Lyon County delays tiny house regulation discussion

The Lyon County Commission voted to postpone action on the community development item calling for options on the development of “tiny house” regulations as required by Nevada’s Senate Bill 150 at Thursday’s regular board meeting after code enforcement issues were raised.
SB150 in the Nevada legislative session was approved and signed last year by Gov. Steve Sisolak and allows local governments to use the structures as single-family dwelling units to be built, used, rented, leased or occupied for living purposes. According to the 2018 International Residential Code, a tiny house must include a living area, kitchen and bathroom that can fit within 400 square feet or less.
Section 1 of the bill requires counties that have populations of less than 100,000, all counties other than Clark or Washoe, or the governing body of a city with a population of less than 150,000, which includes all cities other than Henderson, Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Reno, to assign at least one zoning district in which a tiny house could be located and classified as an accessory dwelling unit, in which a tiny house can be located and classified as a single-family residence and in which a tiny house can be located in a tiny house park.
According to staff reports for Thursday’s meeting, Lyon County and other county governments had testified during the 2021 Nevada Legislature expressing concerns about impacts on domestic water and sewage in rural areas for houses situated on one-acre parcels in relation to the state’s administrative code’s minimum lot size requirements. NAC444.790 addresses the “installation of an individual sewage disposal system on a lot served by a well,” along with “an individual sewage disposal system on a lot served by a community water supply.”
Senior planner Rob Pyzel, in his presentation to the board Thursday, said tiny houses are meant for residents “who (want) to live an alternative lifestyle” or those who are interested “in having a minimal footprint” where they reside but added there were no regulations for recreational vehicles.
Board Chairman Ken Gray worried the structures would become “the fad of the day.”
“We want to make sure these places aren’t going to be mobile,” he said. “I’m not a big fan of these things.”
Commissioner Vida Keller said the county already offers mobile home parks and asked about the use for offering tiny home parks.
“We fought very hard in the Legislature to get that language in there for accessory use,” she said. “The board can talk more about it. That’s what I fought for. We have a lot of different zonings as to where these things can go.”
Community Development director Andrew Haskin said the county does not allow anyone to live in a recreational vehicle for code enforcement purposes. Staff had requested direction from the board to explore one of three options listed in SB150 to draft regulations for implementation. Options included amending current requirements of an accessory dwelling unit, found in Chapter 15.355.03(A), limiting a building’s structural appearance such as its height, colors and materials; a code amendment to allow a tiny house to be a permitted use in the neighborhood residential zoning district, which offers the smallest minimum lot size requirement for suburban single-family residential zoning districts, or 4,500-square-foot lots; or to have the county draft regulations for tiny house parks and designate a minimum of one zoning district that allows tiny house parks.
Staff recommended a code amendment to create a tiny house park zoning district, according to staff reports.
Public comment included Mound House Advisory Board president Melinda Cash, who recommended the board examine Flagstaff, Ariz.’s approach to its community of tiny homes.
“They have a lot of tiny homes,” Cash said. “They’re very beautiful and very difficult to get into and very in demand. Number two, I have friends who are just looking to build a summer home, and tiny homes would be popular. I would hope we’re not just going to limit this to accessory use.”


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