City of San Diego greenlights 'tiny home' construction
SAN DIEGO — The San Diego City Council Tuesday unanimously approved an amendment to the land development code allowing moveable "tiny houses" to be permitted in the city as companion or junior units.The amendment will allow the city and its residents to increase housing supply in space already zoned for residential use, said Councilman Scott Sherman."Moveable tiny homes are a great option that naturally increases affordable housing at no cost to taxpayers. It's a win for the homeowner, it's a win for the renter, and it's a win for the taxpayer," Sherman said. "I appreciate my colleagues' support for this important housing reform. We must continue pushing for common-sense solutions that result in naturally occurring affordable housing."Sherman has pushed for the amendment since 2018. In the last several years, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo passed similar ordinances allowing tiny homes, which are usually one-story, less than 100-square-foot dwellings with living, sleeping and cooking areas. Movable tiny homes are built on a towable chassis and not a concrete foundation.According to the city's staff report, tiny houses provide an affordable housing option for families, students, the elderly and people with disabilities. The obvious downside is space is at an extreme premium.Barrett Tetlow, Sherman's chief of staff,, said tiny homes cost about $85,000 on average. While they ultimately are a depreciating item like recreational vehicles and trailers, Tetlow said by charging a market average rate of $900 a month for rent, a homeowner could recoup the cost of the investment in eight years. The average rent in San Diego is nearly $2,000 a month and the median housing price is well over $500,000."This is a creative way to find places for San Diegans to reside," said Councilwoman Jennifer Campbell. "It can help alleviate our overwhelming housing deficit."The amendment will draw a distinction between movable tiny houses and other portable dwellings like RVs and trailers. To fit the land development code, the homes must have fully independent living accommodations, including living, sleeping, cooking, eating and sanitation. They also, as an accessory dwelling unit, must be on the same parcel of land as either a proposed or existing residence. Additionally, aesthetic things like the wheels must be hidden from view to help thicken that line between a movable tiny home and other mobile dwellings.They will not be permitted in brush management zones, however, and will have to be inspected by a third party before people can move in.Several companies in San Diego are among those building tiny homes.
Movable Tiny Homes in San Diego
Understand what a Movable Tiny Home is and what it could mean to San Diego for seniors, youth, veterans, and single families or anyone needing affordable housing. Enjoy a variety of tiny homes throughout the video. Witness ReBuilding Green (long time advocates) react to how the City of San Diego voted.
SAN DIEGO APPROVES MOVABLE TINY HOMES!!!
SAN DIEGO APPROVES MOVABLE TINY HOMES!!! #TinyNow #BackyardGrannyFlats #TinyHomes #AffordableHousing By: Jermaine OngPosted at 8:30 AM, Jul 21, 2020and last updated 1:00 PM, Jul 21, 2020 SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- The San Diego City Council Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of adding movable tiny homes to the list of options on how to offer more affordable housing to citizens. Tiny houses are similar to granny flats, but smaller. Tiny houses come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are equipped with the basics for living, sleeping, and cooking. They range in size from 150 square feet to 400 square feet and cost between $40,000 and $100,000. Tiny homes can help create an affordable option for low-income residents that doesn’t require a taxpayer subsidy. City officials said, “A significant portion of households in San Diego can afford a movable tiny house as an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU). The average cost of rent for a tiny home is $900 a month. A property owner would recover their initial investment in eight years. After that, the rent from the tiny house could help cover their mortgage and other expenses.” Currently, the city allows homeowners to build accessory dwelling units on their properties. With Tuesday’s approval, homeowners can add tiny homes to their properties. “Moveable tiny homes are a great option that naturally increases affordable housing at no cost to taxpayers. It’s a win for the homeowner, it’s a win for the renter, and it’s a win for the taxpayer,” said San Diego City Councilman Scott Sherman. “I appreciate my colleagues support for this important housing reform. We must continue pushing for common sense solutions that result in naturally occurring affordable housing.” Sherman has been working to approve the ordinance since 2018, the city said.
