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BOCC considers ‘tiny home’ developments

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In March, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) directed Planning Administrator Michelle Miller and staff to develop recommendations and an action plan for tiny homes and communities built for tiny home construction. These were presented at the regular meeting on November 29, 2022. The matter was presented for discussion and direction, and no votes were taken.

Tiny Homes are defined as single dwelling units smaller than 400 square feet, excluding lofts. In 2021, Appendix Q of Florida’s building code was amended to include definitions and provisions for these structures. The code also only applies to site-built homes on engineered foundations and not mobile or tiny homes on wheels. Those are permitted by the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles.

Recommendations by the Florida Affordable Housing Advisory Committee include permitting tiny homes in any zoning designation that allows mobile homes and allowing size restrictions to be governed by building codes.

For Hernando County, the recommendations begin with developing Planned Development Project (PDP) zones specifically for tiny home communities. For these districts, the following is recommended:

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— Require 30% open space to be owned and maintained by HOA or Property Management Association
— Require development space to be a minimum of 10 acres
— Set density not to exceed eight homes per acre, which is consistent with current mobile home standards
— Allow no more than 25% of homes in the community to be on wheels. Homes with those configurations are to be placed along the exterior aspect of the project. Commissioners will also consider specific sections for those homes, not necessarily along the perimeter.
— Set specific design criteria, such as comprehensive open space, a pedestrian plan, and the incorporation of buffers, parks, and natural vegetation

The next steps are to modify existing land development regulations, which will require a hearing by the Planning and Zoning Commission, followed by 2 public hearings by the BOCC.

Aside from tiny homes, commissioners also discussed homes smaller than the 900-square-foot Hernando County Code minimum but larger than the 400-foot tiny home designation. This matter is also expected to come back to the board for discussion and possible changes to those rules as well.

One of the hindrances to erecting tiny homes or smaller homes, in general, has been a State requirement that an accessory structure, such as a garage or shed, could not be larger than the living space of the main structure. In August 2021, the State Building Code amended the requirement, and there is currently no restriction on the size of these accessory structures relative to the size of the main dwelling.

Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil is a reporter for the Hernando Sun as well as a business technology developer, specializing in website development, content management systems, and data analysis.
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