A community of tiny homes

DeSoto Cares, a community group fighting homelessness in DeSoto County, plans to build ‘Tiny Town’ in Arcadia on the site of a former homeless encampment. There is a push for “half-dwelling units” to be allowed in Sarasota County now.

SOUTH VENICE — After clamoring for action for much of the past year, if not longer, Sarasota County commissioners will finally get to consider an ordinance that would allow for the development of half-dwelling units in the county.

In meetings during 2018 when commissioners made a variety of changes to the zoning code to encourage the development of more affordable housing, a commission priority, they expressed interest in the idea of units smaller than 900 square feet.

In May, they requested that County Administrator Jonathan Lewis proceed with the drafting of an ordinance that would allow for half-dwelling units, which are generally 750 square feet in size, feeling that homes of this nature would provide more lower-cost housing for county residents.

If commissioners approve the concept during a public hearing Wednesday morning, these units would be permitted in the multi-family zoning districts, and, in addition, be within the urban service area, which is generally west of Interstate 75.

Keeping the units in the urban service area also means they would be closer to transit routes, employment, and commercial centers.

According to county documents, staff also considered the idea of allowing half units in the single-family zoning districts but rejected this option due to the variety of issues, both practical and legal in nature.

Those same documents indicate that county staff still has under consideration the idea of tiny homes of less than 450 square feet.

Generally, the idea of tiny homes and half dwelling units have grown in popularity across the county, particularly with single adults, young professionals, married couples without children, or small families.

Commissioners will meet Tuesday in commission chambers at the Robert L. Anderson Administration Center, 4000 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice and again Wednesday in commission chambers at the County Administration Center, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota. The meetings will begin at 9 a.m. each day.

Access Sarasota TV will also televise the meetings, and agendas are available at www.scgov.net by clicking on Meetings and Agendas under the Services A-Z tab. For more information, residents can also call the county’s Call Center at 941-861-5000.

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