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Orchard City working on tiny home regulations

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The Orchard City Board of Trustees had a full agenda to cover at tits work session on Oct. 3. To start, it discussed briefly the marijuana ordinance which will allow 12 plants per resident. The first reading will be at the regular meeting Oct. 10.

After several months, trustees wrapped up Steve Kehmeier's tap relocation proposal. The town does not plan to take over his pipe, as he proposed previously. Several trustees also wanted to "put a timeline" on finishing the relocation project. Town administrator Melissa Oelke reminded the board that since Kehmeier is paying for the relocation he needs to initiate the process. They finally settled on approving his proposal at the regular meeting and suggested he have the relocation complete by June 30, 2019.

Bruce Stanley, building inspector, then made a presentation on tiny home regulations and building permit fees for fencing. Currently the town has no regulations regarding tiny homes. Current codes from 2006 have certain requirements that may limit many tiny home designs. One relates to stairwells. Essentially, the town is looking at adopting 2018 regulations that have an appendix regarding tiny homes.

Another hot topic was whether to allow tiny homes on wheels, or THOW.

Stanley proposed to not allow THOW because it "starts to look like a gypsy camp." Instead, he prefers regulations on tiny homes built on foundation.

Several trustees had concerns, such as whether tiny homes degrade property value, and wanted to know the history of other towns with handling tiny homes.

Stanley plans to do more research and the discussion will continue at the next work session in November.

Next, Stanley presented several ways to determine a building permit fee for eight foot or higher fences. Various methods include estimating the materials, doubling that and then using a sliding scale, using a predetermined chart or just charging a flat fee.

The town mainly needs to cover the time for Stanley to inspect the fence. Thus, discussion leaned more toward a flat fee.

The biggest agenda item was the discussion on municipal code changes. Current codes are from 2005. Essentially, Oelke plans to go through the codes and present them to the board, versus the committee going through line by line.

From the overall discussion, the need to visit RV regulations, specifically on single RVs parked on a property, became clear. This topic will be on the next work session.

The next regular meeting will be Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. All meetings are held at the Orchard City Town Hall at 9661 2100 Road in Austin.

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