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Intentional tiny house community forming. Where to buy land with no building/zoning limits?

 
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I'm in the beginning stages of developing a sustainable live/work intentional tiny house community that serves several purposes & will attract eco-conscious people who have a yearning to return to nature & self-reliance.

My vision is to purchase a house with acreage (Minimum of 5 acres) or just land that has no building code/zoning limits, or very few. The community's goal will be to utilize the land for multiple income opportunities, such as farming, entrepreneurism, teaching, building & leasing plots of land for parking. Other natural building options will be utilized.

The community will need to be no further than 30 minutes from the nearest town & not too isolated. No zoning restrictions & a lenient building inspection process (electrical and septic only) are required. Are there any areas that can fulfill these goals, mainly on the zoning side?

I prefer states such as Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Missouri & North Carolina. My budget is $150K. Also, overly religious/conservative areas will not be a good fit.
 
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Location: zone 4b/5a Midcoast Maine
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Well, I think it's pretty unlikely you'll end up with much of a number for community on only 5 acres, and 5 acres with a house in any habitable/comfortable area of the states you listed is likely to be far more expensive than your stated budget. Part of why we left the PNW was because we couldn't step foot on .5 acre of arable land within an hour's drive of a vegetable market (read as: town of 20,000 or more), much less one with anything that could be described as a house on it, for less than a quarter of a million dollars.

So we moved to Maine. Yeah, this winter sucked (and still sucks, from the 8" of snow they're saying we'll get Saturday, but it'll be spring snow and melt fast). There are some rednecks (so aren't there in WA and OR, too, believe you me I grew up with them!!) There's a lot of ulcer-inducing retirees with an abhorrent "I got mine, Jack!" mentality that makes me want to kick them in their brittle old shins. On the flipside, there'll be a heck of a population attrition here in the next decade or so and I'm making it my personal mission to stack the demographic deck (easier to do in Maine, with only 1 million people - a couple of tens of thousands of permies could make a hell of a noise on the state level here) so that when all the old farts are dead, we'll inherit the state.

There are also ZERO - read it Z-E-R-O building restrictions in our town. I'm considering buying a .5 acre vacant lot on Main St for about 25K and hosting a Poosh project to build a tight row of shopfronts and apartments out of cob & strawbale with perennial gardens and a workshop behind - the Live/Work Cluster pattern from A Pattern Language. It's perfectly legal for me to build that, by hand, with mud, passive solar, composting toilets, the whole nine yards. The most restrictive rule is about residential zoning in the outlying areas of town, and the rule there is that you CAN have a business in your home, as long as it's not one that needs a sign. We were actually told "no sign, no problem." We're right on the coast within farmers-market distance of several good sized towns and the state's largest city, and only a few miles from both the Good Life Center in Brooksville and the Common Ground Education Center in Unity.

A sampling of land/houses within a 20-minute walk of where I now sit: a 14-acres-of-pasture organically managed farm with 4br stone farmhouse with beehive oven, 6 fireplaces, and a barn as big as a city block for $215k; over 100 acres of mature tamarack & cedar forest for $103k with a driveway and a Quonset hut; 60 acres of mature woods for $51k on a dirt road with a dug well but no driveway. 205 acres of mature woods with a GORGEOUS creek through the middle of it for 80K..... Good luck finding that much land at those prices anywhere west of the Rockies - and the best part out here is that you won't go to jail for collecting rain water!
 
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I had a lot of luck with building my tiny house on farm land with low zoning regulations. That being said its going to be hard to find cheap farm land in an area with more liberal minded people. I got mine in a struggling small town. Cheep land prices. And there thrilled to have anyone buying land there or using it for any reason at all. But ill admit the area is quite red. I suppose if land was cheap and in a nice spot someone would already have bought it.

Have you thought about approaching a land trust or conservancy? You would not be able to own the land outright but there are a lot of places looking to try something other then A1 single family housing zoning regulation these days. Maybe talk to a university that works with a lot of agriculture? Or go to a state organization that works with land grants. Try selling yourself as high density sustainable housing instead of tiny houses, and use the word "experimental" a lot.
 
pollinator
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We bought 40 acres in the foothills of S. Colorado, east of the front range. You are almost always about 30 minutes or so from a small town of 5k or 10k, and an hour or two from the populous cities along I-25.

You'll be able to purchase upwards of 35 to 40 acre "lots" anywhere from the western foothills of the front range to anywhere on the eastern flatlands, as long as you stay a few hours from the big cities, where land prices and home density is high.

Almost all "non-onerous" code counties have a septic system requirement, and the state handles the electrical/plumbing codes; the state & the counties allow you to build "to code". Zoning is per county, so just review the area, then the county's website, and you can possibly zero in on where to explore. Any county with a lot of population is an "onerous" code county.

You'll be able to purchase the typical 40 acres or raw land for an average of about $1k per acre, and for us, it wasn't hard to build a septic system on it ourselves, and start doing everything else we wanted. Shouldn't be hard to find land free of most rules/regulations/HOA's, etc.

Post in the regionals forums, and see if others can zero you in even closer to what you want ...
 
pollinator
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Location: 18° North, 97° West
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tristan Fabish wrote:

My vision is to purchase a house with acreage (Minimum of 5 acres) or just land that has no building code/zoning limits, or very few.

Also, overly religious/conservative areas will not be a good fit.



I've lived outside of the US for 25 years now, but I was under the impression that these two things don't go together in very many places...

Maybe the upper midwest? Like Minnesota or Wisconsin?
 
pollinator
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Lots of abandoned places with a little infrastructure to start with.
Saw this and thought I'd post it as an example.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-sVBupYBMA

It's down south in New Mexico.
I've heard good things about New Mexico's codes.

It's on old route 66, and close to the interstate.
Which could help bring in customers to sell products to.
Better to have traffic come to you than have to haul products somewhere.
For selling products being near a busy highway might be better than near a town.

I guess there are a bunch of places like this.
utube has several people that look at abandoned places and ghost towns.

Some green so there must be water at times.
It looks rough but when I posted the buying land at auction post someone asked if I was looking for good land or land to improve.
I see how rough it is and think of all the good things a small community could do with it.
How much we could improve the area.
 
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