They're coming...

After a slow digestion period of people taking in the news that this was legitimate... that Spur is not just a crater on Mars... but a real town extending a genuine welcome for good people to move here without regard for any preconceived notions of what a home should look like... they're coming...

Since the press release in July 2014 through June 2015, 1 brave soul moved here sight unseen.  12 months and 1 new resident.  It wasn't much, but it was a start.  Over the following 3 months in July through September, a 2nd resident appeared.  Many of you heard and thought to yourselves 'It's happening', and Spur began climbing the list of way points on your road trips.  In the succeeding 3 months of October through December, our 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th new residents emerged.  And now not a week goes by when we don't see a rental car from Lubbock driving through town as many of you have been flying from all over the country to see our West Texas town for yourselves (great idea by the way!).

Over 40 lots have been sold to new and prospective residents, some young, some retiring, and some with families.  Some people are moving permanently, some are looking to be here seasonally, and others are just looking for an occasional retreat.  I predict that over a dozen new tiny homes will appear in town this summer, at our current rates, it might even be over 20.  There are still 30 lots available owned by the County in Trust ($625 each) with another 40 or so on the way, and many lots available privately as well.

So if Spur has been sitting on your maybe list for some time, just waiting to hear more news, plan your trips and get over here!  It's happening!  Spur is gaining many new residents, and the enthusiasm that comes with them is contagious.  People are forming plans for new businesses and renovations to bring downtown back to life.  We're going to have a good year, and we want you to be a part of it!

December 7th, 2015 - Our 4th new resident taking in the sunset from the Girl Scout Park at the North end of town

December 7th, 2015 - Our 4th new resident taking in the sunset from the Girl Scout Park at the North end of town

How to make friends and get along in Spur, TX

So... once you move to Spur (or even if you're just visiting), how do you meet people and make friends?! I've lived in Colorado, California, Texas and Bermuda and each place has it's own "way" if you will. Here are some tips for getting along in Spur. going-to-church-in-spur

Yeah, this is Texas and most people who live in town are religious and GO TO CHURCH! There are something like six churches and this is one of the best ways to integrate yourself and make friends. You don't need to be confrontational or convert and you shouldn't encounter too much evangelical stuff in your day to day life in town. I personally see church in Spur as a social thing, a way for people to come together and promote "good old fashioned Christian" values. I'm going to leave it at that.

If you're not into church, you would not be alone in Spur. Many people just keep their opinions to themselves but do not attend and some other ways for those people to connect are to visit the library or join the volunteer group called "Helping Hands" which mows yards while people are out of town and runs a community garden!

Not into books or vegetables? Maybe you prefer meat and want to talk about all of your favorite foods with townfolk at the weekly buffet which happens every Sunday (after church ends) at the diner downtown. The place is packed, the people are friendly and you can speak with almost anyone (this is where I befriended the chief of police... who is a very sweet lady).

On a diet perhaps? Consider golfing at the nine hole course which features full sized holes. You can get a monthly pass to this course for just $20 and they have a club that meets on Tuesday nights. I met an older fellow in town who invited to golf and it's on my shortlist for sure, I think he even offered to get me some loaner clubs :D

Got kids? Consider volunteering at the school, helping with events or attending plays and other open houses. Last week I was able to see a really cute musical with first, second and third graders and the place was packed! I'm sure there are also kids groups for scouting, after school sports (in fact I was told by one student in high school that she is on three sports teams). One afternoon I walked to the baseball fields and saw a kids practice game going on. I met a few of the parents and we made friends quickly. As I walked home I passed through the empty football arena (which is built into the side of the tallest hill in town) and that got my mind turning... I bet a hometown game here is awesome and I can't wait to check it out!

