Tiny Home Discussion: Marshfield, Wisconsin

Tiny Home Discussion: Marshfield, Wisconsin

Plan Commission Meeting: March 19th, 2019


Written By Janet Thome

Marshfield, Wisconsin- The Plan Commission asked the City Staff to research the topic of tiny homes to see if this type of residential building should be regulated by the zoning code. The State of Wisconsin does not adhere to the International Residential Code, but rather adheres to the Wisconsin Uniform Dwelling Code ( UDC).

The meeting was prompted by a few inquiries asking about whether or not tiny houses are allowed in Marshfield in the past. The answer is, as long as the structure meets UDC dwelling code requirements, there is no minimum size limit for a house from a zoning perspective. It is important to note that this is only the case for tiny houses that are built on a permanent foundation and is not the case for tiny homes on wheels.

A Tiny Home Does Not Have To Be 400 Square Feet Or Less

The State of Wisconsin does not adhere to the International Residential Code and references the 2018 IRC and Appendix Q in the memorandum, but  adheres to the Wisconsin Uniform Dwelling Code. Therefore, the City Staff believes that what they consider to be a tiny house does not have to be 400 square feet or less; however, it would make sense to use that definition since it is established elsewhere.

Ultimately, they can choose any size and consider that to be a “tiny house”. Staff believes that the definition of a tiny house can be added to the zoning code and a residential land use type can be created to regulate tiny houses. The only difference between a tiny house and a single-family residential use would be the size and ultimately where it can be built.

MH-8 Mobile Home Residential Zoning District

If a tiny house land use is  added to the Code, the City Staff  would recommend that these tiny houses would be permitted by right in the MH-8 Mobile Home Residential zoning district. Staff would like to know if the Plan Commission thinks that tiny houses should be allowed in other districts such as UMU or SR-6 since the lot sizes in those districts are generally small and would be a better fit. A tiny house located in these districts may still appear to be out of character; however they could potentially work as infill development or potentially be built on substandard lots that a typical single family residence would likely not be able to build on without a variance. A possibility could be to allow a tiny house as permitted by conditional use in those districts, but mention in the regulations that it can only be allowed as a conditional use if it is used as infill development, building on a substandard lot, or something similar in nature.

Tiny Homes On Wheels

A Tiny House on Wheels (THOW) creates an interesting issue because it is not technically considered to be a recreational vehicle, as a recreational vehicle is intended for non-permanent living, while a THOW is intended to be used as a residence. A THOW is similar to a recreational vehicle and appears to follow similar standards to the requirements for recreational vehicles. A THOW is defined by the Tiny House Community as “a structure which is intended as a full time residence or year-round rental property and meets these five conditions:

1. Built on a trailer that was registered with the owner’s local DMV.

2. Ability to tow via bumper hitch, frame towing hitch, or fifth-wheel connection. It cannot, nor designed to, move under its down power.

3. Is no larger than allowed by applicable state law. (The typical THOW is no more than 8’6” wide, 30’ long, and 13’6” high. Larger tiny houses may require a special commercial driver’s license and/or special permits when being towed

4. Has at least 70 square feet of first floor interior living space, and no more than 400 square feet (excluding any lofts).

5. Includes basic functional areas that support normal daily routines (such as cooking, sleeping, and toiletry

Guideline For THOW Builder

This definition is written as a guideline for a THOW builder and these guidelines are not formally recognized by a government authority. If the City were to allow THOW’s in the MH-8 Mobile Home zoning district, for example, then the question should be asked if all recreational vehicles shall be allowed in this district. City staff would not recommend this and for that reason, if THOW’s were to be allowed in any capacity, then they should only be allowed in a campground. Campgrounds are permitted by conditional use in the RH-35 Rural Holding zoning district and the GI General Industrial zoning district. There is little precedent for how these are regulated by cities in Wisconsin.

Next Step: Defining Tiny Homes And Land Use

The City may choose to regulate tiny houses by adding a definition and land use for the term, or a limit can be set on minimum building size for dwelling units in each zoning district. Under the current Code, a house of any size can be built as long as the UDC standards are conforming. The main thing to decide is whether the City believes that: there should be a limit on the size of small houses, if those types of houses are only to be allowed in certain zoning districts, or if the Code shall remain the same. The next step would be deciding if there should be just one definition for tiny homes. For example, a tiny house can be considered to be “a dwelling unit that is 400 square feet or less in area excluding lofts, or if each zoning district should create a minimum dwelling unit size requirement as well.

