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Starting an eco-village in the middle of the Silicon Valley?

 
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Hey,

So not sure what topic this should go under as I have very broad questions and would also like to hear you opinion as most or many of you have  been through it.

So here its:

I would like to start a small eco village in Santa Clara County, as of right now, Morgan Hill, Gilroy area but could be pushed further down in to Holster and into San Benito County. Primarily trying to stay with in a 40 mile radius of San Jose. I have finally got hold of the Santa Clara county and am preparing for an in person meeting where I can get some more information on the plausibility of a project like this and would like to hear from you questions that I should be asking and thinking about.

The issues:
 I am not an engineer, and I do not have a lot of money to put down, I just own a small landscaping business focusing on California natives and edible gardens.
 Santa Clara County building permits are out there, and its got me thinking its easier to purchase a run down house, rather than land
 Land loans are difficult to obtain


And here are the malleable logistics:


What the eco-village consists of:

The main purpose of this small eco-village would be a self-sufficient community that would grow most of its own food, use alternative energy, and live sustainably. The eco-village would consist of no more than four permanent residents.



Livestock

·         3-4 Goats – for milk

·         4-5 Chickens – for eggs



Utilities

·         Electricity from PG&E and/or  Solar

·         WaterLocal well or the city

·         Compost toilets – wood shavings and hay to prevent smell as it composts (or septic if required)



Structures

               Three structures each about 500 square feet for living

·         Inside the home will be a kitchenette, compost toilet, sink, and living space



Two 400 Square Foot Structures

·         One for tourists with a kitchenette, compost toilet, sink and living space

·         One  community kitchen space with a an electric stove, sink, counter space and cabinets

Less than 250 square structures

·         One Greenhouse
·         One Tool shed
·         One Goat pen

Garden

·         All organic.

·         No pesticides.

·          Mixed use space will be at least a third of an acre that will grow a wide variety of both fruits and vegetables.

·         All food grown will be consumed by residents


Building code for cob

“The Cob Research Institute’s (CRI) proposed cob building code was approved at the International Code Council’s (ICC) Public Comment Hearings in Las Vegas on Oct 26, 2019. Proposal RB299-19 for the 2021 International Residential Code (IRC) - Appendix U: Cob Construction (Monolithic Adobe) - was approved by a 93-6 vote of attending ICC voting members (mostly building and fire officials), followed by more than the required 2/3 approval vote in the Online Governmental Consensus Vote (OGCV). This final approval was posted online by ICC on Dec 19, 2019.” (International Cob Institute)


So that is the plan in short and here are some questions I have already put together:

How can I get this approved in the Santa Clara building codes?

Here is the written code,  https://cobcode.s3.amazonaws.com/RB299-19_IRC_ProposedAppendixU_CobConstruction_PublicComment.pdf



In your estimation, how long will it take to approve this code in Santa Clara county ?



Is there a “common Law” on this kind of land use?



·         Regulations

·         What zoning should the land or property have?

·         Is there a minimum lot size for something like this?

·         Are there some cities within Santa Clara county more equipped for this than others?

·         Rules regarding septic and compost toilets?

·         How to get the Cob building code approved by Santa Clara County?

·         Are there grants for this kind of project?


Sorry if this bad formatting but what do you guys think, is this nuts?
What are some of the most difficult things you have run into when purchasing land and wanting to do things a little different.
One last thing I would like to do this with county's approval, building too code and all that, as one thing I do know I do not want, is to get stuck with land that is non-buildable, I do want this to have some sellability at the end of all this.

Thank you,
Lior

 
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lior dahan wrote:
So that is the plan in short and here are some questions I have already put together:

How can I get this approved in the Santa Clara building codes?

Here is the written code,  https://cobcode.s3.amazonaws.com/RB299-19_IRC_ProposedAppendixU_CobConstruction_PublicComment.pdf



In your estimation, how long will it take to approve this code in Santa Clara county ?



Is there a “common Law” on this kind of land use?



·         Regulations

·         What zoning should the land or property have?

·         Is there a minimum lot size for something like this?

·         Are there some cities within Santa Clara county more equipped for this than others?

·         Rules regarding septic and compost toilets?

·         How to get the Cob building code approved by Santa Clara County?

·         Are there grants for this kind of project?



Hey Lior, that's quite a list of in-depth questions.  Can I suggest that the only way to get the actual answers to your questions would be to contact the appropriate people at the municipality.  They can tell you which parts of what you want to do are allowable, which parts aren't.  Hopefully they will help you to figure out how to get as many of the later into the acceptable category with some modifications.  

I think my approach would be to call them up first to ask if there are any builders who have done the things you want to do in your county, then call them up and talk to the contractors about it.  Failing that, you'll have to wend your way through the buracracy.  There's no magic solution short of moving to an area where you can do what you want to do.  Good luck with it.  

 
lior dahan
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Thanks Timothy, I did not think about contacting contractors to see how they have gone about projects like this.

Thanks again I will add it to my list

Lior
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