Redwood City standstill over ADU height
A measure intended to bring a Redwood City accessory dwelling unit ordinance into alignment with state law was sent back to the Planning Commission following a disagreement between councilmembers over height limits of the structures. Of main concern to councilmembers and public speakers was the proposed height in the ordinance which would allow for ADUs, attached or detached additional living space, to be built to 22 feet, allowing for a large two-story structure. Despite concerns around the parameters of the order, all commenters supported the passage of some form of the measure. “Make it as easy as possible to build ADUs. We’re seeing an incredible increase in demand as families are choosing to shelter in place together. We’re learning that housing is health care and that we all need to do more and do better to create a variety of housing choices so everyone that works of lives or commutes into our community can thrive,” said Evelyn Stivers, the executive director of Housing Leadership Council. The new state laws include overlapping assembly bills 68 and 881, which allow an ADU of at least 800 square feet that’s 16 feet in height with 4-foot side and rear setbacks to be constructed. The bills also allow two different kinds of ADUs to be built on single-family lots for a total of three living structures on one lot; they reduce parking requirements and force cities to ministerially approve a permit within 60 days of deeming an application complete, according to a report prepared by staff. “I would completely and only support an ordinance if it says 16 feet maximum building height. I don’t think 22 feet is acceptable. I truly do believe we should follow state guidelines,” said Councilwoman Janet Borgens. “Let’s make it simple, let’s make it fair, let’s make it equitable. And this is exactly that for me provided we keep it at 16 feet.” While a 16-foot structure could allow for a second floor, the difference in feet would determine whether an individual could stand up straight on the additional level. Councilwoman Giselle Hale referred to notes taken during a 2019 meeting in which it was decided the additional space was necessary to allow for a roof pitch. “We had extensive discussions and we landed on the 22 feet. I do believe ... that it came down to ... a need for ... someone to add a second bedroom and that could make it possible for families to use these as well,” said Hale. “Nothing has changed and I would still stand by that recommendation and I would further add that the need for ADUs is even greater than when we last met.” Councilmembers agreed on other changes proposed in the measure such as requiring homeowners to notify their neighbors before building an ADU, though there would be no appeals process, and banning short term rentals except for homeowners who currently use their ADU for that purpose. Proposed as an emergency ordinance, the measure required six council votes to pass but only received support from Councilman Ian Bain, Mayor Diane Howard, Councilwoman Diana Reddy and Borgens. Hale, along with Vice Mayor Shelly Masur and Councilwoman Alicia Aguirre voted against the measure due to strong beliefs the larger structures would better help alleviate the struggle to find affordable housing. By failing to come to an agreement, such as compromising on height as suggested by staff, the measure will return to the Planning Commission to follow standard review procedure including additional readings and a 30 day public comment period. ADU applications filed now up to when the new ordinance is approved will be subject to state issued design parameters including a maximum height of 28 feet. In other business, the council approved entering a contract with Hinderliter, de Llamas & Associates, a consulting agency, to develop and manage the permit renewal program and compliance audit process for local cannabis delivery businesses. The measure also grants the city manager authority to extend the $120,000 one-year agreement for two additional years not to exceed $360,000. Additionally, the council approved a five-year Permanent Local Housing Allocation Plan and grant not to exceed $2,086,314 which will go to help fund the Safe Parking Program aimed at transitioning Redwood City RV residents into permanent housing. A $55,630 three-month contract with LifeMoves, a nonprofit aimed at ending homelessness, was also approved for Safe Parking Program outreach and engagement services for those living in RVs parked on Redwood City streets. By Sierra Lopez Daily Journal correspondent
San Diego moving forward with ‘tiny houses’ law to help solve local housing crisis
