Our Class K Rural Affordable Building Code

What is Mendocino County attempting to achieve with proposed revisions of the Class K "alternative building code", which for four decades has enabled rural homesteaders to build their own safe and affordable dwellings? 

On Wednesday January 24 at 7 p.m., our public affairs program Mendocino Works explored the proposed Class K revisions and their implications for housing with Stephanie Gold of the Anderson Valley Housing Association; independent building code consultant Scott Ward, who as a county official inspected hundreds of Class K and conventional homes; and 5th District Supervisor Dan Hamburg, who sits on the Board of Supervisors' housing subcommittee. You can hear the full hourlong discussion by clicking the button below.

The Class K alternative building standard is part of the rich legacy of Mendocino’s Back To The Land era, and allows permitting of a wide range of non-standard, owner-built rural dwellings. Class K got these dwellings legal and onto the county and state tax rolls, and helped ease what even in the 1970s was a crisis of affordable housing. Thirty-seven years after later, controversy is growing around proposed Class K revisions that would make owner-built rural housing more expensive to construct—even as the housing crisis grows more acute than ever.

Torrey Douglass