Lookin' for land without building codes

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Hi all. Have been reading this forum intermittantly for about a year now and I figure someone here might be able to steer me in the right direction.

I'm just about ready to head for the hills and start a "New Life". I'm looking for a place to go though. I intend to buy some land, build my own house, become self sufficient, the whole nine yards. My dilemna tho, is where to buy. I want to build a cob house and so I need to find a place without building codes, and where I would be able to generate my own power from hydro and wind rather than solar. I've been thinking that the Dakotas would be a good place in terms of wind, expensive tho to find land with an adequate creek for hydro in grassland states. Montana would be great, but land prices are outrageous. Most important tho, is that I don't have building inspectors coming around telling me to tear my house made of mud down. LOL. That would be a serious problem. If anyone here could give me the benefit of their experience in their locales, that would be great. Lack of employment in specific areas is not an issue as in my profession I can be anywhere.



-- Linda in NYC (lcesario@post.com), December 23, 2001


I'm not sure with building codes but St Lawrence and Jefferson counties in Ny could give you wind.Land is still cheap too.100 a could ranges from 25,000 and up .

-- Patty {NY State} (fodfarms@hotmail.com), December 23, 2001.

Newton County Arkansas. Hydro might be a problem. We are planning on using solar and wind. Our house on $25 acres has very low taxes, you can email me personally if you want details.


-- kim (fleece@eritter.net), December 23, 2001.

Hello Linda,

There are no building restrictions that I know of in Southern Missouri (Ozarks). There are a few counties that want you to have a septic system if you have three acres of less, but most people have more than that. I myself, have a composting toilet and an outhouse.

I have been building a house here and did not have any problems except for the electric company. They just wanted proof that I was going to build a permanent dwelling as so they could justify putting in the poles and the power lines.

My house is an a-frame built completely by my wife and me. We did not have to be in code since there was not need for a permit. There are many dwellings in the area that are alternative construction. Though, I have not seen "mud houses", I have seen "off the grid", solar, underground,"pole type houses", and quite a few shacks put together with recycled materials.

There is not much work in the area but, you can probably "create" a job here like many have done. I work as a handyman and sell on ebay to cover my expenses. I am sure you will "become creative enough" to do something also.

Land is about $1000.00 an acre more or less, depending to the quality and the quantity you are interested in.

Good luck,


-- http://communities.msn.com/livingoffthelandintheozarks (espresso42@hotmail.com), December 23, 2001.

HGTV Extreme Homes recently featured a cob house being built north of Austin. Remember, land use regulations, i.e. septic systems, can be enacted and enforced by state agencies.

-- paul (primrose@centex.net), December 23, 2001.

Definately Arkansas. I was amazed when we moved here to learn that just a few yrs ago they finally got septic regs passed, still not enforced or specifically written, etc. But thats in marion County. Land is cheap here too, but there is a reason, not only the poor job market and wages, but also because its hard to dig wells or septics because of all the rocks. Also, ph lines are expensive to put in, our neighbors had to pay almost 9,000 to get service 10 yrs ago. Its still expensive. Good luck, hope ya find what ya need.

-- Bernice (geminigoats@yahoo.com), December 23, 2001.

I doubt you could use a stream for hydro-power if you are envisioning a waterwheel concept. It would require a fairly complex system of pulleys to achieve the generator rpms required.

I have a good sized pond with a levee on one side. Had I installed a pipe before the levee was built, I suspect the head in the pond (4-5 feet) could drive a pinton wheel.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), December 24, 2001.

Delhi, Iowa - no building codes in the rural areas.

-- Stacey (stacey@lakesideinternet.com), December 24, 2001.

When I lived in the Finger Lakes region of western NY, zoning laws and building codes were decided by Townships, not necessarily the state. If you think you can take the winters of the Dakotas or Montana, then St. Lawrence county in NY would be a mild winter and certainly nice country with topography that is not just flat forever, they have trees up there.

-- hendo (redgate@echoweb.net), December 24, 2001.

Want to thank everyone for their responses. Guess there's more places out there than I thought with no building codes!! As for the hydro, it wouldn't be a water wheel. There's a self contained unit that works in less than a foot of water in a creek running at 9 miles per hour. A buddy of mine has some that he's daisy chained together somehow and they work great! Should have been a bit more specific in my post I guess, cause I'm actually looking for land in the northern midwest. Thanks for all your help and Merry Christmas!


-- Linda in NYC (lcesario@post.com), December 24, 2001.

What about SE Ohio? Here land is cheap and very rural and drop dead gorgeous to boot, beautiful rolling hills and forests of hardwood and pine abound, and no mosquitoes or biting black flies!!! Absolutely no zoning regulations of any kind, you can live in a cardboard box and pee in the woods if you are so inclined.

Check out these websites for land for sale in SE OH: www.swisslands.com ;www.fleihman.realty.com ;www.unitedcountry.com (Woodsfield,OH) ;www.brunerland.com

-- Annie Miller in SE OH (annie@1st.net), December 26, 2001.

Decatur County, Iowa. South central part of state. No building codes, no building permits, low land prices, few people. There is a growing Amish community there. Land is rolling but it is pretty breezy most of the time. Also, don't expect a ton of trees.

-- David (daoelker@seidata.com), December 26, 2001.

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