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The Crestone Eagle is a nonprofit monthly newspaper serving Crestone and the San Luis Valley

Tiny homes House Bill could provide pathway for updated codes

By Chantelle Pence, August 2023

A pathway has been laid for counties in Colorado to adopt building codes that will allow for tiny homes to be utilized as permanent structures. House Bill 1242—which went into effect August 10, 2022 and began July 1 of this year—regulates the manufacturers, sellers, and installers of manufactured homes, and the act included tiny homes to be regulated similarly. 

Two representatives from the tiny home industry were added to an advisory committee that will provide input to the oversight board.  The board will create specific standards for tiny homes, utilizing existing national standards and modifying them as necessary. 

The board will regulate foundations, establish standards for connecting tiny homes to utilities, and oversee compliance with applicable codes. In short, the Bill was written to protect consumers from purchasing poorly built (mobile) tiny homes, and to provide language for towns, counties, and local oversight groups to adopt codes for permanent tiny homes.

The Town of Crestone has been ahead of the curve by permitting the construction of homes as small as 300 square feet. 

Homes must be on a proper foundation, have a kitchen and bathroom, and be connected to utilities. While “Crestone Proper” has building codes in place to support those with small home dreams, the Baca Grande POA has different house size constraints. 

For the Chalets and Grants, the minimum square footage is 900. For Casita Park it is 720.  LeRoy West, a Director for the POA, said that the new law regarding tiny homes “does not supersede local zoning ordinances, land use requirements, nor design guidelines. Therefore, it does not impact the minimum square footage requirements of The Baca Grande.”  

However, House Bill 1242 provides a new direction to put tiny homes on the same playing field as traditional and modular homes, in terms of ensuring quality construction. It does not automatically allow for tiny homes to be built and placed permanently in any given space. Landowners and builders are subject to local ordinances.  

The Baca Grande’s house size requirements have been in place since the organization’s inception in 1971, and covenants require a substantial member voice and vote to change. The Board of Directors are bound by existing language and design guidelines, regardless of how each individual board member feels about the issue. Properly constructed tiny homes, placed on permanent foundations, could be the answer to more affordable housing for landowners. 

It will require patient and proactive community participation and working collaboratively with local governing bodies. For more information on this House Bill visit: leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb22-1242 and ccionline.org/announcements/tiny-home-regulation-development-underway.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

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