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Tiny homes: Vote brings city into compliance

Call it a case of just because something has been approved does not mean it will actually happen.

In their Aug. 8, 2023 meeting, the city council voted unanimously to amend existing zoning to allow for tiny homes as an allowed use within areas of the city already designated for use as mobile home parks and mobile home estates.

The change brings Boulder City into compliance with state law. In 2021, the Nevada State Legislature passed SB150, which mandated that municipalities in the state have to adjust their zoning ordinances to allow for tiny homes no later than Jan. 1 of 2024.

While members of the public expressed fears based on popular television shows that had seen things like shipping containers and old school buses converted into living quarters and expressed an opinion that such dwellings would not be “in character” for Boulder City, city Development Director Michael Mays explained that such fears were unfounded in this case.

“A tiny home is defined as a residential dwelling that is 400 square feet or smaller excluding lofts.” Later he clarified that, using the example of the school bus, “Anything that would be affixed with wheels would be considered a vehicle and that would be considered an RV.”

The key bit of info came under questioning from Councilmember Steve Walton, who asked if, regardless of the zoning allowing for tiny homes if owners of mobile home parks could disallow them on their property or if a homeowners’ association representing tract owners in a mobile home estate might disallow tiny homes in their covenants, conditions and restrictions (commonly known as CC&Rs).

The answer that came back was, yes. The fact that zoning allows for such homes does not mean private property owners are bound to allow such usage. All the zoning change does is bring Boulder City into technical compliance with this new state law. The only requirement of SB150 other than that tiny homes have to be allowed in zoning was that a city or county “must consider whether the locations of tiny houses in the designated zoning districts will have disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental effects on minority populations and low-income populations.”

The city anticipates no such adverse effects as tiny home would be treated, for zoning purposes, exactly the same as mobile homes.

In other action, the council voted to change the zoning of 783 acres in the Eldorado Valley from government open land space to energy resources.This plot is adjacent to land to the north and to the east, which is already zoned for energy resources and will likely be used for additional future solar development.

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