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Tiny homes prove big topic to navigate for San Luis Obispo Planning Commission

Posted at 10:38 PM, Oct 10, 2018

The lengthy discussion on tiny homes within San Luis Obispo continued to inch along on Wednesday.

Tiny homes are coming to San Luis Obispo neighborhoods. The Planning Commission attempted to firm up regulations. One thing is for certain, in the city’s eyes, tiny homes are not meant to be permanent housing.

There is demand for tiny houses and additional dwelling units on home properties, and city leaders understand there is a desire to have them.

Sean and Dana O’Brien, who own Pacific Coast Lumber and A Place To Grow in SLO, are seeing the demand. They’re looking into one day offering to construct tiny homes or other similar units.

“People come to us looking for a structure like this and they say ‘Wow, if I could put a few of those together and make it a little bigger, I could live in something like a small home,'” Sean said.

“We’re seeing a lot of questions and demand starting to build up for these types of small structures, either small homes on a foundation, or tiny home on a trailer,” Dana said.

During Wednesday’s meeting, all but one resident spoke in favor of the homes. Phil Hurst, who owns a tiny home, cited the lack of affordability living in SLO.

“San Luis Obispo is unaffordable by design,” he said. “I’m literally learning how to trade stock options so I can make enough money to live here.”

Crafting agreeable rules and regulations proved a challenging discussion at the meeting. Not all the commissioners were on board.

“Is it worth the effort we’re putting forth on tiny homes?” asked Commissioner John McKenzie.

The 400-square foot maximum-sized homes would require a permit from the city, an inspection upon renewal every 12 to 36 months, and would need to look like a home in its exterior design.

City Council will take a final look at the Planning Commission’s recommendations in a November meeting where action would likely be taken.

Tiny homes can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $180,000, but the average ranges from $30,000 to $40,000.