San Diego Union-Tribune, APRIL 20, 2020By - David Garrick Homeowners across San Diego would be able to install movable “tiny houses” in their back yards under a proposal the city’s Planning Commission unanimously approved last week. Tiny houses can help solve the housing crisis by creating an affordable option for low-income residents that doesn’t require a taxpayer subsidy, city officials said. Rent from tiny houses can also help homeowners with their mortgage payments, they said. “It really is a win, win, win for the taxpayers, the homeowners and the renters,” said Barret Tetlow, chief of staff for Councilman Scott Sherman. Tiny houses are similar to granny flats, but smaller. Adding them is quicker and cheaper, primarily because they are built in factories and placed on a chassis, while granny flats are built on-site and attached to a concrete foundation. Planning commissioners said Thursday that legislation allowing tiny houses could help the city make up for years of previous laws and regulations that created a local housing crisis by sharply limiting supply. “The last 30 years of wrong-minded policies have gotten us into this housing crisis, and I think it’s innovation that’s going to get us back out of it,” Commissioner Doug Austin said. “We can’t subsidize our way out of this.” Austin was referring to a variety of housing solutions that have relied on government subsidies to artificially lower rents. Some neighborhood leaders urged the Planning Commission to delay approval of the tiny houses ordinance, complaining that community planning groups haven’t had a chance to evaluate the proposal because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The communities deserve and need to be heard before you act,” said James Fitzgerald of La Jolla in an email to the city. He added that the law would have “direct and potentially substantial impacts throughout the city.” Other neighborhood leaders said the tiny houses would likely work better in some parts of the city than other parts, making input from individual neighborhoods crucial. Commissioner Vicki Granowitz noted that most of those complaints came from residents in coastal areas, who will get a chance to voice any concerns they have to the Coastal Commission. If the City Council agrees with the Planning Commission and approves the new law this spring, it wouldn’t take effect in coastal areas until the commission also gives its assent. Commission chairman Bill Hofman said not having neighborhood feedback is a concern, but the new law is similar to regulations approved in 2017 for granny flats. Neighborhood leaders gave extensive input on those, he said. “I think the need for more alternatives for affordable housing outweighs the need for community input on something that really has been vetted,” he said. Nationally the tiny house movement began as an attempt to downsize and live more simply, often with a smaller environmental impact. Its growth was supported by TV shows like “Tiny House Nation.” More recently, cities and nonprofits have started looking to tiny houses as a solution for homelessness and the lack of affordable housing. Fresno, San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles and San Jose have all passed laws allowing tiny houses. Laws also are under consideration in many other parts of the state. Tiny houses range in size from 150 square feet to 400 square feet and cost between $40,000 and $100,000. Granny flats, which are between 500 square feet and 1,000 square feet, usually cost between $100,000 and $150,000. Under the proposed city law, a homeowner could not have both a granny flat and a tiny house. They would be limited to one or the other, which complies with state law. City officials said a key advantage to tiny houses is how quickly they can be added. While a granny flat typically takes six to 18 months, a tiny house can be added in 30 to 45 days. Tetlow said that once a homeowner orders a tiny house, a company begins manufacturing it while some if its employees visit the property to prepare utility connections and make other preparations. While movable tiny houses have wheels, city officials said, they aren’t like a conventional trailer or recreational vehicle. Instead, they are built like a traditional home, with interior space geared for daily living. The city’s law would require the house’s wheels to be shielded from view. In addition, it would require pitched roofs and other design details that would prevent people from parking traditional recreational vehicles in their yards. “We feel we’ve been able to eliminate 95 percent of conventional RVs and trailers,” Tetlow told the Planning Commission. Because of wildfire concerns, tiny houses wouldn’t be allowed on properties located in the city’s urban/wildland interface — neighborhoods that abut canyons or wilderness. A tiny house couldn’t be rented out for fewer than 30 days at a time, so they wouldn’t be used as short-term vacation rentals. Property owners would not be required to provide an on-site parking spot for the tiny house. And a tiny house wouldn’t have to comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. They would have to be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles, but they couldn’t move under their own power. And the wheels couldn’t be removed because they’re needed to support the structure. Despite the tiny houses being potential competition, the local development community supports the effort. “A variety of housing options are essential if we are to address our chronic housing shortage, and tiny homes deserve a place in our long-term strategy,” Matt Adams, vice president of the local chapter of the Building Industry Association, told the Planning Commission.