MERIDIAN, Idaho—Last night, Meridian tiny homeowner Chasidy Decker filed for a preliminary injunction as part of her August lawsuit, with representation by the Institute for Justice (IJ), challenging Meridian’s ban on tiny homes on wheels as unconstitutional under the Idaho Constitution. Her preliminary injunction motion in the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District of Idaho asks for her to be allowed to live in her tiny home as the lawsuit continues.
“It’s been really stressful, still not knowing of a place to go,” Chasidy said. “This place is where my heart is. I would not rather be anywhere else. It’s always been my home and it feels like I’m being pushed out.”
Chasidy, a native of the Treasure Valley, had a savvy solution to owning a home after being priced out of the general Boise real estate market: she bought a beautiful 252 square foot tiny house on wheels and found a local homeowner, Robert Calacal, to let her park it on his property for $600 a month. But right after moving in this May, Meridian Code Enforcement told Chasidy that while her home could be parked at Robert’s home indefinitely, she could not live in the home. This was despite other people in the neighborhood living in RVs, tiny homes and similar vehicles.
The motion for a preliminary injunction demonstrates that within just 1,500 feet of Chasidy’s tiny home, there are at least 13 RVs and trailers being used as a residence or living quarters as evidenced by connected utility lines, open windows, extended slide-outs, lowered stairs, and the use of stabilizer jacks, among other things. The pictures below are some examples. (To protect the privacy of other property owners and to avoid incriminating them to the City, Chasidy did not disclose the exact addresses of these properties in her motion.)
Before filing her lawsuit, Chasidy pointed out to the City’s code enforcement officer that many other people in her neighborhood were living in RVs and trailers, and asked why the City was singling her out. The officer responded that Chasidy and Robert were new to town and that Robert was from California, while other property owners had lived in the neighborhood longer. “The Idaho Constitution requires the City to have a good reason for forcing Chasidy out of her safe, attractive tiny home while allowing more than a dozen nearby residents to use their RVs or trailers as living quarters,” said IJ Attorney Bob Belden. “That Chasidy and Robert were new to town simply doesn’t cut it.”
To make Chasidy’s situation even more unfair, Meridian Code Enforcement angrily confronted Chasidy following an article in the Idaho Statesman about her story this summer, prior to her lawsuit. After the article, the officer also cited Chasidy and Robert for trivial parking and vehicle violations. Although not part of her request for the injunction, Chasidy’s lawsuit includes a claim that the Idaho Constitution protects free speech and prevents exactly this type of retaliation by government officials.
“In the middle of this housing crisis in the Treasure Valley, Meridian should be making it easier for people to find a place to live, not forcing them into homelessness,” said IJ Attorney Dan Alban. “We’ve asked the Court to intervene so that Chasidy can continue living in her safe and attractive tiny home.”
The Court is expected to have a hearing on Chasidy’s motion for a preliminary injunction on October 27.