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Comfortable

A tiny house can pack big features, like a roomy curbless shower, a sink big enough to wash a baby, and even an oven.

 

Durable

Built to last of solid douglas fir 2 x 4 framing, our houses blend best practices from years of building experience with innovations in small scale design.

 

Portable

Street legal with a standard driver's license, these abodes can take to the road on firmly attached flatbed trailer foundations.

TO: Windsor Town Council – General Plan Windsor 2040

Converging trends demand new solutions for affordable housing, especially rentals:

  • foreclosures and rising rental demand throughout Sonoma County

  • retiring Baby Boomers transitioning to fixed incomes in huge numbers

  • elimination of affordable housing agencies in California in 2012 due to federal budget cuts

  • skyrocketing cost of education and challenging terms in education lending

  • growing gap between wages and "average" housing costs

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:

  • property owners to live in during remodeling or construction of a primary residence

  • people who need care; as housing for the person needing care or the caregiver

  • students attending high school, college, college preparation courses, or vocational training

  • affordable rental housing (owners must show mortgage payment is >30% of income, live on site, and rent at affordable rates to low income tenants

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
http://www.pressdemocrat.com/business/2504069-181/rents-soar-in-sonoma-county?page=4
Affordable housing crisis in Sonoma County 8/5/14
http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/2480257-181/affordable-housing-crisis-in-sonoma
THE STATE OF WORKING SONOMA IN 2013 Income Inequality, Poverty and Low-Wage Employment
http://northbayop.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Sonoma-report-final-4.24.13-1.pdf
Town of Windsor Planning Documents
https://www.ci.windsor.ca.us/index.aspx?NID=843
Windsor Demographic and Income Profile 2013
http://www.ci.windsor.ca.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1725
Sonoma County Rules Allow Little Houses
http://littlehouseonthetrailer.com/blog/zoning-rules-allow-little-houses/
2015 Sonoma County Indicators, Economic Development Board
http://edb.sonoma-county.org/documents/sotc_2015/sonoma_county_indicators_report_2015.pdf
Economic and Demographic Profile Sonoma County 2012-13
http://edb.sonoma-county.org/documents/2012/Economic-Demographic-Profile-2012-13.pdf
Sonoma County, City Data
http://www.city-data.com/county/Sonoma_County-CA.html
Sonoma County Affordable Housing Program Requirements and Incentives
https://www.municode.com/library/ca/sonoma_county/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=CH26SOCOZORE_ART89AFHOPRREIN
What is Affordable Housing? East Bay Housing Organizations
http://www.ebho.org/resources/what-is-affordable-housing
2015 Federal Poverty Guidelines 1/22/15
http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/15poverty.cfm


 

About Us

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.

http://www.bungalowtogo.com/
https://www.facebook.com/bungalowtogo
http://realtimerealtiny.blogspot.com/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCz0ywSCCtDJgjFYJvsobMow
http://tinyhouseblog.com/stick-built/introducing-bungalow-to-go/
http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/products/peppers-lusby
http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/blogs/tumbleweed/5913101-see-pepper-s-house-on-february-19
http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/blogs/tumbleweed/5913091-pepper-tumbleweed-a-perfect-combo