A 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.