Planning Departments are A-Changin'
I have been talking with 11 Planning Departments so far and reading about how the opportunities are developing for Tiny &/ or Small Houses in the San Francisco Bay Area and eventually beyond. I have been looking for where opportunites may be for small houses which could be affordable for people who are not in a position to take on huge mortgages. Each Planning department has it's own, local way of moving forward, which is interesting.
The Planner in Cotati showed us a map of a new modest size subdivison going in with each property to have it's own Backyard Cottage ("Accessory Dwelling Unit").
Santa Rosa actually has a provision for building a small house subdivison! First time I have heard of that. Santa Rosa will also allow a "temporary" use permit to have and live in a Tiny House but it must be connected to utilities and the permit may not necessarily be renewed after 5 years. This was especially for post-fire people who have been re-building and living on their properties while they rebuild but that possibility could apply to others.
Lovely Half Moon Bay has an ordinance limiting the amount the city can grow, but I was told they have not met that limit so far this year, and a planner there suggested an ADU as a project the department would like.
Santa Cruz was considering the possibility of allowing two ADUs on a larger property. Meetings to discuss building codes get a significant turnout there, with a local paper reporting 70 in attendance for one meeting. Now that is a way to get the change that is needed to create legal small housing for as many people as possible there. Santa Cruz county is challenged by the capacity of the local septic systems of the San Loranzo Valley to handle more material as the density has grow so over the decades and the concern there is adequate basic sanitation.
San Jose is streamlining their application process, wherein if you meet their guidelines and make an appointment w/ the planning department (on Tuesdays only) you can potentially walk out the door with your approval, same day. The program is so popular they are already booked 2 months in advance and the number of people applying for ADU's is taking a flying leap.
The mayor of Sacramento has been wanting to add housing for the homeless people there and is frustrated that things have been slow in moving forward, apparently some nimbyism going on ( Not In My Back Yard) according to a local newspaper. It is all very interesting!
I'll see what I can learn in Sonoma tomorrow...