TO: Windsor Town Council – General Plan Windsor 2040
Converging trends demand new solutions for affordable housing, especially rentals:
It's clear we need more affordable housing for students, elders, and families in transition woven into the fabric of the community. But without federal subsidies, it's hard to find funding. We need a flexible affordable housing solution. What better than one created by those affected?
Let's discuss allowing tiny homes on wheels as accessory dwellings in Windsor with a permit and an annual fee. These custom homes range from 120 to 200 square feet on a permanent chassis and are set up on demand, custom tailored to individual sites and needs. With charm and curb appeal, these portable homes can ease life's transitions for as long as needed, then be towed away with a pickup when the need passes.
Windsor allows second dwelling units, with requirements for architectural compatibility and available parking. The Sonoma County PRMD allows temporary units on wheels for a few specific purposes. Their permitting process includes common sense guidelines and requirements for hooking up to sanitary and electrical systems safely, but only apply on land in unincorporated Sonoma County.
We see a viable path forward combining these ordinances as policy governing the use of tiny homes on wheels in Windsor residential zones. An initial permit application could require plans, elevations, site photos, and a plan check fee. Annual renewals could require a smaller fee and recent photos.
We suggest an application process so homeowners can host tiny homes for specific purposes:
Tiny homes as accessory units can give the most vulnerable folks of Windsor the flexibility they need to make mortgage payments and stay in their homes, afford higher education, live near family with dignity, or live frugally to save toward property ownership. I liken the tiny house fever sweeping the nation to an immune system response reacting to the mortgage crisis. Let's give it a chance to do its good work right here.
With warm regards from your neighbors,
Paprika Clark and Dylan Pankow
Sources Resources and Further Reading
Rents soar in Sonoma County 8/10/14
Affordable housing crisis in Sonoma County 8/5/14
THE STATE OF WORKING SONOMA IN 2013 Income Inequality, Poverty and Low-Wage Employment
Town of Windsor Planning Documents
Windsor Demographic and Income Profile 2013
Sonoma County Rules Allow Little Houses
2015 Sonoma County Indicators, Economic Development Board
Economic and Demographic Profile Sonoma County 2012-13
Sonoma County, City Data
Sonoma County Affordable Housing Program Requirements and Incentives
What is Affordable Housing? East Bay Housing Organizations
2015 Federal Poverty Guidelines 1/22/15
We're Paprika Clark and Dylan Pankow, partners with backgrounds in design, construction, landscaping, and automotive, which positioned us to do something about it when bitten by the tiny house bug in 2008. Now we operate Bungalow to Go, a home based business offering small house teaching, consulting, drafting, and design since 2012. Tiny homes have changed our lives and we want to do everything we can to help others enjoy similar yet unique opportunities to simplify and rebuild around heartfelt principles.