Lawrence, KS Regulations Related to Tiny Houses

State Chapter Leader Beth Cain emailed the Lawrence City Planning Office. Here are replies from Lynne Braddock Zollner, AICP Historic Resources Administrator, www.lawrenceks.org/pds/

For Tiny Houses built on foundations:

1. Are there regions that have no minimum size square footage for a new home?
Minimum size is based on adopted building code requirements [currently IRC 2012, so at least one room must be 120 sq ft and other rooms -except kitchen & bath- must be 50 sq ft].

2. What is the minimum size lot on which one can build a home?
The smallest single-dwelling residential district is RS3 which has a 3,000 square foot minimum lot size.

3. Which year of building code does the city enforce (2009, 2012, 2015…)?
Lawrence has adopted the 2012 IRC and ICC. Building Code Advisory Boards are currently reviewing the 2015 codes in anticipation of their adoption next year.

4. Are there any regions in which an accessory dwelling unit is allowed?
ADUs are permitted in RS7, RS10, RS20 & RS40 single-dwelling residential districts. They are not permitted in RS5 or RS3 districts.

5. Are alternative power methods (solar, small wind, propane, etc.) permissible? Solar is permitted. Small wind devices are permitted within setbacks and 35’ height limit. Propane is regulated by the IFC.

6. Are composting toilets permissible if the effluent is properly disposed of? No.

For Tiny Houses on wheels:

1. Is it allowed to live (“camp”) in a tiny house on wheels (RV) on one’s own land? On someone else’s land? If yes, is there a time limit?
Camping is not permitted in any of these situations. Camping is only allowed in an approved campground.

2. If living in a tiny house on wheels is not allowed, would it be permissible if one were to remove the wheels, secure to a pad, and add skirting, similar to a mobile home? If yes, would the tiny house need to have been built to any particular code or standard?
Currently, the Development Code permits Residential-Design Manufactured Homes on individual RS lots when constructed on a permanent foundation in accordance with standards in 20-513 (attached). If the tiny home does not meet these standards, code amendments would be required before the home could be allowed. Location of several detached homes on one lot would require approval through a base residential zoning with the Planned Development Overlay, or through the Special Use Permit process.

3. Are alternative power methods (solar, small wind, propane, etc.) permissible?
Solar and wind as noted above.

4. Are composting toilets permissible if the effluent is properly disposed of? No.

5. If permission of the owner of private property is granted, may a unit be parked on a driveway or in a side or back yard?
No, the code does not currently allow this.

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Elaine Walker