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Planning law Spain for a non residential permaculture area  RSS feed

 
jago pearce
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I can't afford to buy land with a house on it as the prices in the area I am interested in are still very high. My plan instead is to rent an apartment and own some land nearby.

However... planning laws... I'm unclear of how this works in Spain and I'm beginning to worry that I could have the same problem here as in the UK
In the UK the problem for me has been that to have somewhere for projects (farming, methane generation, algae, fish farming, solar panels, wind generator etc) is mixed or industrial use... but there is no mixed use land class between rustic (Agricultral) and residential class. Thus... I would have to go for residential class land... or go with agricultural and take some sort of chance.
For security I need somewhere to store tools and for me that is building.

What are the rules? Is this feasible? Any advice?
In terms of budget I can see areas here with poor but volcanic soil at 6000m2+ or an area with very good soil but 1200m2, both with frontage and water but both rustic only.
 
Marcus Hoff
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Location: Málaga, Spain
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I would advise you to get a good gestor in the area where you are planning to buy and talk to him about what you can and can't do.
What you are allowed to do and build on your land depends not only on zoning (urban - rustica) but also on the designation of the land (agricultural, nature reserve etc.) and what the local ayuntamiento will allow you to do.
You can check the designation of the land online at www.sedecatastro.gob.es
 
pete samson
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Location: central european territories
 
Steve Farmer
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Location: South Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain)
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hi Jago. Did you find a suitable piece of land and/or make progress understanding planning law?

I have some rustic land in Tenerife and will be looking to build some water tanks, a cuarto de aperos, and if possible, evntually a dwelling.
 
Robert Dobie
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You should not have any issue with growing in Spain , you want a good lawyer though before buying any land there. The local laws can be different from region to region in Spain but if the property has a ruin or cave home on it you most likely will not have any trouble living on site if the property is large enough. Water in Spain can be an issue as in there isn't any on site in a lot of places. You can be there on a visa for 3 month a year with no worries without being a resident. Most rural land in Spain that I have checked out will let you put a caravan on or temp cabin as in wood frame or yurt but will not. You might consider living in say a VW camper while on site and just drop a steel shipping container on the property to store your tools and equipment in while your away from the farm. Good luck with your adventure in Spain. I have been thinking Spain would be a great winter getaway and the price of a small olive or almond farm in a rural are can be had cheap as long as your not to close to the beach. The most important thing is to have a good Spanish real estate lawyer on board and get a Bank to check it out before proceeding with the purchase.
 
Dawn Hoff
Posts: 504
Location: Andalucía, Spain
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Don't just get one gestor - get two... We were cleared by ours and now we are paying a lawyer to sort everything out. We have rebuilt the ruin on our land - and turns out our gestor 1. Did not pay our taxes (pocketed the money). 2. Adviced us wrongly on the building permit (we should have had a major protector and applied for a minor). Fortunately the ayuntamiento has shown tardiness in replying, which has saved out butts.

If you farm on the land you can get permission to build a small house (10-50m2 depending on where you are). If you "move dirt" to make a level area to put a yurt or a container on, then you are essentially building. It is difficult (if not impossible) to get permission dig a well. Having a legal well on your land greatly increases it's value.

It is often easier to get permission to build a small rural hotel, than a house - if you prove that you are farming though (ie. majority of your taxes come from farming), getting a building permit is easier.
 
Steve Farmer
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Location: South Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain)
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An architect is more useful than a gestor at initial stages. My experience in various projects here is you go to the town hall to ask can I do this, can I do that and get met by a brick wall. You go with an architect, preferably one who knows the town hall engineer, and he asks the same questions and gets you the permission on paper.

You should have no problem building a cuarto de aperos on agricultural land. If you have a hectare then this is almost guaranteed to be granted. Smaller plots you might be refused but more likely will be able to build something very small.
 
Dawn Hoff
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Location: Andalucía, Spain
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My friends in Jaen, cannot get permission to build anything beyond that small house for far workers - and we are talking less than 50 m2 and they have 6 ha (but divided in 4 seperate parcellas. He is a topographic ingeneer. They have to prove that they are actually farming before they get the permission... Some ayuntamientos are more difficult than others. But yes - get someone professional who knows who's who in the ayuntamiento to help you (that what we though we did with our gestor though...)
 
Bauluo Ye
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Hi Dawn, Steve and others,

Can you help/advise me in this matter? My friends and I are looking to follow into your footsteps in the near future, possibly in Andalucia. This legal stuff is kind of daunting. What seems to me the most sane thing to do for us, is to connect with "veterans" and select the ayuntamientos, gestors, etc. with the best track record in order to minimize risk. What a cruel irony gestor 1&2 got you in this mess Dawn. Horrible! It doesn't make me very eager to get those folks on board really. Is there an alternative?

