(EDITORS NOTE: The Mendocino Voice was contacted Wednesday afternoon by Assistant Planner Kevin Locke with the City of Fort Bragg, who pointed out a factual inaccuracy and suggested two points of clarification in the following story. The Voice regrets the error and we appreciate Locke’s efforts to correct the record. The draft below has been corrected to reflect his input, and clarifications have been added to the appropriate paragraphs in parentheses.)
FORT BRAGG, 4/12/22 — The Fort Bragg City Council amended their mobile home ordinance Monday evening to allow more tiny homes on more properties within city limits. Starting May 25 homeowners and developers can put up to two tiny homes on a single residentially zoned property within city limits. Tiny homes can be used as an accessory dwelling unit (ADU)
but they can also be designated as the primary residence on a property with a second tiny home as an ADU. *(According to Assistant Planner Kevin Locke the idea of allowing tiny homes as a primary residence was floated but not approved.)
There are some code requirements, including a 4-foot setback from the property boundary and a concrete parking pad to be used as a foundation. Permeable paving alternatives are also acceptable, potentially including things like packed gravel, subject to approval by city staff on a case by case basis. Tiny homes must be from 150 to 400 square feet and no more than 13 feet 6 inches in height. Parked tiny homes must have skirting installed to conceal any wheels, plumbing connected to city water and sewer, and the resident or owner must allow for a yearly inspection by the fire marshall. Use as short-term rentals is prohibited.
There are also regulatory issues regarding elements like building materials and windows, so DIY tiny home builders may encounter difficulties meeting the technical requirements imposed by applicable housing standards. For more information check out the ordinance itself or this staff report provided to the city council. In effect, this could lower the cost of entry to the housing market for homeowners and ease the process of adding an ADU. City officials estimate the permitting costs at around $500 per tiny home. *(Locke said this only covers city permits and does not include fees associated with the county or school district. The real permitting cost is between $1,000 and $3,000.)
“I like what I see and I’m willing to support it tonight,” said councilman Lindy Peters.
The tiny house ordinance is actually an amendment added to the existing ordinance regulating mobile homes and mobile home parks. It passed by a unanimous vote of the council. *(Tiny houses are allowed both in and outside of mobile home parks, but “the ordinance creates a new code section for tiny homes to regulate them on residential lots and makes amendments to the existing mobile home park code to allow them on mobile home parks,” Locke said.)
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Fort Bragg City Council will take place at 6 p.m. Monday, April 25. Meeting agendas and supporting documents will be available here when published.