Tiny house living debuts in Lemon Cove


In the U.S., where the average square footage of a new home being built is 2,600 square feet, why would someone develop a “tiny house” community? According to owner Dirk Dole, there’s a niche out there for the tiny house, which is typically about 150 square feet.

Here in tranquil Lemon Cove, on the site of the former Lemon Cove-Sequoia Campground, Dole explained that it’s all about location with Three Rivers and the national parks nearby, and the proximity to Visalia for shopping, restaurants, and retail services.

“Not everybody can afford to live in a 2,000-plus square-foot home nor does everyone want to when they cost upwards of $300,000,” said Dole, an Atascadero real estate investor. 

“There is an untapped niche here for singles, seniors, young couples, and those who just want the freedom to pick up and move their home somewhere new every so often,” Dole said.     

Dole is calling his community Lemon Cove Village and boasts that his all-tiny house community (no RVs allowed) is the first of its type in California and maybe in all of the U.S. He said that the no-RVs-allowed policy makes this property unique because all the other tiny house accommodations that he is aware of also allow RVs.

An open house was held this past weekend to allow prospective owners and others to preview the 55 lots on the 11-acre development and all the new amenities.

The entire property is getting a makeover including a new pool, recreation rooms, kitchen, playground, community garden, and coin-operated laundry — all to be shared by tenants living in a tiny house they own. There’s even an apartment on the top floor of the former campground’s main building where prospective tenants can live while they are building their tiny house.

One model, owned by B.A. Noorgard, was on-site during the recent open house and available for tours by the owner who said her 150-square-foot model with some high-end touches like granite counters, composting toilet, and solar power would cost $40,000 to build. The options, the owner said, are nearly endless. 

The advantage in her project, she said, was that she did the majority of the construction herself. That sweat equity translated to a savings of nearly $20,000. 

Typically, the houses are situated on an 18 to 20-foot trailer. According to Dole, they can also be set up on blocks and landscaped, but they need to be able to be moved within 24 hours.

Being mobile also allows the owner to circumvent certain zoning requirements of building a more permanent home. The tiny house simply utilizes the campground hookups. Sewage is disposed of at the property’s dump site similar to what RVers do.

All that’s required to reserve a lot until Lemon Cove Village officially opens on January 1 is a $500 deposit. The first five who reserve sites (two are already reserved) will get the first month’s space rent free. 

Lots rent from $495 to $550 monthly, which pays for the remodeled facilities and ongoing maintenance. To arrange a tour of the property, call (559) 370-4152.

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