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Any Arizona county (besides Cochise) which allow “non-traditional” building? Or California? Or...?  RSS feed

 
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Hello forum members. I’m brand new to the forum so bear with me while I figure this out.
I’m in the process of searching for a small acreage for building a Hempcrete home. I found out so far that Cochise county in Arizona has an optional opt-out program that allows homes to be built (on 4 acres or more) without the necessary inspection process. There is an old thread on the topic but I’m hoping to get some up to date feedback from you all who may have built already and/or can verify the best (warm climate) areas to consider land. Of course my budget is pretty tight so Cochise ticks the boxes as far as code and affordability. But I just watched a program on DIY network on a woman having an earth bag house built in the hills overlooking Tucson. That county has enforced code so it’s a mystery on how they got around building this place!
I’d love to find an area not so far off the beaten path as we are getting older it seems. California would be great but it seems unlikely it would be allowed there? Are there other AZ counties that allow owners to build what they want without the heavy restrictions? I need a drier area for health reasons so AZ and CA seem to tick those boxes. Anyone out there who can share there advice or guidance on good, affordable regions to consider at this stage would be much appreciated!! 🙌
 
pollinator
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I'm not 100% certain if it's a state policy or a county one but I think it might be state wide in CA, if you're property is not attached to the grid (power or sewer) then you are allowed to file for an owner alternative build permit which exempts you from lots of the building code stuff. As far as I can tell it means you have to have a contractor sign off on any electrical or plumbing you so but otherwise you're pretty free.
 
Pj Dyck
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I’ll have to look into that. I know things are changing constantly tho. It’s too bad there is not some sort of data base with up to date info that made this info more accessible!
 
gardener
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Location: Morongo Valley
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I believe Greenlee county, AZ, may have the owner-build option as well. I only found Greenlee as another possibility to Cochise in AZ - however I never bothered to find the documentation on the planning site because we ended up buying in Cochise.

In CA, the owner build option is only in a few counties, and it's VERY restrictive.  Size and other considerations.  I forget the counties... it my be Inyo, the ones I read about were in eastern CA.  You could only build a tiny house in the county I read the details for.

Neat thing about Greenlee county, it's the location of a Mexican Wolf reintroduction.

Is Hempcrete so hard to get approval with?  Or are there other considerations you have (like avoiding the hassle!)?

In Cochise, Portal, AZ is very nice if you like remote.  Really cool, in-tact community. Not the cheapest area, though.
 
pollinator
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I spent a few weeks in the veery northern tip of CA, NorthEast of crescent city. I got the distinct impression nobody was going to be asking awkward permit related questions... but this place was 7 miles up an unpaved logging rd surrounded by national forests(?), so may have just been a perk of remoteness rather than actual policy...
 
Pj Dyck
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Kim regarding Coshise county...what are your thoughts on the areas around Pearce? Or Sierra Vista? Or green valley areas? Where would you recommend to be closer to services and stuff, but in a safer area also? Many thanks!
 
Kim Goodwin
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We didn't explore other areas, we liked what we found. We were looking for a remote area, so didn't explore the less remote ones with any sense of living there.

So I don't know the other regions.  I think Wayne Mackenzie is one who knows other areas of SE Arizona.  Not sure who else is out here, but if you look in the desert SW forum topics I think you can find more people.

I will note that Bisbee is a super cute town, but seems to be very polluted around it.
 
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