What about buying a cortijo with a ruin on it and restoring it? Do these things have the legal status of a dwelling? How many people can be registered at one address like this? How complicated and costly would it be to be allowed to restore it? From what I've read and heard, other building permits involve a lot more time, money and complications. What I'm basically aiming for, is a minimal legal foundation. Nothing fancy. Personally I don't mind to live in a shed or something if the situation requires it. Illegally build something and hoping for the best, like some do, is something I don't feel comfortable about. Any suggestions/comments? Thanks in advance.

Kind regards,

Ye
 
Dawn Hoff
Posts: 504
Location: Andalucía, Spain
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Well... Ours were a ruin, which is why we will only get a small fine for renovating it. But even for that you need proof that the house is older that 1975, and you need a proyecto (incl Engineer).

Only one gestor has cheated us the other people we have met have been very helpful - but Southern European red tape is tiring (to the point where we sometimes talk of selling everything and buy a boat and travel around the world instead). We spend far more time fighting burocrats than ever before in our life...

If I were you I'd buy a piece of land with a ruin on it - a ruin in reasonable state, not just the foot print of a house (ours still had a roof on 90% of the house), and park a tiny house on the land and live/work from that untill all permissions are in place. Since you don't have kids and don't need to work it will not be as complicated as it were for us.
 
Bauluo Ye
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On the one hand, being proper mental obliterated all my efforts to get beyond a holding-my-head-above-the-water-existence. On the other hand, this idiosyncratic torture device eventually resulted in an opportunity that few others have. I'm grateful for that and I intend to put it to good use while it lasts. It'll be over in about 2.5 years from now. It's too short to get things up and running, but I'd be completely content with a solid foundation. I see no future for myself within the belly of the "civilized" beast. Simultaneously there's little that doesn't deeply resonate with me about permaculture and a self-sufficient-ish life. It's like I've been educating myself for this on many levels for decades without knowing it. There's no going back. Not much to lose. This is truly a chance to live. Finally. I'm grabbing it with both hands. I'm ready to give it my all.

It's as much about a careful and sensible approach, as it is about passion though. In my opinion there's an overemphasis on the sexy stuff about permaculture on the web. We won't have sustainability if we put our heads in the sand for the financial and legal reality we are part of. I'm a part-time hermit and dealing with people often comes at a price for me. This probably makes me rely more heavily on the internet as a source of information than others. I figure there are and/or will be more people in a similar situation that may benefit from what others have experienced on the legal front. Blunders, fuckups and bad experiences are as valuable, or even more, as success story's. Consider this an open invitation and an attempt to accumulate this kind of data on permies.com (jago pearce, yes it's a shameless coup attempt on the OP). So thank you for sharing Dawn. And I'm sorry it turned out you bet on the wrong gestor. I hope that cabron won't succeed in spoiling your dreams. One cheating gestor is better than two though
 
Steve Farmer
Posts: 390
Location: South Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain)
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Bauluo, I can't stress strongly enough that it should be an ARCHITECT you talk to rather than a gestor or abogado. Your architect will talk to the technical engineer in the ayuntamiento who has the final say on what you can or cannot do according to the catastral category the land is on, and what the particular ayuntamiento allows for each category of land. The ayuntamiento engineer and architect work together on projects all day every day. Gestors don't. You might want a gestor for various things, but telling you what you can do with your land is not one of those things.
 
Dawn Hoff
Posts: 504
Location: Andalucía, Spain
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You are right Steve.

We have a contact with a natural building architect in Barcelona, but I don't know any here in Malaga - so if anyone knows architects with a speciality in natural building it would be greatly apprechiated as we might build a rural hotel on the other part of our finca at some point (and would love to not have to problems we have now).
 
Dawn Hoff
Posts: 504
Location: Andalucía, Spain
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Bauluo - the neighboring land here is for sale and has a legal house on it (more like a she'd actually, but it is legal). And for your friends there are more houses for sale here in our valley. Since we are quite private people ourselves living close to us is not the same as living in a commune Try it on for size and se how it fits - let me know.
 
Dawn Hoff
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Location: Andalucía, Spain
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One more thing: If you only have two years, spending time getting planning permission, spending money on architects, spending time building a house might not be worth it. Try to imagine where you want to in 2 years and plan accordingly: will you be selling your produce on the local farmers market? How will you get around? Do you need a car? How will you generate an income? Will you need to plant trees? When will they generate an income?

If the land you buy doesn't have a well you might not get permission to dig one (our neighbor has that problem now, so he will be buying water from us since he sold us his well when he sold the land, thinking he could get permission to dig a new one). Would it maybe be wiser to buy a small piece of land in the valley with and established orchard on and a small house? That way you have a place to live and a small income and bit by bit you can convert it to a permaculture place. Valley land is more expensive than Tierra seco like we have - but the wells usually don't run dry in the summer on the other hand they are sometimes flooded in the winter... Think hard about how you will get that income - two years isn't very much, we've owned this place for 2 years in a month and we are not producing very much yet, because our time has been spent on building and paperwork (plus homeschooling and regular work). How much land do you actually need? How much land can you actually grow - one man without machines?

