I’m looking to purchase a Particular small plot of irregular shaped land that has a creek running the full length of it. The property drops steeply off the road before leveling out. It also has a creek meandering through its entirety. When I first saw the property, I loved it. The listing stated that it was BOHA approved for a fill system. When I checked the paperwork, tests found water on the low section to be 30-36” below surface. On the higher ground they found water at 4-5 feet below the surface. Some fill was brought in but then the project was abandoned I guess. The approval was back in 1999 and the approved map of the projected building and septic could not be located.
I was hoping to put a cabin on the property and am wondering how careful I should be in purchasing this land. It was boha approved for a building lot but the paperwork states they do not recommend a basement. I asked if the property had a history of flooding and the realtor replied it was not on a flood plain. It is a year round creek. Any and all advice is greatly appreciated.
Peter, I have to tell you that the claims on the real estate listing have my spidey sense tingling. And a fabled map of what has been approved but cannot be found? Uh-huh. Alarm bells are sounding. The onus for due diligence is on you.
I strongly suggest you research the rules for septic installations in that municipality. You want to understand this clearly before you make an offer.
Up here, FWIW, if the water table is too high, an evaporation mound is required. It is expensive. Also, the proximity of a permanent creek and the risk of contamination may limit your options a lot. You may only be allowed a holding tank, pumped and trucked elsewhere. A spendy option.
If there are serious questions about whether septic with a discharge is legal or feasible, the value of the property goes way down. Would you be allowed to build a structure without septic in place? Many places would not allow it.
Even then you may still wish to buy the property for recreation, at a massively reduced price, and park an RV/tiny home on it.
You maybe able to make confirmation of the necessary approvals as a condition of the sale.
Surely the owners would have some paperwork?
Otherwise go through the minutes of the local authorities at the time, they may reveal something.
Also, its important to find if approvals lapse after a period of time if not taken up.
John Daley Bendigo, Australia
The Enemy of progress is the hope of a perfect plan
If this was something I was looking at, I would contact the BOHA (Board of Health) since it sounds like it was approved years ago (1999) and may not be approved now.
It is my opinion that this "Some fill was brought in but then the project was abandoned I guess. 1999" 1999 was a long time ago and I would suspect that it was abandoned because it would not work or was too costly. I would suspect that many laws have been changed since then.
My dear hubby and I have bought quite a few properties and we always talk to the county clerks office and any other division necessary before making up our minds.
Invasive plants are Earth's way of insisting we notice her medicines. Stephen Herrod Buhner
Everyone learns what works by learning what doesn't work. Stephen Herrod Buhner
I'll tell you what my neighbors just went through when the ground water destroyed the foundation of the 1935 house they bought on their property, and put up the house of their dreams, that had soils engineering tests and a special expensive foundation, that 10 years later started to fail.
Then they had to spend thousands, and I mean thousands, on giant pipelines for sending the water away, and that wasn't enough. Then they had to have soils engineers design a pond that took 3 bulldozers 8 weeks to dig, install a pumphouse with an electric pump (very expensive to run), and extra pipelines for handling any future overflow back to the creek, more bulldozer and 2-foot pipes. And the thousands they had to spend on permits for each of these stages of things they were trying....
It's been difficult for them, and I don't know anyone who would want to buy it and take on any future issues. Maintaining a pond is a lot of work. Been there, done that.
Don't fall for the My-Place-Is-Special, It-Won't-Happen-Here Syndrome.
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