We see plenty of examples of codes, covenants, and restrictions (CC&Rs) that place a lot of petty restrictions on us, such as what color we can paint our house, etc. But what about having a community plan that actually enforces permaculture principles? Requirements could include: composting, rainwater capture, graywater usage, etc.?
Personally, I won't buy land that has CC&Rs. I've already declined buying a number of nice parcels because of that. If I'm paying my own cash for land, I resent being told what I may or may not do with it. That includes permaculture rules, even though I incorporate permaculture in my lifestyle. But having said that, I know that a lot of people see nothing wrong with CC&Rs, so for them it might be an interesting concept.
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
The problem with CC&R's is that society is dynamic; with a committee meeting here, and a committee meeting there, a stroke of a pen and they are added or subtracted from a town.
My town is a case in point. It is VERY rural, and having lived here my entire life, it has always had very lenient rules. A new house building permit is $50; an addition onto your home...a mere $25. But now there is a new Selectmen in town and his girlfriend has a thing for codes, so now she convinces people in town we need them, and we are being blasted every year with new building codes. When he is voted out, so won't the building codes and it is not like the town will enforce them anyway.
Then there is the Right to Farm Act. Not every state has this, but Maine does, and it allows for a farm that uses Best Management practices recognized by the Maine Dept of Agriculture, and the US Dept of Agriculture to continue farming the way it always has. A town we farmed in banned a practice that we used, was recognized as a BMP, and so under the Right to Farm Act we continued as if the townspeople never even voted on it. A lot of permiculture farming methods fall under this category because Permiculture is based on old practices like swales, keyline farming, and hugels.
So I would not base my decision to live/not live in a town based on building codes because no one can predict the future. Building codes are here one minute, gone the next, and there is always the option of appealing the codes as well. Then you might be covered under the Right to Farm Act as well.
For a person looking for a place to farm, I would base it on soil first. Even if the place has great schools, is close to a great market, and has available land, if the soil is all clay a farm is going to be fighting to get anything to grow all its existence. Therefore, I would get a copy of soil and base my farm purchase about 80% on that, then potential markets, available land, quality of schools, etc...just about anything other then rules. Society is so fickle and they change so often...
posted 1 year ago
Thanks for the responses. I should have prefaced and qualified my discussion. I live in southern California, which is densely populated. And because much of the population of America lives in densely populated areas, we need to consider permaculture in such environments if there is going to be any sort of substantial shift from our current mainstream path of destruction.
The types of things to be enforced by the CC&Rs would be only those that are dependent on close proximity of neighbors and not dependent on any societal variables, and the rules would be meant only to enforce the prevention of those things that are likely to cause harm to the area. As a good example, if you lived only 50 yards from your neighbor, you would want to be sure that a humanure composting system were done correctly to prevent pathogenic contamination of your neighbor's property. So say, 6 people decided to have a community and one decided to leave. You wouldn't want the new buyer of one of the parcels, for example, to start having their feces running into your back yard and giving your whole family hepatitis B by way of contamination of your root crops. Similarly, you wouldn't want this same new occupant to start washing baby's poop accidents down the drain into the graywater system during a heavy rain, which could cause a similar problem to that of a poorly maintained humanure system.