,” DeHart said. “We’re just like everyone else who wants a safe community where we can contribute and be a part of something that’s bigger than ourselves.”

Janayle Borski, another future resident, said she wants to raise her kids in a good community and believes Lake Dallas is a great place for them to go to school. One of her kids is about to start kindergarten.

“I’m excited to live here and I’m excited to bring my family along with me,” Borski said. “I really hope we can call Lake Dallas our home for the next few years.”

Lantrip and B.A. Norrgard, a Dallas resident who has become a national advocate for the tiny homes movement, said the tiny home community was bringing national attention to Lake Dallas. A Facebook group for the village has more than 1,600 members with some from outside of Texas.

Jet Regan, another future resident, echoed this when she said Alexis Stephens and Christian Parsons of the Tiny House Expedition are planning on shooting the Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village for the final part in their documentary series on YouTube. The first two parts of their docu-series have more than 558,000 views total.

Regan read out a statement from Stephens and Parsons in which they called for the city to remove “unnecessary hurdles” on the project.

“Those kind of obstacles can prevent a positive economic growth from coming to Lake Dallas as a result of this project failing,” their statement says.

Lantrip doesn’t know if Lake Dallas will put any more roadblocks on the project.

“We’re just really depending on the city to get everything taken care of,” Lantrip said.

ZAIRA PEREZ can be reached via Twitter at @zairalperez.

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