Thursday, June 4, 2015

West Coast Embracing Tiny Houses

Today in San Diego, CA, a new ordinance permitting detached houses as small as 150 Sq Ft to be built outside the coastal zone and will allow permitting of these homes within that zone by November.

One goal of the new ordinance called the Small Lot Division Ordinance is to provide more compact, affordable houses in neighborhoods zoned for apartments and condominiums. One thing remains in question. If the minimum lot size is priced too high for a tiny house to be built as an affordable alternative, will a developer be allowed to subdivide it into a really small single family house subdivision?

Three years ago San Francisco downsized its definition of an efficiency dwelling to 150 sq ft and Seattle, WA recently shrunk micro-apartments to a minimum of 100 sq ft in some places.

This is not a true endorsement of tiny houses by everyone but it is a start.

There are some cities in the West that allow tiny houses but work hard to keep them from actually being built by requiring them to be sprinkled, attached to separate septic systems and requiring them to have two car garages. This makes building a tiny house impractical and unaffordable.

Will tiny houses become part of the housing solution for affordable living? It’s too early to tell but things are looking good for them.

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