City Planner: Bryce Hembrook

For more information contact Bryce Hembrook, City Planner of Marshfield, Wisconsin at 715 486 2074. I followed up on the agenda and it has not progressed at this time.



Small House Specialty Code: Oregon HB243

Small House Specialty Code: Oregon HB243

Adopts Small Home Specialty Code to regulate construction of homes

Not more than 400 square feet in size Effective October 1st, 2019

Written By Janet Thome
Photo: Oregon Cottage Company

”Small House Specialty Code” – Means the specialty code adopted under section 2 of this 2019 act. It means a code of regulations adopted under ORS 446.062, 446.185, 447.020 (2), 455.020 (2),455.496, 455.610, 455.680, 460.085, 460.360, 479.730 (1) or 480.545 or section 2 of this 2019 Act.

Section 2 Of HB243 : Including But Not Limited To  Appendix Q

1) As used in this section, “small home” means a single family residence that is not more than 400 square feet in size.(2) Not withstanding ORS 455.020 and 455.030, the 2018 International Residential Code, including  but not limited to Appendix Q of that code, is adopted as a Small Home Specialty Code applicable to the construction of a small home.


  • Requires amendment of Low-Rise Residential Dwelling Code to provide that Small Home Specialty Code supersedes conflicting provisions of Low-Rise Residential Dwelling Code.
  • Authorizes municipal building official to alter, modify or waive specialty code requirements for small home if strict adherence to Small Home Specialty Code is impractical or infeasible.
  • Requires that building permits and zoning permits for small home designate small home as single family project.
  • Requires that certificate of occupancy for small home allow occupancy only for residential use as single family dwelling.
  • Specifies application of fire sprinkler head and fire sprinkler system design criteria to small homes.
  • Authorizes municipal building official to allow increased detection and occupant notification in lieu of fire sprinkler head or fire sprinkler system.
  • Requires that small home be built with listed heat detector unit alarm or listed photoelectric smoke alarm.
  • Sunsets Small Home Specialty Code and small home fire sprinkler design , heat detector and smoke alarm provisions on January 2, 2026.

Text Bill HB243


Hi Janet,

Oregon Reach Code:  No Longer Applies

Thank you for the call. On and after October 1, the Reach Code path and the R329 ORSC amendments (temporary rule) are no longer applicable or available. As you correctly pointed out, links to the Reach Code have been removed from our website. Starting October 1st HB 2423 will become effective. Thus, the bill creates the “Small Home Specialty Code” that governs the construction of “small homes” which are defined as not more than 400 square feet in size.

The local building department where the home is to be located is the best resource for any specific local requirements to be discussed. I encourage you to reach the local building officials for specific small home projects and policies.

A copy of HB 2423 can be located on the legislature’s website: Oregon State Legislature

Local building department contact information can be located on the division’s website:Locate A Building Department

I hope this information is helpful.

I’ve copied our technical team for consistent communication purposes.

Francisco Ramos Building Code Specialist|Policy & Technical Services

Oregon Department of Consumer & Business Services|Building Codes Division

Office: 503-373-7542 Website

Francisco Ramos-Building Code Specialist-Policy And Technical Services

 Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 197.493: Placement And Occupancy Of Recreational Vehicle

1) A state agency or local government may not prohibit the placement or occupancy of a recreational vehicle, or impose any limit on the length of occupancy of a recreational vehicle, solely on the grounds that the occupancy is in a recreational vehicle, if the recreational vehicle is:

(a) Located in a manufactured dwelling park, mobile home park or recreational vehicle park;

(b) Occupied as a residential dwelling; and

(c) Lawfully connected to water and electrical supply systems and a sewage disposal system.

(2) Subsection (1) of this section does not limit the authority of a state agency or local government to impose other special conditions on the placement or occupancy of a recreational vehicle. [2005 c.619 §12]

Note: See note under 197.492 (Definitions for ORS 197.492 and 197.493).

Article Source Oregon Laws.Org

Related: Oregon Legislation For The RV Industry

Last week, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law a bill that eliminates the Department of Consumer and Business Services from regulating RVs.

Oregon Duplicative Compliance Seal Eliminated

With the enactment of this new law, the need to attach an additional and duplicative Oregon insignia of compliance or seal to RVs is eliminated and Oregon joins the vast majority of states which do not regulate the manufacturing of RVs.

