Category Archives: Hawaii

10/20 Planning Committee Report on Maui Housing Inventory includes Tiny Home Options

Jen Chalupsky sits on the front step of a tiny house

Jen Chalupsky in the entrance of an Island Tiny Home. Photo by Kailea Sonrisa.

A temporary investigative group filed a report with the Planning Committee focused on increasing the County’s housing inventory.

The group was chaired by Councilmember Elle Cochran, with Councilmembers Gladys Baisa and Don Couch serving as members.

The group convened on five meeting dates between Aug.1 and Sept. 22, 2016, and identified five items that if implemented would help to improve housing inventory for Maui County.

The highest priority item was legislation needed to amend the zoning ordinance to allow accessory or affordable accessory dwellings on smaller lots.

The reports states that the change would immediately result in the potential for building additional homes without the need for other land use entitlements or applications. The down side is the potential to increase the density of development in already crowded or compact residential areas…

Item #4 would explore zoning and permitting issues relating to the establishment of “tiny house” communities and tiny houses on existing lots. The group recommended investigating the use of tiny homes in the County including how to define the term “tiny home,” whether tiny homes could be clustered and where, what services (roadways, water, sanitation, etc.) would be required, and in what zoning districts tiny homes would be allowed.

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10/08 Tiny houses to increase Maui County’s affordable housing?

tiny house in HawaiiA Maui County Council investigative group has recommended action, including the possibility of allowing “tiny houses,” to increase the islands’ inventory of affordable housing.

“Tiny homes are being used successfully in many communities on the Mainland to provide for needed housing,” according to a report released this week by the Temporary Investigative Group of the Planning Committee. “Some tiny homes are smaller homes (less than 400 square feet) that are built from conventional materials in the conventional manner. These homes are permitted under the county building code but are treated as any other home for zoning purposes. Other tiny homes are houselike construction built on a trailer chassis. It is unclear how tiny homes with wheels are treated for purposes of the building and zoning codes.”

The report notes that the development code of the city of Fresno, Calif., was amended in January to allow a tiny house on wheels to be used as a second dwelling unit, backyard cottage and accessory living quarters on single-family residential lots. There already is a Maui builder of tiny homes.

Department of Planning Deputy Director Michele Chouteau McLean said there’s nothing stopping property owners now from building one tiny home or even two, if there’s enough space on a lot. She noted that the County Code permits a home and an ohana on properties.

Allowing for three or more homes on a single lot in a residential area would require a change in the County Code, she said.

And, even though a house is “tiny” and less expensive to build than a conventionally sized home, its occupants still need electricity, wastewater disposal, trash pickups and parking, she said.

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Building code map

Handy map of the US. Just click on your state (in the link, not on the picture) to see which building codes are in effect:

International Code Council Map

International Code Council map

Park Model RV Regulations, State-by-State

The RVIA has provided a table showing regulations by state for park model RVs

What is a park model? 

Below is a description from the RVIA:

On July 1, 2012, RVIA created a new membership category for manufacturers of park model RVs (PMRVs). A park model RV (also known as a recreational park trailer) is a trailer-type RV that is designed to provide temporary accommodation for recreation, camping or seasonal use. PMRVs are built on a single chassis, mounted on wheels and have a gross trailer area not exceeding 400 square feet in the set -up mode. They are certified by their manufacturers as complying with the ANSI A119.5 standard for recreational park trailers.

PMRVs are most often used in recreational vehicle campgrounds. They may be owned by the campground and rented to guests, or they may be brought in and used exclusively by their owners on a site rented or leased from the campground. They can also be placed by their owners on private property. These RVs are used for recreational purposes only. They are not meant to be permanently affixed to the property, they do not improve property values in any way, and they are neither designed nor intended by their manufacturers to be used as permanent residences.

Two different types of park model RVs are offered. One type is less than 8′ 6″ in width and is designed for frequent travel on the highways while the other and more popular type is wider than 8′ 6″ (usually 12′ in width), and must be transported with special movement permit. The 8′ 6″ unit typically is expandable when it reaches its destination utilizing slide-outs or tip-outs. The wider units, being less mobile, are usually sited in a resort or RV park location for an extended term, typically several years. Park model RVs are titled as vehicles by the various states. This is because PMRVs are built on permanent chassis such that they can be and are moved either within a campground or between campgrounds.

Free Online Zoning Codes

Here are two sources of online codes:

  • Municodes from the Nation’s leading legal publisher.
  • The American Legal Publishing Company provides a free online library of state and municipal codes for most locations. Click on the map to go to the library and chose your state and city. Then search or scroll for descriptions of minimum lot sizes, setback rules, etc.

    American Legal Publishing Compay online library

    American Legal Publshing Company online library

    Information is available for all states except these 13: AL, CO, ID, KS, LA, MO, MS, ND, NV, UT, VT, WA, WY.