If you haven’t heard yet, you will soon: Amazon just invested millions into a prefab homebuilder startup called Plant Prefab.
I woke up this morning and saw the news of Amazon’s investment all over the internet…
- from CNBC: Amazon makes first investment in a homebuilder, backing start-up focused on prefabricated houses
- from Curbed: Amazon invests in prefab startup focused on smart home tech
- from Inman News: Amazon just invested millions into a prefab homebuilder startup
- from FastCompany: Alexa-powered Amazon houses may be closer than you think
While most of the news stories focused on Amazon’s investment as an avenue for Alexa and smart home technology expansion, I was more interested in the prefab homes (prefabricated) offered by Plant Prefab. Plant Prefab offers a number of different models, as well as custom options.
One model that caught my eye is their AD1 Accessary Dwelling Unit, or ADU. This 400-sq.ft., one-bedroom, one-bath ADU has a base starting price under $100,000.00, and can be used as a stand alone “tiny house“, or as a guest house or “granny flat.”
I think these are pretty cool, and can see a whole host of uses for them: the aforementioned guest house; kids clubhouse; AirBnB rental; etc. Intrigued, the first question that came to mind was, “Am I allowed to install one of these ADUs on my property?”
So I visited the Washoe County Planning and Building Division to get some answers. The short answer is, it depends.
Washoe County, Nev. defines a “detached accessory dwelling unit”, or DAD, as a dwelling unit on the same lot as the main dwelling unit, but which is physically separated from the main dwelling unit. And there are a whole host of requirements for which properties may or may not have one installed — See Washoe County’s Planning and Development information on Detached Accessory Dwellings for the scoop.
From the linked Washoe County Detached Accessory Dwellings info above:
Can I build a DAD?
- How large is the property?
- What is the regulatory zone of the property? [Ed. note: you may look up the zoning for your property on the Washoe County Assessor’s site.]
- How large can the accessory dwelling be?
a. Under 12,000 sq. ft. (.28 acres) – No, not allowed
b. 12,000 sq. ft. or more – may be permissible
c. Located in Incline Village or Crystal Bay, minimum of one acre required
d. If on Septic, minimum of 2-acres required (for a second septic system –, this is a Health District requirement for the second kitchen) For more information see: https://www.washoecounty.us/health/regulations.php
a. Medium Density Suburban (MDS) – Special Use Permit required before applying for building permit
b. Low Density Suburban (LDS), High Density Rural (HDR), Medium Density Rural (MDR) or Low Density Rural (LDR) – Detached Accessory Dwelling Administrative Review (DADAR) required before applying for building permit
c. General Rural (GR) or General Rural Agriculture (GRA) – Allowed use, Building Permit required
d. All other regulatory zones – No, not allowed
a. MDS – 50% of living area of main house, up to 800 sq. ft., whichever is less
b. LDS, HDR, MDR, HDR or GR – 50% of living area of main house, up to 1,500 sq. ft., whichever is less
c. GRA – no size limit
Unfortunately, I learned that my lot size is not large enough to allow a detached dwelling unit. 🙁
How about yours? Would love to hear your thoughts.