Tiny Houses On Wheels Legal in Ojai, California!

Our friend Vina Lustado from Sol Haus Design and a team of committed citizens took it upon themselves to create the change they want to see in the world. Through a series of meetings with local Ojai policy makers, Vina and friends were able to capture the interest of commissioners by introducing tiny houses as part of the solution for this small community’s housing crisis.

Ojai, population 7,500, suffers the same debilitating chokehold that has a grip on so many other communities: historically low vacancy rates coupled with exorbitantly high real estate/rental prices. Sadly, this combination is driving out natives from communities all around the country and forcing them to relocate to new areas. Fortunately for Ojai though, council members saw the viability of tiny houses as a partial solution for their housing crisis.

Vina shares the following:

Here are proposed items for tiny homes on wheels (THOW) under the 2nd unit ordinance:
* THOWs will be used for long-term rental as secondary units to the primary residence
* THOWs will be ANSI certified to comply with health and safety standards
* THOWs will be hooked up to a sewer system as a permanent dwelling

Another exciting outcome of this collaboration is that Councilman Weirick suggested that some city-owned land ought to be used for a tiny house village. This step may take a while to implement because currently, their focus is on making the amendments to their ordinances for the legalization of tiny houses on wheels.

Vina would like to thank Planning Commissioners Chester Jagiello & Kathleen Nolan; City Council members Bill Weirick, Severo Lara, and Randy Haney. Thanks also to their consultant Dan Fitzpatrick who traveled from Fresno to give tiny house presentations at each meeting.

You can watch the video of the proceedings from the final meeting HERE. There are video recordings of the other two meetings as well and we highly recommend that you watch them if you intend on approaching your local city/county commissioners.

I’ll echo Vina’s sentiment and say that our experience in approaching our own city of Ashland, Oregon has been extremely positive. After our first meeting, they shared that they had been hoping for a tiny house advocate to approach them. Every month they have despaired community members attend their meetings, asking the City to implement changes so that they can stay living in our community.

Tiny houses on wheels offer nearly instant (just tow them in), and more importantly, (essentially) NO COST (to the city), solutions to the housing crisis. These two key points should pique the interest of most policy makers  currently dealing with these housing challenges.

How about you? Have you approached your local building department and planning commission about tiny houses? If not, what’s holding you back? What kind of support do you need in order to make it happen? Let’s band together and create an action plan for those that want to create the change they want to see in their community.

UPDATE FROM VINA 12/2/16: Many of you have asked about the status of legalization of tiny houses in Ojai. It has been a long road since we started the process last year in Nov. 2015. We did receive approval from City Council to move forward but the changes have not been finalized. The reality is that many other issues have taken priority (ie: water crisis in Ojai, local elections, etc). We will continue to move forward as best as we can. We hope you will join us when we ask for your support.

tiny houses ojai


12 Responses to Tiny Houses On Wheels Legal in Ojai, California!

  1. Tim July 15, 2016 at 3:03 pm #

    I don’t know if there any big cities controlled by Republicans but the big city I live in, San Jose, has deigned to permit tiny homes but only if they’re controlled by the city as temporary or emergency housing for the homeless.

    Ojai strikes me similarly in that a tiny home can only legally exist as a second home on a currently legal lot. They seem unconcerned that minimum lot sizes and minimum square footage requirements are part of what’s made housing completely unaffordable.

    Another major part I find explained by Thomas Sowell in this article.

    Thus far, of the reporting Gabriella’s done, only Spur, TX seems to “get” it. Why is freedom illegal?

    • Marnie July 15, 2016 at 4:11 pm #

      We are so with you, Tim. The government seldom makes anything better. They just make things cost more in the name of keeping us “safe” but all it does is impinge upon the 99% of people who try to do right while trying to stop the 1% who will offend regardless if there was a law or not.

  2. Deanna July 17, 2016 at 8:04 am #

    I am currently working two full time jobs and saving up pretty fast to be able to move back to Colorado with a tiny house. I am having a hard time getting a serious response from the town of Evergreen, Colorado and would like someone more knowledgable in building codes to help me pave the way to legalization. Colorado especially needs to make a move towards affordable housing. Any advice would be a blessing while I build the best looking tiny house next year!!!

    • Gabriella
      Gabriella July 18, 2016 at 6:19 pm #

      Thank you Deanna! We are thinking of creating an ‘action plan’ for people to approach their building and zoning depts. Will let you know as things develop. 🙂

      • Amy Turnbull July 24, 2016 at 8:43 pm #

        I’ve been working on a Tiny Tool Box for the American Tiny House Association and welcome anyone who wants to collaborate!

        • Gabriella
          Gabriella July 24, 2016 at 9:55 pm #

          Thanks Amy! What kinds of things will one find in the Tiny Tool Box?

    • Laura July 23, 2016 at 3:18 pm #

      Hi Deanna, my good friend and realtor Mary is working with an investor to establish a tiny home community on the front range. She is currently talking to the city of Arvada and Nederland who are both interested in hearing proposals. Please let me know if you would like to get in touch with her!

      • Shaun Vavra August 1, 2016 at 5:19 pm #

        I grew up in Bouldet… Lots of talk for years, but nothing ever has happened. Until Boulder gets some new leaders in there that will change things it will remain a members only city.

    • Shaun Vavra August 1, 2016 at 5:14 pm #

      I just moved from Colorado because of the lack of support for Tiny Homes. You will be hard pressed to find a place in Evergreen that will allow you to have a tiny homecyear round. Good luck!

  3. Mary F August 27, 2016 at 4:44 pm #

    Is there, or will there be a waiting list for the Tiny House Village in Ojai? How can I sign on?

  4. Nix Noox November 15, 2016 at 3:11 pm #

    Hey-lo all, I’m nearing my 90th day of building tiny houses for an Idaho company that is in serious expansion. As a 40yr craftsman, I’ve dream-designed wild trix ‘n tweax of tiny (& land based) houses for years. I’ve 3 really different ones that don’t exist yet that I’ll be integrating into my own Tiny House I’ll soon be contracting my company to build because of a recent, most wonderful example of prosperity.

    So,,,I wish to move next year as close as possible to Grass Valley/Nevada County and want TH legal raw land w/septic to build my other cool TH idea. A paved drive to park it or rather ‘dock it’ in a space station kind of way to a land built home.

    My Q…where can I buy land to do this, please ? Thx, Nix

  5. Mark Jackson June 17, 2017 at 6:51 am #

    So many people want to have their own space! Tiny homes sound like the answer for so many! If more can be installed, it could be good for our economy?

Leave a Reply