Bureaucrazy is what it really SHOULD be called. It seems the rules are made to confuse, not clarify. We have been looking at property. We’ve also discovered that merely buying it and trying to be environmentally responsible isn’t going to be enough.
And just because there is a lot for sale, and you can buy it…it doesn’t mean you can USE it!
It seems that land was subdivided, and only then did the county make minimum sized lots of 1/2 acre before a septic system, house, etc. could be placed on it. Why are there 1/4 acre lots for sale then? And why don’t sellers have to disclose the fact that the land is less useful than a piece of the swamp?
And even more interestingly…that 1/4 acre lot that isn’t legal to build on…is also not legal for a travel trailer because it’s not a permanent structure.
The lot’s not legal for a permanent structure, but its also not legal for a temporary one? And we MIGHT be able to get a permit IF we fix the trailer onto the lot with tie-downs, etc. Now what is the point of a travel trailer if you can’t move it? It would take days to disengage the trailer from these fixtures, and then when we came back, it would have to go through the entire process of getting a permit all over again…IF we could get a permit!
Now I can see minimum sized lots for septic systems and wells–that’s got health standards behind it, and with the wet climate and high water table, it makes a lot of sense. The septic system requirements are also pretty tough, and to be honest…it wouldn’t make sense for us to even install one. We’d be better off with a tank that was pumped out periodically by one of the local services. That way, when we move the trailer, we don’t have to worry about getting back before the deadline (property can only be vacant so long before a new system has to be installed). It’s cheaper initially as well to use a pumping service and tank–if the county will let us have a permit.
Water, well, we’d likely opt to go with a hauling system where we fill up a tank somewhere and then haul it home, we’re not heavy water users to begin with, and we’d obviously be fairly modest about the water use when waste water all is calculated by the gallon too. The appeal of the property is the fact that it has access to all utilities, including telephone and cable, which keeps our costs down because cable internet is much less expensive than satellite or air cards (if you can even get a signal!)
The down side is the lot is small, it’s got very near neighbors, and we’d not be able to have a truly rural lifestyle. The lot is also heavily wooded, which would mean hiring a bulldozer to come in and rip up tree stumps after we get things cut down. IF we can get one in because we don’t want to just clear ALL the trees. We want to clear it enough to use it, retaining the trees we can for shade and aesthetics. We would also be less than a mile from the Gulf of Mexico, a hazardous position during hurricanes, and would require us to hitch up the travel trailer and move to higher ground (even though that area did not flood during Katrina.) I lived in New Orleans when Katrina arrived, although I had departed for NE Texas in her honor. I returned to New Orleans about a month after she’d gone, and life was still very difficult. I’m more than a bit leery of hurricanes, as Katrina was my first. I certainly would not dream of sitting out one in a travel trailer. My years in Northern Arizona means that I also know what it is like to endure 100+ mph winds with gusts going over 200 mph. Everything becomes a lethal projectile. If the wind can find a way to get its fingers into it, it will be destroyed. Travel trailers are not a haven in such a storm.
We would be able to build a shed right there on the property, which would greatly enhance our lives. No more of a 15 mile round trip run to get something from the storage unit! We could actually have a screened in “porch” on which to sit without those dreadful winged teeth taking chunks out of us too!
I have to admit, I do feel a burning need to have a place to call ours, a place to return to. I’m just not sure it’s going to be on the Gulf Coast. On the other hand, an inexpensive lot might be an excellent investment, allowing us to at least winter in a warmer climate no matter where we opt to wander during the muggy summers when the hurricanes are also likely to come calling. In this area, the RV parks are dismal or incredibly expensive (as well as apparently few and far between.) It’s also just over an hour to visit my beloved granddaughter and daughter–which is close, but not TOO close.
So, despite the bureaucrazy, I guess I’ll continue pursuing this idea, to see if it is a possibility we can (and want to) make happen. We’d be in the thick of things, or at least as close in to things as is economically possible, with fishing and many other amenities within a few miles.
Sometimes though, I wonder about our government. It seems that big corporations can dump oil in our oceans, chemicals in our ground water, toxic waste almost anywhere…but private citizens must jump through hoops, beg, plead, and pay outrageously high fees, high a lawyer with outrageously high fees, and then after a few hearings…we MIGHT get to use our property to live on.
What has happened to this country anyhow? It’s not like we’re trying to strip mine, drill for oil, run a brothel, distill hooch, or make designer drugs on it…we want to simply put in power, a holding tank for septic, bring in cable, build a shed, put up a fence, do some landscaping, put in a trailer pad and patio…and park our trailer there to live in for extended periods of time. And of course, pay taxes accordingly. We have no illusions about THAT concept–they’ll get us for taxes no matter what.
I’m already griping, and we’ve not even made a firm offer with the stipulation we have to be able to get permits to put the trailer on it before the deal would close. We haven’t looked for financing either. Therefore, I shall climb down off of my high horse, and be reasonable and calm. I’m not stuck–I was checking on this before we made an offer, so we didn’t get a nasty surprise. I’m not totally gung-ho on it yet either. I’m not up to being much help at all of the heavy work that would be required, and I’m not entirely sure that GM would be either. It would take a month or better of hard work to even get the land cleared off enough to know a damned thing about what we’d keep, where things would go, etc. We’d fence it at least partially, for the dogs’ benefit as well as to make me feel less like I had wild hogs (and roaming dogs) sneaking up on me. I happen to KNOW there are Russian boars in the area, after escaping during Katrina, they have begun breeding in the woods & bayous of the area, and have been sighted repeatedly by residents.
Life. You never know what kind of crazy idea will grab you next.