The Lehi City Council meeting on January 28 included a range of City business including a discussion surrounding tiny home ordinances and a City boundary adjustment with Highland. All Council members were present for the pre-council session with Councilman Paul Hancock excused from the regular session to attend to a personal matter. 

Tiny Homes

Kim Struthers, Lehi City Director of Community Development made a presentation in pre-council to discuss tiny homes. Research and a presentation was requested by Councilman Chris Condie and Paul Hancock, who expressed their desire to stay ahead of market and society trends by getting more familiar with the concept. 

What is a tiny home? According to tinyhomebuilders.com, a tiny home is a free-standing home typically under 600 square feet. Many consider tiny homes to be a short-term fad, but the tiny home craze looks to last as a realtor.com survey reported that 63% of millennials would consider living in one. 

“The philosophy behind tiny homes is for people who like living more simply and getting rid of unneeded belongings–more of a simplistic lifestyle,” said Struthers as he began his presentation. The Lehi City Planning Staff studied three Utah cities and five cities outside of Utah to review their current tiny home ordinances and regulations The closest example to Lehi, was Eagle Mountain. 

Eagle Mountain, Utah currently allows tiny homes as an accessory unit to an existing home. The city allows the homes to be on wheels or a permanent structure as long as the structure is at least 140 square feet. The unit must be designed and built to look like the primary home.

Salt Lake City, Utah allows tiny homes as an accessory unit with a max size of 650 square feet. The ordinance also requires that either the primary home or the tiny home be owner-occupied.

Sonoma County, California allows tiny homes as a primary residence with a minimum size of 225 square feet. The County also requires tiny homes to be built on a permeant foundation and not mobile. The ordinance also requires a minimum lot size of 8,000 square feet. 

Beresford, South Dakota allows tiny homes with a minimum square footage of 187. The City also has created a residential zoning district for tiny homes and requires they be built on a permanent foundation and include functional cooking, sleeping, bathing, and living areas. 

Lehi building code currently doesn’t allow for tiny homes as the City has a minimum residential build size of 1,000 square feet for rambler units and 850 square feet on the first floor of second story homes. The City building department expressed concern surrounding mobile units and the lack of safety measures that would otherwise be required for permanent structures. 

When asked by Councilwoman Katie Koivisto if City staff would like to pursue a tiny home ordinance, Struthers cautiously said they are only presenting research and not proposing an ordinance. “The one area we would be totally comfortable with is if the three mobile home parks we have [in Lehi] wanted to upgrade from trailers,” said Struthers. 

Hancock then reiterated Struthers’ comments by saying “I am not in any hurry to push this through, you hear a lot about it and I think it’s important as a City that we stay engaged and know the options that are out there. I wouldn’t want the ones on wheels, I think they should be permanent structures.” The Council seemed to agree with Hancock’s support for permanent structures only, with Koivisto calling units on wheels “glorified trailers”. The City staff and Council indicated they have no intention of pursuing a tiny home ordinance anytime soon. 

Dry Creek Boundary Adjustment 

The City approved a boundary adjustment with Highland City to split the future Dry Creek Reservoir in half. The Dry Creek Reservoir project is a regional park project between Lehi and Highland. In the prior boundaries, the lake would have been almost entirely in Highland. With the new boundary adjustment, the border of the two cities will split in the middle of the lake from North to South. The significance behind this adjustment is that Lehi City can make improvements and enhancements to its side of the lake. Future amenities may include parking, restroom facilities, boat docks and pavilions. The Dry Creek Reservoir is anticipated to open in 2021. 

Other agenda items:

Consideration of Ordinance #04-2020, approval of R-1-15 residential zoning on the Forrest Annexation, approximately 4.90 acres located at 1900 South Birdie Path Loop. By Mitch McCuiston. Unanimously approved. 

Consideration of Resolution #2020-07, approval of the annexation agreement for the Refractory Annexation, approximately 19.36 acres located at 2200 North 1200 West. By Duane Rasmussen. Unanimously approved. 

Consideration of Resolution #2020-06, a resolution of Intent to Annex the Joyce Jones Annexation, a 4.84 acre property located at 3350 North 1200 West with proposed TH-5 zoning. By Clayton Preece. Unanimously approved. 

Consideration of Concept Plan approval for the Clark Property, a 21-lot residential development located at 1940 West 1300 South. By Patterson Homes. Unanimously approved. 

Consideration Ordinance #07-2020, approval of the Taylor Meadows Annexation, approximately 30 acres located at 1600 South 500 West with R-1-22 zoning. By Dan Ford. Unanimously approved. 

Consideration of Final Subdivision approval for Northridge, a 23-lot single family subdivision located at Northridge Drive and Silver Pine Lane. By Fieldstone Homes. Unanimously approved. 

Consideration of Final Subdivision approval for The Exchange Phase 21, a 62-unit residential subdivision located at 1700 North 3950 West. By Edge Homes. Approved 3-1 (Koivisto dissent).

Consideration of Ordinance #08-2020, approval of the Saratoga Springs Boundary Line Adjustment, designating the zoning of the Newman Property to TH-5, McLachlan Property to R-2 and Boyd Brown Property to Commercial and TH-5. By Edge Homes. Unanimously approved. 

Consideration of Final Subdivision approval of The Hub at Lehi Backbone, a backbone road located at 1700 North 4400 West. By Boyd Brown. Unanimously approved. 

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