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Building permit loophole says nothing about float home on pond  RSS feed

 
Dale Hodgins
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  I've discovered a zoning loophole which will allow me to have an extra living unit or two on my property. I live in a spot far enough inland that the idea of restrictions on float homes wasn't considered when they made the building rules in my area. This is probably because the only body of water is a fast moving river.

    I have abundant water available and there is a low area which is a natural spot for a pond. I'm thinking of going 2000 ft.² on the pond. That is likely to cost me about $5000 and I'll get lots of good soil from this seasonally boggy area. Then it's just a matter of plunking a float home or houseboat into the pond.

   I may not have to build the float home or houseboat. I'm about 10 miles away from the ocean and every year there are those who attempt to live aboard units which were never designed for the rough conditions that sometimes develop in the Strait of Georgia. These things come up for sale from time to time and I've seen a few for free. The cost of moorage, antifouling paint and other maintenance creates a situation where older units and those which are unseaworthy become available cheaply.

   I won't do this right away since I need to get along with the building authorities for the next couple of years. But after I've developed the property as far as they'll let me and they've done final inspections, it would make sense to do this. The $5000 is not much to pay for a foundation and I'm sure the pond will find many other uses. I can just imagine a nosy building official trying to figure out how I can be stopped. Generally if a bus or trailer or other mobile unit has not been permanently affixed to the ground it is considered mobile and they don't consider them a living unit. So I would gladly untie the float home and paddle it to the other side of the pond to demonstrate its mobility  

    Does anyone want to rent a float home on Vancouver Island sometime around 2014 ? Next I need to check and see what they think of treehouses and railway cabooses resting on 50 feet of track – it's mobile
 
                        
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How much are you going to want to rent it for??  I would LOVE to leave the Saskatchewan  climate and get back to Vancouver Island!! '

Btw, there's a terrific site that's all about building sustainable ponds and fish habitats that I found yesterday, for anyone who is interested. They do it for a business but have all sorts of helpful info on the site if you look around.  One thing I found interesting was that they DON"T automatically resort to pond liners, and DO have a comment or two about gley!!  They are also  concerned about habitat for threatened fish species. Well worth checking out...Paul, perhaps  consider an interview with them?
http://www.aquahabitat.com/index.html
 
Len Ovens
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dale hodgins wrote:
  I've discovered a zoning loophole which will allow me to have an extra living unit or two on my property. I live in a spot far enough inland that the idea of restrictions on float homes wasn't considered when they made the building rules in my area. This is probably because the only body of water is a fast moving river.


I'll keep that in mind when next I look for land...
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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I don't know what Canada's regulations are with regard to wetlands, but in the United States you would have to be very careful about digging up that marshy spot, even to put in a pond.  You could have the EPA down on you like a ton of bricks (they really own every speck of land they can possibly label 'wetlands', you just get the privilege of paying the property taxes on it).

Kathleen
 
Len Ovens
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Temporary homes like RVs can only be "lived" in for up to 10 months a year. Without moving... though I was visiting some people who live in an rv park who say they don't have to move. Make sure the house boat isn't an "RV". 
 
Dale Hodgins
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Kathleen Sanderson wrote:
I don't know what Canada's regulations are with regard to wetlands, but in the United States you would have to be very careful about digging up that marshy spot, even to put in a pond.

Kathleen
 
Dale Hodgins
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   Not a marshy spot. It's a low spot created when gravelly soil was moved around in the creation of the railway. It gets wet during rains but drains out every year. There are small fir trees even at the deepest spot which would indicate that it's too well-drained to be classed as any sort of wetland. I'll need to put in a rubber liner in order to make it hold water since my soil is gravelly silt that percs too well. When I said a natural Spot for a pond I mean that it is the spot that makes most sense because the land has already been sculpted, not that this is any sort of natural wetland.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Dale Hodgins
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I will probably be looking for $200 per month or so depending on the quality of the unit. As with any other spaces on the property which may be rented out, renters will have the option of working it off with gardening duties or in helping me build. As I said the float home is a ways off. I'll be looking for people more immediately to help me occupy the house and they can earn a couple years worth of rent in helping me build. Anyone hoping to live on this property would need to have some sort of job that doesn't involve me and that does not parasitize the community, would need to be a non-smoker and could only have friendly pets which I approve of. I may allow someone to bring horses, goats and chickens and other animals provided they are able to adequately house them and contain them. I currently have a cottage which is up to frame with the roof on. Anyone willing to put in a couple weeks work finishing this unit may live in it for one year.
 
