Tiny House Zoning Approved in Placer County, CA

Great news Placer County!  Tiny home zoning has been approved.  So what does this mean for people interested in tiny homes?

The Board of Supervisors approved ordinances that so permit such units throughout the unincorporated areas of the county that stretches from Sacramento to Lake Tahoe.

“Placer County not only has approved movable tiny homes as ADUs, but also for cluster development and on certain zoned properties as stand alone units.”

-THIA President, Dan Fitzpatrick

SUMMARY: PLACER COUNTY – MOVABLE TINY HOMES AS ADUS

Creation of moveable tiny houses, under Article 17.56, Section 17.56.400 (Moveable Tiny Houses) establishes general regulations to guide the location, design, and development for moveable tiny houses. A tiny house is required to have its own address, either through an electrical permit or through a sewer or septic permit if the tiny house uses solar; and must be licensed by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. It will also have to meet the standards of the base zone, or the standards of an accessory dwelling unit if the tiny house is being used as an accessory home. Based on concerns about design, language was added to mandate design which respects the surrounding neighborhood and does not allow for recreational vehicles or campers to qualify as tiny houses.

The ordinances and staff report in its entirety can be found here: https://www.placer.ca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/61416/15A

BELOW ARE THE RELEVANT SECTIONS OF THE NEW CODE RELATING TO MOVABLE TINY HOMES AS ADUS:

17.56.400 Moveable tiny houses.

When allowed, by Section 17.06.030 et seq. (Allowable land uses and permit requirements), in the zone applicable to a site, moveable tiny houses are subject to the requirements of this section.

  1. Addressing. A moveable tiny house shall obtain a separate address with an electrical permit.
  2. General Standards. Moveable tiny houses that function as a primary residential dwelling are subject to the standards of the base zone. Moveable tiny houses that function as accessory dwelling units are also subject to Section 17.56.200 (Accessory and junior accessory dwelling units). All accessory storage shall comply with Section 17.56.250 (Storage, accessory-indoor and outdoor).
  3. General Requirements. A moveable tiny house is subject to the permit requirements established by Sections 17.06.050 (Land use and permit tables), 17.06.060 et seq., (Zone district regulations), and the base zone district.
  4. Zoning Clearance. A moveable tiny house shall be required to undergo zoning clearance to demonstrate compliance with all standards described below, and is subject to all applicable fees and charges, unless exempted by county code.
  5. A moveable tiny house shall be:
  6. Licensed and registered with the California Department of Motor Vehicles or California Department of Housing and Community Development; and
  7. Exempt from parking regulations.
  8. A moveable tiny house shall not:
  9. Be larger than allowed by California state law for movement on public highways;
  10. Exceed one story; or
  11. Be able to move under its own power.
  12. A moveable tiny house shall be located at a fire separation distance of at least four feet from an adjacent lot line and at least ten (10) feet from any other structures on the premises.
  13. When sited on a parcel, the undercarriage, including wheels, axles, tongue, and hitch, shall be concealed from view. The wheels shall be skirted or removed and shall sit with leveling or support jacks on a paving surface designed in accordance with Section 17.54.070(C) (Design and improvement of parking).
  14. Appearance. To maintain the character of residential areas, a moveable tiny house shall be designed to look like a conventional residential structure rather than a recreational vehicle, as depicted in the graphic below. This shall be done by incorporating design features and materials typically used for houses, such as typical siding or roofing materials, pitched roofs, eaves, residential windows, etc.
  15. Living Area Extensions. The roof and all exterior walls shall not be fixed with slide-outs, tip-outs, or other forms of mechanically articulating room area extensions.
  16. Egress. A moveable tiny house shall have a minimum of two means of egress, one of which shall be the main entrance and one of which shall be in each sleeping area(s). Entrance and egress stairs, pathways, and windows shall be constructed in accordance with state standards.
  17. Foundation and Structural Components.
  18. If a moveable tiny house is retrofitted for placement on a permanent foundation, it must meet building and fire safe standards.
  19. A moveable tiny house shall be tied down with anchors or otherwise stabilized as designed by the manufacturer; or
  20. Wheels shall be skirted or removed when parked. Skirting may be made from materials such as lattice, fencing, planter boxes, etc.
  21. Structures such as porches, decks, sheds, and gazebos shall be designed to detach from the moveable tiny house. Uncovered porches or decks less than thirty (30) inches in height and less than two hundred (200) square feet do not require building permits. Permanent roofed structures over one hundred twenty (120) square feet do require building permits.
  22. Utilities/Equipment.
  23. Water and Sewer. A moveable tiny house shall be connected to water supply and sewage disposal facilities approved by the county’s environmental health department and building services division.
  24. Energy. A building permit shall be obtained for installation of a subpanel appropriately sized for the moveable tiny house’s amperage, electrical pedestal, and approved exterior outlets in the location the moveable tiny house will be located, unless otherwise designed to be self-contained to provide equal electrical accommodations (e.g., fully relying on solar power and battery backup). Separate electric meters may be permitted if approved by the building official and utility supplier.
  25. All mechanical equipment shall be incorporated into the structure, and shall in no case be located on the roof with the exception of solar energy panels or collectors.
  26. Certifications. A moveable tiny house shall comply with the standards set forth in California HSC 18027.3. A moveable tiny house shall be certified by a recognized national certification body as complying with these standards and a certified label shall be placed on the moveable tiny house to demonstrate compliance.
  27. Fire. When located on a premise where the primary dwelling unit is protected with an automatic fire sprinkler system in accordance with the California Residential Code, a moveable tiny house shall be protected with an automatic fire sprinkler system.
  28. When located within the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone, a moveable tiny house shall satisfy the following additional requirements:
  29. A moveable tiny house shall be protected with an automatic fire sprinkler system in compliance with Section R313 of the California Residential Code even if located on a premise where the primary dwelling unit is not protected with an automatic fire sprinkler system;
  30. Exterior walls shall be constructed with ignition-resistant materials in compliance with Section R337 of the California Residential Code; and
  31. Glazed openings, including skylights, shall comply with Section R337 of the California Residential Code.
  32. Minimum Wind and Snow Loads. A moveable tiny house shall be constructed to withstand minimum snow and wind loads for the proposed parking location, as described in Chapter 15, Article 15.04 and Section 15.04.290 of the Placer County Code.
  33. Parking. Parking standards are set by the base zone district or use as set forth in Section 17.54.060 (Parking space requirements by land use).
  34. Access standards. Access roads shall meet state and local fire safe standards as determined by the serving fire agency and County Land Development Manual. Encroachment permits may be required to address ingress, egress, and sight distance requirements for access to county-maintained highways.

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