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Interest in tiny houses is on the rise across the country, but for planners these small, trailer-mounted cabins can raise a host of regulatory questions. Are they houses or trailers? Could they be occupied permanently under current local regulations? This article reviews how these units fit into the general U.S. system of land-use control through building codes, zoning ordinances, subdivision regulations, and private restrictive covenants. In addition to addressing individual tiny homes, it addresses methods for permitting small communities of tiny homes.
Author Donald L. Elliott, FAICP, is a director in the Denver office of Clarion Associates, a former chapter president of APA's Colorado Chapter and a former chair of APA's Planning and Law Division. As a planner and lawyer he has assisted more than 40 North American cities and counties to reform and update their zoning, subdivision, housing, and land-use regulations. He has also consulted in Russia, India, Lebanon, and Indonesia, and served as USAID Democracy and Governance Advisor in Uganda for two years. Elliott is a member of the Denver Planning Board.
Author Peter Sullivan, AICP, is a senior associate in the Chapel Hill, North Carolina, office of Clarion Associates, whose specializations include zoning and comprehensive planning. A Pacific Northwest native, his professional background includes policy and environmental planning and development review. Sullivan is a former officer with Toastmasters International and former member of the University of Washington's Urban Design and Planning Professionals Council. He is currently a correspondent for Planetizen.com and enjoys speaking as academic guest lecturer, webinar host, and conference presenter. Sullivan's project work has been recognized by the Washington State Governor's Office, Puget Sound Regional Council, and APA's Washington Chapter.
Peering into the Peer Economy: Short-Term Rental Regulation
There are three primary faces of the so-called sharing economy: transportation, goods and services, and housing. Of these, the sharing of housing is perhaps the most relevant to planners. The rapid rise of Airbnb and other online brokers has sparked debate about short-term rental regulation in communities across this country.
This article explains the connection of short-term rental regulation to the larger sharing economy and offers key considerations for new approaches to licensing and zoning for home sharing.
Author Dwight Merriam, FAICP, founded Robinson & Cole's Land Use Group in 1978, where he represents land owners, developers, governments, and individuals in land-use matters. He is past president of the American Institute of Certified Planners and received his master's in regional planning from the University of North Carolina and his juris doctor from Yale.
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Share Your Expertise!
The editors of Zoning Practice welcome proposals from outside contributors, including those who may be writing for the publication for the first time. Contributors need not be professional planners, but they should have superior knowledge of a subject of substantial potential interest to Zoning Practice subscribers. We are especially eager to hear from potential authors with expertise on the following topics:
• Minimizing reliance on discretionary approvals
• Zoning for fair housing
• Regulating distributed antenna systems
• Impact fees
• Conducting a synoptic survey
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