Talon News - Good Local News



January 4, 2019

Chris & Melissa Lopez - tiny home entrepreneurs

by Pilar Owens, TALON

Some people dream of a big house; some people dream of a tiny house. "There's a lot of different reasons (for wanting to live in a tiny home)" according to Melissa Lopez, who along with her husband Chris, owns Animas RV Park and Tiny House Village. But a "common thread" Melissa has noticed among tiny house owners is the desire to live in a small space with a small environmental impact. According to thetinylife.com, the average tiny house measures under 400 square feet.

Lopez got the idea for the RV and tiny house area when she wanted to share property with a tiny home owner. Zoning code regulations prevented her from doing so. According to thetinylife.com, finding land, and complying with zoning codes are two of the five biggest problems of people living in a tiny house. "I felt like people who had a tiny home needed a place to park," said Lopez. So last October the Lopezes bought an abandoned RV park along Highway 550 headed north out of Aztec towards Durango. They transformed it into Animas RV Park and Tiny House Village, which opened this summer. When they made the small house area, Melissa also wanted to create community.

This desire for community grew in her after she spent time in a homesteading program a couple years ago. The program taught her that sharing resources is easier when people are closer together, "Which is why our plans here (at the RV park) include a (community) garden area."

The park has 11 spaces altogether with room to expand to a total of 30 spaces. Four of the 11 spaces are temporary spots with daily or weekly rates. The small community has five extended stay spaces which typically cost around $400-$500 per month, utilities included. "We try to keep it affordable," said Lopez. Two spaces hold vacation rental tiny homes. The rentals can also be used by people who want to try the tiny life.

Because of the mobile nature of RV's and many tiny homes, people come and go. Yet, "You meet some really great people and you can make connections long past the time that (visitors) spent," said Lopez.

The mission of bringing a tiny house friendly RV park to the area is part of a bigger mission that Lopez has. "Everybody needs a place to live, right?" asked Lopez, whose passion is to provide places for people to live. "I always try to create a space that I would want, you know, if I was in that situation...If you want to do good in the world there's plenty of opportunities to help people."


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