Photo by Travis Rains.
KINGMAN – The Planning and Zoning Commission asked staff to draft text amendments to the City’s zoning ordinances regarding the allowance of tiny homes within rural residential, residential manufactured home and R-2 zoning districts.
Tiny homes have been discussed for some time, first being brought to the commission’s attention in 2017. Considerations for tiny homes have been evaluated in commission meetings and workshops for the past several months.
Sylvia Shaffer, City planner, explained that current zoning ordinances allow for tiny homes in rural residential and residential manufactured home districts. Tiny homes can be built in these areas without being connected to sewer, unless one is available within 500 feet, and are not required to meet specific appearance criteria.
Recommendations made by staff took into account public concerns expressed at a March 7 tiny home workshop regarding devaluation of property stemming from potentially unappealing tiny homes.
The commission directed staff to bring an ordinance amendment before the commission at its next meeting that would disallow tiny homes within those districts, except in the R-MH-6 district. That district includes lots behind Kingman Regional Medical Center and on the south side of the railroad tracks.
Staff also endorsed retaining the current ordinance requiring a minimum building site of 5,000 square feet for the two districts, as opposed to amending the ordinance to allow building on lots of 2,500 square feet.
“Upon further review, the general plan land use designations in these areas are primarily medium density and low-density residential, which wouldn’t allow for the density …” that would come with tiny homes being built on 25-by-100-foot lots, Shaffer said.
Shaffer addressed the potential for tiny home construction in the R-2 zoning district, which could comprise about 24 lots downtown if amendments are made to allow homes to be built on 25-by-100-foot lots. There are 11 lots out of the 24 which could serve for tiny home construction if connected to the sewer system.
“Tiny homes are not currently allowed because there is a minimum floor area of 860 (square) feet required in this district,” Shaffer said. “New homes built in this zoning districts are required to meet developmental appearance criteria.”
The commission voted for staff to draft a zoning ordinance text amendment exempting tiny homes in this district from being a minimum of 860 square feet and having a width of 24 feet. Along with that amendment, another will be drafted to allow homes to be built on R-2 district 25-by-100-foot lots if they can be connected to the sewer system.
Another concern brought forward in the tiny home workshop dealt with cargo containers. Cargo containers can be used for constructing tiny homes, but must meet building codes and appearance criteria within the zoning district.
“At the end of the day, it still has to look like a house ...” said Keith Eaton, current building official.
Staff will also draft a definition for tiny homes to avoid confusion in their construction down the road.
“Obviously I’m in favor of tiny homes, with the caveat that they should be required to have some type of exterior appearance criteria so we don’t end up with a little dog-house looking square box with a roof on it, and that’s all we end up with,” said Commissioner Scott McCoy.
Setback requirements were also brought forward during the workshop and by Vice Chair Terry Shores. Staff will bring more information on those requirements to next month’s meeting.