Duluth Considers Tiny Home Zoning Changes

Updated: June 25, 2019 10:37 PM

Many people consider things like tiny homes or shipping containers turned into houses as ways to live with a smaller footprint. 

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The City of Duluth is considering changes to zoning for those types of houses. 

A tiny house, according to city code, has a gross floor area of 400 square feet or less. It can be a residence on its own or can supplement an existing building. 

Adam Fulton, deputy director of Planning and Development for the city, said his department wants to expand the range of housing options available in Duluth. 

"What we've heard tonight is that many people are interested in constructing a tiny houses, looking at them for a variety of options, whether they're thinking about downsizing or just looking at alternative housing types," he said. 

The zoning changes would include allowing for residential buildings that are narrower than 20 feet and would say that any supplemental houses must be placed on permanent foundations that comply with state code.

It also updates the required setbacks and says that if a tiny home is added where there is already a home, it cannot exceed the floor area or height of the main building. 

The city would not require additional off-street parking spaces for the "accessory" homes. 

Fulton Tuesday's meeting was to give people an idea about how this might roll out over the next several months. 

"All of the changes that are being discussed have been discussed previously. These are things that come out of the Imagine Duluth 2035 comprehensive plan update that was adopted last June," Fulton said. 

He anticipates taking it to the Planning Commission in July, having another public meeting in August and bringing it to the City Council in September. 

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