If you're a sports enthusiast but don't like golfing and don't have kids... consider tennis! There are two brand new courts at the school and they could give you a chance to make a close friend or set up a doubles match.

tennis-courts-in-spur-tx

Spur is near Dickens and a few other small towns that have hiking trails (in canyon type terrain with beautiful trees at the bottom). There is also a reservoir nearby where you can kayak and even swim. I think it drains slowly throughout the year but it's full right now and I'm tempted to buy a couple of jet skis and head down there with friends. Wouldn't that be awesome! I love jet skis...

There are so many little things to do in town, I visited each of the three small parks and used the swings. I walked down a dirt road and met a blended hispanic family that told me about their Native American heritage and the land that they have been farming for generations. I met a young man who was visiting from Seattle (seeing his family) and we played pool for a bit at his family's place. One of the most exciting opportunities I see in the future here is getting to know incoming residents like this guy was doing with me as we played pool. He even offered to help me setup my house (like an old fashioned barn raising!)

I heard stories from local residents about how they used to block off main street and have a big outdoor concert and dance, about how awesome homecoming is! There is potential here and from what I've seen, just a bit of respect and interest goes a long way. There's enough diversity and open mindedness paired with respect for what people believe and what they own that anyone who comes in with some patience and good intention should quickly become an accepted and appreciated member. That's what it's all about and there's a sense of belonging and interest here with the waving and name remembering that you truly feel like a part. Conversely, I barely know my neighbor in LA (I don't think he even asked my name) but in less than a week I've met dozens of new friends in Spur and I feel like we care about each other. This doesn't happen everywhere, not even in every small town. I think the scale of Spur and the walkability lets it unfold naturally and people truly need each other or were brought up that way. It creates a special bond :)

What would it actually take to move to Spur Texas?

I drove down to Spur, Texas from Los Angeles California (where I live and work) in April 2015 to find out exactly what it would take to "move to Spur" and start a new life. After three days of driving (staying with family in Phoenix, AZ and a cheap hotel in Roswell, NM) I finally arrived and was greeted by two advocates of the Tiny House movement in town. Each had spoken with me via phone along the way and each had a very different story and lifestyle to share. One lives in a mobile tiny house (he took the wheels off and secured it on site) and the other has renovated an existing building to call his home).

What I found in Spur was a quiet, peaceful and charming little city with a ton of potential. What gives this town longevity is the brand new school, four restaurants, modern grocery store, 24/7 gas station and proximity to Dickens (which is the county seat, where the court house is). People from surrounding farms bus their kids to Spur and the annual homecoming parade brings old faces back into town. There are also a few businesses but the most recognizable is Cap Rock which does Internet, phone and cable.

If you were to come to Spur via car like I did, you could plan to meet with me or one of the other residents by commenting below and we would help you tour and purchase a lot (could clear as quick as three days if it's a private lot) and then connect with a local engineer to build a house (you could bring plans or work with them on a design). You could then leave town while the house was being built and return in a couple of months to become a permanent resident at which point living expenses might be as low as $550/mo all inclusive. Below is an example open lot that I found while wandering around town.

Some people are builders and that's another great option. This place is more flexible and open minded about building tiny or unique (as long as it looks good and you cut your grass) so I could imagine shipping container houses or Earth ship houses at some point. I found the most affordable and practical designs to be mid-sized "tiny cottages" on pier platforms while I was doing research.

Designing a house can be really inspiring and fun but it's also neat to think about how the space can interact with the surrounding environment and leverage new technology like solar panels (water heating or photovoltaic) and electrical storage like the Tesla Powerwall. Imagine the not too distant future where robotic lawn mowers, atmospheric water generators and garden drones become more common. Living in a place like Texas can significantly reduce your taxes, help you stay warm for more of the year and let you grow your own food (Spur offers two solid growing seasons but can get snow in the winter).

In my experience, there are two ways to live well (financially speaking) and the first is to make a lot of money (which can take luck, hard work and a lot of time) while the second is to reduce costs... which Spur could really help you achieve. Life in town is relaxed and quiet but not dull by any means. People are cheerful and talkative, there's a diverse heritage (white, hispanic and black) and an open mindedness that had me feeling accepted and appreciated by all (though I do have manners and chose to leave provocative topics alone for the most part).

