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

 
tristan Fabish
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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.
 
C. Kelley
Posts: 31
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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