Novato Solves Housing Shortage by Requiring All Beds Be Bunk Beds by 2025

By Ann Selmo

NOVATO — Novato City Councilman Harry Wiebach came up with the idea while visiting his twin grandsons. “Those boys are as happy as can be in their bunk beds. And that got me to thinking, bunk beds could solve a lot of our problems in Novato.”

Novato, like the rest of Marin, has a housing shortage. With rental vacancies at 0.0001% and 1-bedroom apartments going for $23,000-a-month on average, the city needed a creative housing solution.

Last year, a group of residents proposed building new, medium-density units near Novato’s SMART train hubs. Those residents have not been seen or heard from in several months, though some of their cars have surfaced in Stafford Lake. 

“Everyone in Marin agrees that new housing would be akin to Fascism,” explained Councilman Wiebach. “But bunk beds are fun. It’s like summer camp all the time! By making Novato a Bunk-Only city, we’re solving the housing crisis and improving quality of life.”

Some start-ups are already enjoying a windfall from this new legislation. Palo Alto-based BunkR has seen orders skyrocket for its new bunking units for adults. “The era of bunk beds for kids is over,” declared BunkR CEO Declan Wist. “Our beds offer privacy screens, passcode protection, and automated maintenance—you can make your bed by tapping a button on your phone!” 

Nick Tomasini, 29, is a recent law school graduate who just settled into a bunk bed room on San Marin Drive. “It’s great. I share the room with two other guys and a recently married couple and their dog. We all have noise-cancelling headphones so it’s pretty private.” Tomasini chose the unit because of its affordability. “I only pay $1600 a month, which is a steal. Now, I’m able to pay off my student loans and start setting some financial goals. I should be able to get my own place by 2049.”

But the city isn’t stopping with bunk beds. New resolutions now allow tree houses and pillow forts to be zoned as rental units. Grayson Posner just became a landlord—and he’s only 13 years old! “I wasn’t really playing in my tree house anymore,” explained the middle-schooler. “So my dad put up an ad on Nextdoor, and now my gym teacher lives there!” When asked about his new abode, Dan Yaeger, 43, pointed to many benefits. “My commute is so much shorter. I take the school bus with Grayson to save on gas. Plus, going up and down the rope ladder has really helped strengthen my delts and lats.”

Suzanne Carroll