Travis Saenz of Adventure Cabins, a San Bernardino company that makes tiny homes.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Interested in tiny homes? Santa Cruz County wants to hear from you

County officials are holding a series of public meetings, beginning Wednesday, to gather input on building and regulating tiny homes. While tiny homes are currently permitted as stationary dwellings, the county wants to establish development guidelines moving forward.

As Santa Cruz County continues to experience a housing shortage, one solution could make a small but mighty impact: tiny homes.

Beginning Wednesday evening, the county will host a series of three virtual meetings to discuss the best ways to build and regulate tiny homes. Each session will be focused on a single topic: starting with building in coastal urban areas, then moving to what rural builders should consider, and ending with issues specific to South County.

Tiny homes meeting schedule

All three virtual meetings are 6-7:30 p.m.
Wednesday: Focus on coastal urban areas. Join the meeting here.
Tuesday, Dec. 7: Focus on rural concerns, including septic systems and CZU fire recovery. Join the meeting here.
Thursday, Dec. 9: Focus on South County. Join the meeting here.

    The dwellings — typically under 400 square feet — can be either on foundations or on wheels. Stationary tiny homes are already allowed in the county, subject to building and zoning codes. However, the same home on wheels would be considered a recreational vehicle or trailer and are not permitted in the county outside of designated RV parks or as temporary housing.

    Due to this, the county wants to hear from the public, with the goal of establishing specific regulations for future tiny home developments.

    Making it easier to add more tiny homes to the area’s housing stock wouldn’t be the only update to county housing regulations in the works.

    Senate Bills 9 and 10 will go into effect on Jan. 1, allowing for more development opportunities throughout the county. SB 9 would allow for up to four units on single-family lots, while SB 10 would allow cities and counties to approve up to 10-unit buildings on single-family lots.

    Additionally, the county board of supervisors adopted an ADU ordinance on Oct. 19 that — pending certification from the California Coastal Commission — could further streamline the development of the so-called in-law units, in line with state laws and guidelines.

    Santa Cruz home designer Pat Powers told Lookout recently that the developments could be a real solution: “The ADUs allow a lot of families in Santa Cruz to have their children live in them, or family members … it might create a better sense of community.”