The prospect of developing tiny homes in Lake Ozark to address an affordable housing crisis in the Lake area moved a bit closer to reality after Lake Ozark Board of Aldermen action Tuesday night.

The board approved first reading of two ordinances that set the stage for the construction of the emerging concept of homes under 800 square feet in size, also known as tiny homes.

The second reading will be offered at the next regular meeting Sept. 22.

One ordinance adopts the definition of tiny homes so developers and contractors have a specific set of guidelines to follow.

The other ordinance amends the city’s zoning code to allow for the construction or development of tiny home cluster developments in R-3 (multi-family) districts.

The board’s interest in tiny homes dovetails with a recent Lake Ozark Planning and Zoning Commission decision to rezone a portion of School Road for the possible construction of tiny homes. A local developer has been working with city officials for several months to create a zoning district so he can build at least one cluster (4-16) of tiny homes. A public hearing will be held Oct. 7 on the rezoning request.

Tiny homes/clusters defined

A tiny home is a detached, self-contained dwelling unit with basic functional areas that support normal daily routines such as cooking, sleeping and sanitation. The units must be between 300 and 800 square feet in total floor area, not including lofts. They must be built on-site on a permanent foundation and cannot exceed one story (excluding lofts).

A cluster of tiny homes is one that allows for the flexibility for creative design and superior scenic quality through preservation of sensitive environmental areas and efficient use of land. Instead of a conventional subdivision, which traditionally results in buildings spaced evenly throughout the site, cluster developments allow for individual lot and setback requirements to be reduced so a group or “cluster” of units can be developed on a portion of the site. A cluster must include no fewer than four nor more than 16 units.

The central space used by all occupants of the cluster should include storm shelters, mail receptacles and community recreational areas.

Zoning expansion

The city’s zoning code is being expanded to include tiny homes in R-3 (multi-family residential) districts.

A tiny home cluster development can be approved by the P&Z Commission by Special Use Permit and must meet the following conditions including:

•All tiny homes must be connected to public utilities. 

•All cluster developments must comply with lot setbacks

•Cluster developments must be retained under common ownership including all tiny houses and common open spaces.

•Each unit should include at least two parking spaces with no on-street parking within the development.

•Stairways must not be less than 36 inches wide.

•Units must meet structural requirements as defined in the adopted ordinance. 

Parking concern

Alderman Vernon Jaycox shared his concern that parking could become a problem within the cluster developments unless it is closely monitored, and wondered how the limit on number of occupants will be monitored.

“I want to make sure that the building commissioners and the police chief understand that some of these areas will end up with parking problems and too many people in these units,” Jaycox shared. “It’s going to become a problem.

Once you let it get started it’s hard to stop.”

Mayor Gerry Murawski said city officials and the prospective developer have been working on the tiny homes concept for about a year, and that the developer will be “very attuned” to potential issues. He noted that most developments such as this have subdivision rules and restrictive covenants.

“This is a test project for us and the area,” he reminded the board. “We have a housing shortage and we need projects like this. I think the issues can be controlled by developer.”

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