Removes Requirement For PMRV Manufacturers To Use Licensed Plumbers And Electricians

Additionally, the new law removes the requirement for PMRV manufacturers in the state of Oregon to use licensed plumbers and licensed electricians to make installations and repairs. The bill, OR SB 410, takes effect January 1, 2020.

Article Source Tiny Home Industry Association

Related: Jurisdictional Gap Between Two Oregon State Agencies

The Oregon DMV, meanwhile, said state law until recently prohibited it from providing titles to park model RVs because they’re not street-legal and aren’t considered a vehicle. The Legislature passed House Bill 2333 to expand the DMV’s responsibilities to include park model RVs, but that law doesn’t take effect until Jan. 1st, 2019.

Article Source The Oregonian

Related: Governor Signs Four Housing Bills

Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed four housing bills into law Thursday designed to address the state’s housing crisis.

Senate Bill 5512, House Bill 2003, HB 2006 and the controversial HB 2001, now signed into law, each address Oregon’s housing crisis.

“This session, we committed to significant investments that will help every Oregon family have a warm, safe, and dry place to call home,” Brown said in a news release. “No one single solution will address our housing crisis, and this legislation tackles the whole spectrum of issues, from homelessness, to stable rental housing, to increasing home ownership.”

Article Source Register Guard

Back Story On Oregon Titling Issues And Building Codes

Related HB 2737









Should Tiny Homes Be Allowed In Humboldt County, Ca.?

Should Tiny Homes Be Allowed In Humboldt County, Ca.?

Seeking Public Comments To Help County Decide

Written By Janet Thome

Humboldt County, California- Should tiny homes be allowed? Where tiny houses will be allowed in the future depends on how the county  defines tiny houses  and what codes and standards apply to their construction. The public is invited to help the County figure out if, when and where they should be allowed by contacting Mary Milner, the planner of Humboldt County.

California Definition

There is currently no official definition of a Tiny House in California. However, in practice, it is generally understood that a Tiny House is a permanent dwelling or bedroom less than 400 square feet in size, either built on a tow able chassis (Moveable Tiny House) or attached to a foundation.

Proposed Definition

The definition of the Tiny House dictates which building code or standards apply to its construction. Humboldt County proposes a definition that includes the following characteristics:

Classification as a permanent, year-round dwelling,

On wheels or on a foundation

.A few jurisdictions around the state have adopted local ordinances that permit Tiny Homes on Wheels (also known as Moveable Tiny Houses) as Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). These are These are Fresno, Ojai, Placer County, San Luis Obispo  and Los Angeles (proposed, not yet approved).

Why Promote Tiny Houses?

When the International Code Commission (ICC )made changes to its residential code (IRC) in 2018 to facilitate Tiny House construction, its rule making document cited these reasons:

Average US home size is increasing, while family decreasing;

Tiny Houses use a fraction of the wood and wood products of a conventional home

Lifetime conditioning costs can be as low as 7% of conventionally sized homes;

Increased housing cost makes home ownership unfeasible for many;

Tiny Houses can add to affordable  owned and rental housing stock

Tiny House Fact Sheet

Call  Mary Milner, Planner at 707-268-3772

Eureka Is Encouraging Homeowners To Build ADUs In Their Backyards

One of the city’s main priorities is encouraging homeowners to build mother-in-law units in their backyards and to offer perks to developers who construct affordable-by-design units.

There are also 22 churches in the city, most of which are zoned in single-family residential zones and which also have large parking lots, Holmlund said. A couple of parking spaces in those lots can also be used for tiny houses.

“We encourage all the churches in town to do this,” Holmlund said. “Maybe they have the resources to find someone that is very low-income or homeless, have them live in that unit, work with them, coach them into reintegrating into society and then we have 22 more housing units just like that.”

Article Source Time Standard

2019 Housing Element

Welcome to Humboldt County’s Housing Element Update page. It is intended to inform people, and invite community input about current and future housing in the unincorporated parts of the county.

Housing Element Progress – Latest Version

The files below represent the version of the Housing Element to be presented at the August 20, 2019 Board of Supervisors hearing. It includes public input, revisions requested by the Planning Commission, by Dept. of Housing and Community Development (HCD), and by Legal Services of Northern California. The last file is a summary of the revisions.

Topics Related To Housing
New allowances for ADUs
New allowances for Tiny Houses
How Can You Participate?

You are invited to help us update the Housing Element in several ways:

Sign up for notifications
Attend workshop(s)
Take our surveys
Submit written comments
Attend Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors hearings

You can sign up for email or text notifications for the Housing Element update and other topics on the County’s website at: Notify Me

Select “General Plan Implementation” for Housing Element workshops, meetings, and notices.


