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Work Around Codes That Define A Kitchen And Bathroom As A Residence?

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Old 07-30-2015, 10:55 PM   #1
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Default Work around codes that define a kitchen and bathroom as a residence?

Hi all, a friend of mine is in the process of buying a piece of land and we are hoping to set up a yurt on the property for occasional personal use (he still plans to keep his main home in town) as well as renting to vacationers/travelers. We are at the point where we are trying to navigate county building codes to determine wheter a yurt for these purposes is possible.

In our county, a residence is defined having a kitchen, sleeping, and bathroom facilities, regardless of whether it is a primary residence. The 30’ yurt he is looking at would not meet the size requirements for a residence which is 950 square feet of occupied space for a single story building. A loft would be considered a second story and then the total would need to be 1250 square feet. Thus, we are hoping it could be considered an ancillary building, which would mean that it could not have kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping facilities. Have any of you run into this type of regulation? How might you suggest setting up the yurt in order to meet this code?

To work around the definition of the kitchen, we could use a portable gas cooktop that is commonly used in third world countries, rather than a fixed range with oven. Would this then render the space to be not considered to be a "kitchen" and thus not subject to the 950-square-foot space requirement?

To eliminate the "bathroom", we could install a large utility sink in the kitchen that can also be used as a shower tub, perhaps by making it possible to hang a shower curtain around and inside the tub. It could also be designed to allow the sink to be lowered to the ground (with support from underneath) to make it safer to enter and to exit. We really want to keep the toilet indoors as we have snow and cold winters.

To eliminate the bedroom, we could use air mattresses that can be put away when not in use, instead of conventional bed mattresses. Would that then say we don't have a bedroom?

We’d like to think of some other ideas for how to configure it and would appreciate any input!


Last edited by kgies; 07-30-2015 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 07-31-2015, 09:47 AM   #2
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Default Re: Work around codes that define a kitchen and bathroom as a residence?

It depends on how well you want to stay in line with code. You can build it any way you can to meet a non-residence standard and then get your approval. After that, they are pretty much out of the loop until you try to sell the place to someone else. At that point, permits will be an issue to perspective buyers.

If it were me and I was not planning on ever selling the yurt as a dwelling, I would do as I said above and after your inspectors are gone, go ahead and add to it what you will. They don't come back and do inspections after your approval. Just remember that when you go to sell the place, you have to sell it as what you have had it permitted for.

Just my two cents.
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Old 07-31-2015, 12:42 PM   #3
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Default Re: Work around codes that define a kitchen and bathroom as a residence?

Thanks, Jafo. That's definitely a good point, which I hadn't really considered. If the yurt were for personal use only, I think we'd definitely consider that. However, since we hope to rent it out to vacationers on a somewhat regular basis, we're hoping to find a way to build within code that would offer us peace of mind for the long term.
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Old 07-31-2015, 07:37 PM   #4
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Default Re: Work around codes that define a kitchen and bathroom as a residence?

Renting/leasing is a risk you should discuss with your lawyer before money is spent. JMO.
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Old 07-31-2015, 07:38 PM   #5
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Default Re: Work around codes that define a kitchen and bathroom as a residence?

Honestly I would just apply for a variance with the county, the alternative would be to look into a 40'yurt
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