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San Luis Obispo City Council approves regulations for tiny homes 

–On Tuesday, the San Luis Obispo City Council deliberated and unanimously approved criteria to allow tiny homes (a type of accessory dwelling unit or ADU) in the city.

Council’s decision to introduce a new tiny home ordinance follows its approval in September of updated Zoning Regulations that address specific land uses – such as housing trends, compatible infill development, improved parking, and sustainability. At the time, council directed city staff and the planning commission to return with additional recommendations for tiny homes.

Tiny homes are expected to be a more cost-effective way for property owners to provide an Accessory Dwelling Unit on their properties. Tiny homes meet certain safety standards, but are not constructed on a permanent foundation and are less expensive to construct than a typical residence. Tiny homes represent a new type of housing that the city council envisions will help meet the demand for housing in the city. Approval of an ordinance enabling tiny homes furthers implementation of the Major City Goal for housing production.

The criteria for installation of a tiny home approved by the council include:

  • Maximum size of 400 square feet (not including loft areas) to be consistent with the California code for recreational vehicles (a compliant tiny home must be installed on a trailer that is currently registered with the DMV).
  • The Community Development Director shall renew the approval of a tiny home for a period of three to five years upon receipt of a complete application and inspection by the city to confirm ongoing continued compliance with the tiny home standards.
  • Require the design of tiny homes to resemble the general appearance, siding, and roofing of traditional homes.
  • Require the tiny home to be located toward the rear of the property.


These new regulations will take effect on Feb. 8, 2019, if the ordinance is approved on its second reading by the council on Jan. 8, 2019. To learn more, visit

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