The Sarasota County Commission this week took what they hope is a step to making home ownership more affordable in the area.

The council unanimously approved allowing houses smaller than 750 square feet to be “half-dwelling units.” That designation allows for not only a lower price, but also lower water and wastewater fees.

The special designation does not apply to barrier islands. The county commission said they are trying to discourage units being used solely as vacation rentals.