City of Duluth Proposing Zoning Amendment for Tiny Houses

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: September 06, 2019 10:30 PM

Tiny houses are a growing trend across the country. The City of Duluth has proposed a new zoning ordinance for tiny houses.


The Planning Commission is taking up an ordinance that will revise the definition of a dwelling and it’s going to look at the reduction in some of the requirements regarding a minimum dwelling size. Right now, they require any dwelling to have a minimum dimension of 20 feet.

"A tiny house typically in our case will be anchored to the ground and attached to the city water and sewer and is a dwelling considered permanent,” said Adam Fulton, the interim director of planning and economic development for the City of Duluth.

A tiny house fixed in place will be considered dwellings, either as an accessory dwelling or as small single family houses.

A tiny house on wheels however, will be considered a temporary dwelling either as recreational vehicles or travel trailers. Those would be allowed in RV parks, mobile home parks, or camp grounds.

The new regulations that pertain to tiny houses will have some new options like having a group of tiny houses. They'll be considered a cottage development and require a special use unit. 

The language-related to tiny houses, as well as code amendments related to shipping containers, tree preservation, and craft distilleries are anticipated to receive a recommendation from the Duluth Planning Commission on Sept. 10. 

Fulton added that shipping containers can be considered tiny houses as long as its permanent foundation and compliant with building codes.

"We intend to proceed with this regulation because it will diversify the types of housing that can be built in our city," Fulton said.

For more information on tiny houses, click here.

Short term housing vacation home rentals have also been a growing trend. On Monday a lottery opens for interim use permits. St. Louis County capped it at 60. This will be the second lottery that they’ve done. Individuals can now submit inquiries for an application to apply for a vacation rental license.

Last year they had about 18 people that participated in the lottery and were placed on the list. During the course of last year Fulton said they filled many of them.

He added that the new lottery will allow them to continue that list and move forward in a fair manner. Fulton said the permits will only be available as people move or the permits are expired and not renewed. The permits are good for six years.


Alejandra Palacios

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