The San Luis Obispo City Council unanimously approved regulations to allow tiny homes or accessory dwelling units in the city Nov. 27.

The regulations will take effect Feb. 8, 2019, if the ordinance is approved on Jan. 8, 2019 during its second reading at the city council meeting.

The approval of a tiny home ordinance follows updated zoning regulations introduced by the city council in September, which address specific land uses in the city.

According to a city news release, here are the criteria for installation of a tiny home:

  • It must be located at the rear or side yard of a property.
  • It must resemble a traditional home with siding, roofing and general appearance (not an RV).
  • It must be inspected and approved by the community development director every three to five years after receipt of application.
  • It must not exceed 400 square feet (excluding loft areas) to be consistent with the California code for recreational vehicles.

Compliant tiny homes are also installed on a trailer registered with the DMV.

“I think that it’s pretty smart, I lived in a tiny apartment anyways,” communication studies senior Natalie Fink said about tiny homes. “It capitalizes on owning on less things — which is important when you don’t have a lot of money to begin with.”

A permit and hookup fees for electrical and sewer is estimated to cost $1,800, according to city officials. The number could change depending on the ability to connect to the sewer.

According to Pad Tiny Houses, the cost for a Do-It-Yourself tiny home would be about $30,000 to $40,000. A prefabricated model at 184 square feet on the ground floor could run anywhere from $35,000 to $100,000.

During the city council meeting on Nov. 27, Community Development Director Michael Codron stressed that tiny homes are “not intended to be permanent dwellings,” which is why the criteria includes inspections every three to five years.

“The ability to create a tiny home, under the code with our recommendations, is a very inexpensive way to create a housing unit,” Codron said. “But it isn’t being built to the California building standards code.”

Tiny homes with a foundation would require a more expensive permit and construction process, according to Codron.

Renewal will be based on evaluations of water, sewer and electrical connections.

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