You are absolutely right about it looking very easy when you see it online - it is not It is however a wonderful life and totally worth it! I don't think we were entirely realistic two years ago - but then again sometimes unrealistic dreams is what you need to start a business. we still have a steady income though - and even if it does take most of Marcus' time away from the farm, it helps a lot!
 
Bauluo Ye
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Thank you Steve and Dawn!

There are many variables and every plot of land will have a different distribution of those. The past year I've been studying to be able to weigh these variables as good as I can. I won't be able to address everything that ideally needs to be addressed in order to go through with the big shift. There's too much to learn in a limited amount of time. However much I get done, It'll not be enough to prevent me from having to take some kind of a leap of faith. I'll jump when I feel confident enough I'll manage on the other side though. I'm on a mission to make this leap as little as possible. The goal that I thus have set for myself before doing anything drastic, is to get beyond a level of wild guesses and great fantasies. Let's call it the minimum viable knowledge base. I'll go as far as time and energy permit. Crucial before joining a game is to have a clear understanding of the rules. This'll help a lot to keep everything that follows within a realistic framework. I consider the legal aspect of it the first order, the initial and structural costs the second. There are many more, but these two
are always pretty definite as far as I can see. The further down the line you go, the more room for creativity and ingenuity. I'm quite confident in that regard.

The two most limiting factors are legal and financial in nature. So the next question in this viability study is: (where) can our money buy us a place where we can legally live and grow stuff? Of course the non-absolute criteria also play a significant role. Perhaps buying a place that's more intact with less acreage will be the best option. There's no way of telling for me at this point. I need to get a feeling of what's for sale and it's potential first. That can go quite quickly though when I visit. What goes for all of us is that we have more time to invest than money. This probably points more in the direction of restoring a ruine than buying an intact house. Housing is not very high on my priority list. I see it rather as a necessary evil to be able to legally live in Spain (on the land). I'd rather skip the whole circus and build a hut or something like that. But I need it to be legal. As I understand it needs to have the official status of a dwelling. It's not unthinkable my friends and I will register on the same address but some will live in a mobile home in reality. We haven't figured that one out yet.

Dawn, your questions have been on my radar for quite a while. Even up to the point of obsessing and worrying. These questions are essential and there's no going around them if you're serious. It's in my nature to want to try to tackle the hard stuff first. It's a blessing and a curse. Various people have told me to take it more easy in this regard to prevent stress. Although it goes right against a loud voice in my head, I'm taking their advice. I've started to stop myself from thinking about it when I'm heading for the worry funnel again. In my case the sensible thing sometimes is to let go more than I would like. I'll find the right balance eventually. Lots of ideas about a business model, but still too many unknowns on at least the legal front to start filling in the details. Following the right order of decision making, seems to be the most efficient thing to do for me. I know nothing about the local markets in Spain. Not a good spot to even begin considering getting involved. What can you tell me? How complicated would it be to, let's say, raise a couple of sheep and sell them? Any legal barriers there? What about fruit and veggies, is it as simple as renting a stall at the farmers market and start selling your goodies? As far as ways to market produce, I've payed specific attention to that while looking for information about permaculture etc. Although it's worrying how relatively little attention is payed to it, it is out there. I plan to post my findings at permies.com. I would go even more wildly off topic doing that here than I am already though.

I'm glad you've put the spotlights on an aspect that has drifted from my attention: the need for producing almond/olive trees on the land we want to buy. It is a big thing indeed. A good part of the plots I've seen thus far, had mature olive and/or almond trees on it. I don't know about your valley, but it seems to me their presence doesn't drive up the price of land very much. The idea of adding value on site and direct market these crops in my home country has been an idea I've had for quite a while. It could be a part of generating income, at least in the early stages. I may be able to pull it off in cooperation with friends over here. This and perhaps having some visitors are the only things I've concocted so far to bridge the gap while I try to build soil and grow stuff. My advantage is that I'm frugal and I have no other mouths to feed. Not needing much is half of the solution. This attitude allowed me to save up the bulk of my income for some years. It isn't massive, but it's there and I keep adding. It's probably a matter of exploiting and stacking as many advantages as one can find against the challenge ahead. Bring it on!
 
Dawn Hoff
Posts: 504
Location: Andalucía, Spain
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Mmmnn - maybe we should start a new thread regarding markets in Spain?
 
Bauluo Ye
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Let's migrate here: http://www.permies.com/t/47520/Iberia/started-Spain-Legal-financial-social#379417
 
I've got no option but to sell you all for scientific experiments. Or a tiny ad:
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