John Abacene
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@dale hodgins:
This sounds very interesting!
If I understand right, you're talking about making a pond, and then putting either a houseboat, or just a home that floats on it?  What really interests me is the crack in the building code!
Are you in Washington State? Can you explain this code loophole and/or cut-n-paste what you found here in the forum?

- Thanks...
 
John Abacene
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I once considered a very shallow reservoir with a floating greenhouse, as it could easily be turned to always perfectly face the sun, but wasn't sure if I could keep it anywhere near level if I walked from one end to the other...
 
Len Ovens
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creteman wrote:
I once considered a very shallow reservoir with a floating greenhouse, as it could easily be turned to always perfectly face the sun, but wasn't sure if I could keep it anywhere near level if I walked from one end to the other...



Depends How level is level? How big is it? how much does the earth and water in the green house weigh? (this would determine size)

You say very shallow... many small boats (10 to 20 foot) have as little as 2 or 3 inches draft (without a motor).  Yet a sail boat of 36inches draft is shallow too. Are the planters on the floor? (as in covering it) or are they in pots? This will help determine the weight of the craft. Does the floating portion end at the green house walls? or is there a deck around the outside? Once the craft gets to a certain displacement, a man's weight will not affect things too much. If the pond is really shallow, the weight of a man will just temporarily ground that side and the tilt would be there by limited.... however, a really shallow pond dries easily. To make a pond work, there generally needs to be some depth to store the rain that fills it till the next rain. Lots of reeds and rocks around the perimeter might help slow evaporation. Trees might too, but they may shade the green house too much. Another observation... just watching my own indoor plants... if they are kept with the same orientation to the sun they tend to bend over and fall down. This effect is worse with fast growing or tall plants. Plants are designed to have the sun go around them.
 
John Abacene
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Good reply Len...
Although I never got involved in the design far enough to do those calculations, I had some idea of those factors. If the greenhouse was large enough, and had enough floatation, etc. etc. etc. it would not be too affected by the weight of a person or a loaded wheel barrow on one side. I also did figure the grounding of one side. I also considered putting something like inexpensive balls of some sort to help with that and to help in other ways.
The partial design I was doing in my head (I'm one of those people who can do 3D mechanical CADD in my head) would have the size of the "pond" and the size of the greenhouse very close, which would among other things cut down on evaporation. Keeping water in the pond was not enough of a problem or consideration to worry about unless it was to actually be fully designed and built.

You are right about plants following or leaning toward the sun, and that would be a consideration, but again, it was not a full design, just a passing idea.  I also considered something that might continuously rotate, giving all plants in a larger area more light.  I considered using the breeze/wind, with several small propellers or low volume mini water jets under it to keep it going, with some regulatory mechanism or control to limit it or keep it moving at a consistent "speed", as well as some way to lock it down if there were high winds or other outside force that might affect it adversely.
Power would be solar panels, so no problems with running wires to it.
Water could be taken up from the pond to water the plants, and replenished from whatever reserve or supply was to be used, so no water lines needed to be attached to the greenhouse either, and the pond water would remain fresh instead of possibly stagnating.
Ideally, as I am into Aquaponics, there would likely be fish in the pond so that the water could also provide fertilizer for the plants, and of course, there would be several considerations for the well being of the fish incorporated into the design.

Done right, I'm sure it would work great, but I think it would wind-up being one of those projects that is more about "Wow! that's cool!" then about just being practical and efficient, which is the main reason I did not spend a lot of time on the idea.

As I said, just an idea I toyed with almost momentarily, not fully designed or anything.
- But now that you have added to this, I will probably toy with the idea some more if I get bored or something...
 
Casey Halone
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how did i just now find this topic? this is an amazing idea. I have long wanted to use 55gallon drums to float something! seems this would be perfect.

I hear you can mount the drums where you want, drill a hole in the bottom, then run an air hose in the hole till all the water is pushed out?

how cool would a glass floor be at least in one spot?!
 
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