As work on the Element progresses, interactive surveys and tools for public comment on specific topics will be incorporated into this and other websites. To receive notifications as surveys become available, sign up at Notify Me. Select “General Plan Implementation”.

Written Comments

Please send written communications to: longrangeplanning@co.humboldt.ca.us

All comments will be part of public record.

Contact Person for Housing Element

2019 Housing Element

Michelle Nielsen, email: MNielsen@co.humboldt.ca.us

With Housing Element Passed, Staff Pushes Forward on Tiny Houses  August 29th, 2019

The nonprofit Affordable Homeless Housing Alternatives, which has long lobbied for creative solutions to the county’s housing crisis, applauded the board’s vote to pass a plan that, in addition to tiny homes, also includes provisions for a sanctuary parking program and campground.

Article Source NCJ

Bold New Approaches

But there are also some “bold new approaches,” according to the county’s staff report. “For example,” it states, “the amendments propose to dramatically expand allowances for accessory dwelling units (formally known as second units), and to create new allowances for tiny homes, moveable tiny houses, and tiny house villages.”

This comes as welcome news to many of the county’s most prominent activists on homelessness issues. Nezzie Wade, board president of the group Affordable Homeless Housing Alternatives (AHHA), said she’s very happy the county has included tiny houses in its plan.

Article Source Lost Coast Outpost

Related: Shit Talking: Humboldt County Looks at Adjusting Compost Toilet Rules Amidst Bureaucratic Tangle

A handful of rural resident stakeholders see composting toilets as the most environmentally responsible method for disposing of human waste in Humboldt County. When residents live away from communities with sewage services, wastewater is generally treated with septic systems under California Plumbing Code, but a group of rural residents are saying septic systems needlessly waste water and energy. These stakeholders are encouraging the County to not merely allow water-less and composting toilet systems but to see them as the preferred method of waste treatment in low density areas such as Southern Humboldt.

Article Source Redheaded Blackbelt

Related: Water less Toilet Systems Ordinance Passed

Photo Credit: American Tiny House

New Edition Of IRC Appendix Q: 2021

New Edition Of IRC Appendix Q: 2021

The International Residential Code is a comprehensive, stand alone residential code that creates minimum regulations for one-and two family dwellings of three stories or less.
Appendix Q-Adopted  into  the 2018 International Residential Code ( IRC ) building code to provide regulations and standards for tiny homes on a foundation that is 400 square feet or less.

The ICC publishes new editions of the International Codes every three years. To Learn more about Appendix Q and the ICC Development Process click Here,

Martin Hammer- Architect and the original co-author of the Appendix Q has been the primary proponent of the new edition of Appendix Q 2021. Martin and the following co-proponents have been involved with the editing and public comment process in various degrees of involvement since December 2018.

Co-Proponents Include:

David Eisenberg: Developer Of The Strawbale Appendix Of The 2015 IRC
Chuck Ballard: President Of Pacific West Associates and the Director of Standards Of THIA
Brad Wiseman: CEO and Chairman of THIA
Thom Stanton: COO and President of THIA
Zack Giffin: Co-Host of Tiny House Nation And Board Member Of THIA
Byron Fears: Owner and Builder of SimBlissity Tiny Homes

2019 Group B Proposed Changes To The I-Codes Albuquerque Committee

2018/2019 Code Development Group: B -ICC 



Smithville, Texas Wants Public Comment On Tiny Homes

Call To Action : Should Smithville Adopt Appendix Q?

Smithville, Texas- Has put out the call for public comment on tiny homes and are requesting interested parties to fill out their survey. I have reached out and asked them if they only want local residents. I will be updating

Smithville, Texas Wants To Know What You Think About Bringing Tiny Homes in Smithville

Tiny Home Survey

The City of Smithville is seeking public input regarding Tiny Homes.  Your feedback is extremely valuable as the City Council considers the issue to allow (or not to allow) Tiny Homes within our community.
Please complete the following SURVEY  The ten (10) question survey will take 3-5 minutes to complete.
What is a “Tiny Home”? After an intense vetting and a three-stage voting process in 2017, the International Code Council (ICC) approved the definition of a Tiny Home for use in the International Residential Code (IRC) Appendix Q: A “Tiny House” is a dwelling that is 400 square feet (37 sq m) or less in floor area excluding lofts. For more information about the code, see:

Additional Appendix Q Information

Deadline Is August 8th, 2019