The Washington Post recently published a story about a new houseboat company that has run into problems with community resistance. To recap the article Eric Smith and Douglass Dillard recently started a company to build houseboats intended for the Chesapeake Bay. Their prototype is a 55 foot model called the Annapolis and it isn’t exactly a minimalist shanty. The home includes clerestory windows, flat-screen TVs, a vaulted ceiling, wet bar, rooftop sun deck, and swimming platform.
Unfortunately, in many communities floating homes are perceived as nothing more than trailer homes on the water. In addition, Chesapeake had the unfortunate history of a millionaire with a 3-story house atop a barge having ongoing drunken parties on the bay.
When word got out that the couple hoped to establish a neighborhood of floating homes in Chesapeake Bay, the local government sprung into action and forbade any houseboat that: exceeded 46 feet in length, was intended to be used as a house/office, and is not self-propelling.
The builders are now expected to move their prototype within 30 days or they risk daily fines. The full story can be read here.
I am both sad and indignant on their behalf. I wish that mainstream America felt less threatened by innovative solutions to housing. But anything that doesnt look like the next house theyd want to buy or that might have some remote chance of driving down the value of their property it is to be stopped at all costs.
Never mind that a segment of the U.S. population very well may need innovative housing solutions in the next few years.