Building Advisory Council Requests Public Input on Tiny House Proposal

Wednesday, March 22, 6:30 – 9 p.m., Orcas Library

— from Richard Russell —

The Building Advisory Council of San Juan County is seeking interested community members to review the Tiny House Proposal and comment on its potential uses:

  • Affordable Housing
  • Accessory Housing
  • Senior Housing
  • Optional Housing

The BAC Tiny House Proposal

The Building Advisory Council recommends to the County Council as one step in an ongoing effort toward meeting San Juan County’s affordable housing component of the Comprehensive Plan, it shall be the policy of the County Council to make legal the use of verified safe movable “tiny houses on wheels or skids”. Tiny houses as defined could be self-contained in terms of potable water, on-site septic treatment and power useage. It is the intent of this policy to allow where in compliance the placement of individual Tiny Houses not in conflict with existing zoning regulations. This proposal does not include a rural residential cluster development at this time.

A “Tiny House” is defined as a habitable building whose structure is constructed of wood or better, of not more than 400 square feet, i.e., 8.5’ wide x 13.5’ high, including sleeping and living areas with a bathroom and kitchen excluding any lofts. A Tiny House for the purposes of this Proposal is a structure intended as a full time residence or year-round rental property. This proposal does not include the use of “manufactured housing”.

To help in the implementation of this policy, the BAC shall help DCD by developing prescriptive design guidelines and floor plan models. Another aim of this policy is to help in the development of a Tiny House construction industry recognized as a unique island industry.

The BAC in its research has developed possible clarifications, definitions and options to implement this policy and offers to work with the Council and to continue its efforts should the Council wish it.

How are tiny houses different from RVs?

  •             No greater than 400 sf of floor space
  •             Hand built not factory built meeting IRC
  •             Wood sided to conform to rural island sensibility
  •             Built of wood or better
  •             Structurally code compliant
  •             Life-safety code compliant
  •             May have infrastructure self-contained
  •             Can be self-contained and/or “off the grid”
  •             Reduced energy and water use

Also, the Building Advisory Council will report on its ongoing work with the San Juan County Building Department and solicit comments and commentaries from community members.

Your attendance is invited.

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Building Advisory Council Requests Public Input on Tiny House Proposal — 4 Comments

  1. I whole-heartedly believe tiny houses are a very logical and viable solution to the extreme housing crisis our islands are currently facing. I’m sure I’m not the only island business owner who has lost multiple employees for lack of housing. Not to mention the far greater environmental sustainability of tiny homes.

  2. I urge everyone who is interested in seeing sensible rules regarding tiny houses to attend the meeting Wednesday 6:30 at the Library. My own point of view is that everyone should be free to live and do as they choose, unless that impacts their neighbors and community, and even then, unless there is some demonstrated harm, citizens should retain complete freedom to build and live in whatever they choose.