Building in Topanga

Topanga, CA - Photo Credit Kenneth Moore

Topanga | February 13, 2023

We tend to get a lot of calls from people who would like to buy a lot in Topanga and place a tiny house on it. Sounds like a dream, right? The name of our company is Tiny Topanga because we fell in love with that magical hippy mountain town, but contrary to popular belief, we do not have a headquarters there. We began our building journey in Woodland Hills, CA just west of Topanga Canyon and the name stuck with us.

One thing to know about tiny houses in California in general (except for Oakland) is that you can not have a tiny house on raw land. Tiny homes constitute accessory dwelling units or RVs, which means in most cases they are not classified as the main home. If you’re trying to live that hippy mountain dream, your best bet is buying or renting a property with a house already on it, and putting a tiny house in the backyard. And even if you do this, some areas are still restricted. Below are a list of resources that we’ve collected over the years regarding placing tiny homes in Topanga. Nothing is impossible, but it’s a much more intense and expensive endeavor than it seems and we just want you to be prepared for what you’re getting yourselves into.

Tiny Houses in Topanga Resources:

  • Schedule a call with the Calabasas Regional planning office here
  • Unfortunately, ADUs are not generally accepted in most places in Topanga as they are in most other areas in California, but there are some areas outside of the coastal zoning they would be allowed, so best to check with the planning office. 
  • However, RVs are allowed under an emergency ordinance in the county of Los Angeles. Our tiny homes are certified as RVs, so that should not be an issue. There are several restrictions about having an RV on the property, which are listed here. The county asks that you register the RV with their office, but they are not required and in this case, I wouldn’t recommend registering it. 
  • Here is a link to the emergency order allowing people to live in recreational vehicles under certain conditions.
  • And here is the section that deals with ADUs, include the prohibition in certain areas. 
  • Finally, here is the code sections dealing with the special regulations in the Santa Monica Mountains North Area.
  • And here are the regs dealing with the areas in the Coastal Zone.