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How a Woman’s Dream of Tiny Home Ownership Turned into a Nightmare in Just One Day – Faced with a $1,000 Daily Fine Threat from the City

Source: Business Insider

Alegal battle has begun between a woman and her city after she was threatened with a $1,000 daily fine for residing in a tiny home, leaving her homeless. Chasidy Decker, a Meridian, Idaho, resident, could not afford to purchase a home, so she decided to live in a 250-square-foot tiny home located on Robert Calacal’s large property for a monthly payment of $600, as stated in the lawsuit.

Upon the arrival of the tiny home on the property, a neighbor contacted Meridian’s Police Department to inquire about the legality of residing in it. In May of last year, a Meridian enforcement officer warned Chasidy Decker and Robert Calacal of criminal prosecution, as well as a $1,000 per day fine unless she relocated.

In a blog post, the Institute for Justice, an organization that works with constitutional cases, highlighted that the city code of Meridian allows the parking of recreational vehicles and trailers in residential areas, but living within them is not permitted.

Robert Calacal and Chasidy Decker have taken legal action by filing a lawsuit against the city’s tiny home prohibition. They have presented five claims, citing violations of Idaho’s constitution to challenge the city’s ban.

During the hearing, the judge decided to proceed with four of five claims. However, the judge also prohibited Decker from residing in her tiny home while the case was ongoing.

Chasidy Decker expressed her disappointment about the ruling, stating that she wished to be living in her tiny home again. She also shared her optimism that the outcome of the case will be favorable and appreciated the judge’s active involvement in the matter. Decker’s comments were mentioned in another blog post by the Institute for Justice, which is representing her in the case.

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In December, Insider interviewed Robert Belden, an Institute for Justice attorney. Belden argued that Meridian’s decision to prevent Chasidy from residing in a wheeled tiny home laid on private property was unconstitutional and morally unjustifiable. He further stated that homelessness does not contribute to the welfare, safety, or public health and that denying Chasidy a place to live does nothing to benefit either her or the community.

In January of 2023, Robert Belden provided an update on the case and questioned why Meridian’s zoning ordinance was limiting affordable housing options when so few were available. Belden further criticized the city’s stance on Chasidy’s situation, stating that despite their rhetoric on improving housing accessibility and affordability, they were hindering her from living in her own home solely because it was on wheels.

On May 24th of this year, a hearing regarding several motions filed by the Institute for Justice was held, and a court date of January 29th, 2024 has been scheduled. How this whole ordeal will pan out is anyone’s guess.

Tyler Connaghan
Written By Tyler Connaghan

Tyler is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He has been featured in numerous publications throughout various industries, including digital marketing, travel, sports, music, lifestyle, and more. When not writing, Tyler enjoys his time spent in nature, whether the beaches of Southern California, the mountain ranges in the Sierra Nevadas, or the deserts of Yucca Valley.

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