Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses recently met with officials from La Plata County (where we are based in SW Colorado) to discuss legalizing tiny houses within the county. Lo and behold, they were already a few steps ahead of us and have established some guidelines for allowing tiny house owners to legally place their units within the county! This is fantastic news! They are tired of watching affordable housing issues pile up without much being done about it, and luckily, they view tiny houses as a very practical means of tackling some of these issues.
There are still tons of details to iron out, but we have agreed to help them fine tune the rules and processes which they will require all applicants to go through. Here are some of the larger takeaways from the meeting though:
- Houses can be placed as a primary or accessory dwelling. There will be separate procedures for each instance.
- For New Construction, which is going to have the highest success rate of achieving a Certificate of Occupancy, there will be plan review, permitting, scheduled inspections during construction, and a final inspection procedures just as if the tiny house was a normal site built house.
- As part of the plan review, they will require engineered drawings for the trailer, wall framing, and roof framing providing for 110 psf snow load (the highest possible snow load in the county since there is developable land above 10,000 ft, and since the houses would be mobile) For site built houses this load can be adjusted per the site elevation.
- Houses must be hooked up to an approved Septic or sewer system
- For Existing Builds, professional inspections will need to occur accompanied with letters deeming the structure satisfactory for the structural needs, unless the house is already certified by an approved reciprocal entity.
- Min 220 sq ft, with 100 sq ft extra per person beyond 2 people
- Must have a separate closet
- Kitchen must have a sink, cooking appliance, refrigerator, and a clear working space of not less than 30″
- Bathroom must be separate and include a toilet, lavatory, and shower or bathtub
- All light, ventilation, and life safety requirements must be met
Keep in mind, these are just key points. The nitty gritty details will not be completely ironed out for a while, however, this is still fantastic news and a great benchmark to begin with. RMTH is very hopeful we can work with La Plata County to develop a model for counties all across Colorado and the US to utilize for allowing folks to live tiny legally!