In my opinion, moving to Spur could be accomplished for as little as $25K - for a ~200sf tiny house and up to $50k if you're looking more at the 600sf range - and could be achieved in no time (lot purchased, house built, friends made). It's actually quite inspiring and amazing to me... There are very few places for rent in town at the moment (like to live with a room mate) and yes, it could be a culture shock if you're not used to small town living, but it grows on you real quick :)

As always, leave a comment if you have questions or are interested in taking steps to relocate here. We are excited to build this place, honor its heritage and set a standard for efficient sustainable living in the United States.

Affordable Living

As of April 2015 these numbers reflect what several existing community members have found for what it takes to run a household of one in Spur.

  1. No state income tax, property tax is ~1.5% house value
  2. $80/mo for water (up to 3,000 gallons), sewer and trash removal
  3. $50/mo for natural gas heating (December, January, February, March)
  4. $50/mo for electric air conditioning (June, July, August, September)
  5. $45/mo for a phone line, 2MB Internet and local TV streamed over fiber (upgrade to $120/mo for 10MB Internet)
  6. $20/mo for Direct TV basic package
  7. $50/mo for electricity to power "other" such as computer, microwave, fridge etc.

Estimated total monthly cost for infrastructure on a single lot with a tiny/mid = $250

  1. Local groceries are ~20% more than if you drive to Lubbock for big box retailers (Walmart, Costco, Target etc.)
  2. Local gasoline was $2.20/gal in April 2015 (Edit:$1.60/gal February 2016)

Estimated total monthly cost for consumables such as food, sundries and gasoline for an individual here is = $300+

Local Grocery Store: Lawrence Brothers

Local Grocery Store: Lawrence Brothers

When considering these numbers, know that we currently have residents who are living well on $550 per month. There are many advantages to living efficiently in a smaller space in a smaller town (here's a quick comparison to a traditional American setup). When you spend less, you don't have to earn as much and you may not have to stress as much... but it's still important to come here with a plan for making money on your own.

The Texas Spur Features The Tiny Town

Like any quaint town Spur also has a hometown newspaper. The Texas Spur published by Cindi Taylor is published 51 weeks a year and hits newsstands each Thursday. This past Thursday - July 24, 2014 - the Spur published an article about the recent tiny house proclamation entitled 'Could a tiny idea entice a new generation of pioneers to Spur?' With a front page feature and a meaty page 2 article, the press was indeed a welcome sign that Spur is headed in the right direction.

The article written by Taylor herself includes quotes by David Alsbury, local resident and tiny house advocate, Councilman Randy Adams, and Mayor Manuel Herrera. To read the article in its entirety click on the images below.

The Texas Spur - front page

 

The Texas Spur - page 2

Tiny House Build Spurs Us On

Hello everyone! We're very excited and grateful for the lovely mention that Gabriella Morrison posted on her blog at Tiny House Build. We thank all of you who have visited our new blog about Spur and may we say that we are a bit overwhelmed with the response! Didn't really expect so many folks to be visiting so soon. But that's awesome! A lot of comments have been very complimentary and we're happy to have apparently contributed something meaningful on an issue that so many people find relevant.

We'll get to work on adding functionality to the site that will feature more information about land, lot prices, and availability.

Living Large With A Small Footprint

Spur, Texas is a classic West Texas town on the wide open plains. We are a community of about 1,000 people who are excited about the tiny house revolution! Spur is proud to announce that anyone who wants to build a tiny house is welcome in our town. The tiny home movement in the United States is gaining recognition as an innovative way to reduce costs and live in a more sustainable way. But people interested in this exciting opportunity to re-invent their lives have encountered permitting obstacles in towns and cities around the country.

Well, here in Spur, we want to encourage people to consider our town for their tiny house lifestyle. Our forward thinking Mayor and City Council have passed a resolution that clears the way for anyone to come to Spur and build a tiny house without any requirement to obtain special permitting.