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Florida Court Rules Living ‘Off The Grid’ Is Illegal

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posted on Jun, 16 2015 @ 11:51 AM
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a reply to: MystikMushroom

Living off grid isn't easy at all, it takes lots of planning. For the most part I understand and agree with building and zoning codes. However there are very effective grey and black water systems that work great and doesn't require you to be connected to the grid. There are areas of the country that would suit a off grid lifestyle more than other places. Florida, California, New York I wouldn't even consider trying there, Some counties in most Western and mid west states still have counties with no building or zoning codes.

Local building and zoning codes should be updated to accommodate the off grid lifestyle and the technology needed. Judges really need to start acting like judges and make these hard decisions or whats the point of being a judge?




posted on Jun, 16 2015 @ 11:52 AM
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originally posted by: Benevolent Heretic
a reply to: maddy21

So many government authorities are scared to death of people making their own decisions! It's ridiculous! The fact that they find this person a threat to their control is hilarious! I hope she fights it to the end!


Yes. I am not anti-government. 300 million people can not just do what they want.

BUT ---- there should be no law against living off the grid. If you buy property and pay taxes, that should be enough.

Provided you keep the property in good condition and are not a threat to neighbors.

EDIT: that would include building codes.


edit on 16-6-2015 by Annee because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 16 2015 @ 11:55 AM
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a reply to: boohoo

Thank you for providing a reason, I never looked at it in that manner. I don't necessarily agree with it but as you said those are the facts.



posted on Jun, 16 2015 @ 11:57 AM
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The government is like our parents.

We hate them when we're young because we don't understand why they do what they do. They tell us what to do and run our lives. We aren't grown up enough to understand that much of what they are doing is protecting us. Imagine a parent that didn't do anything but throw a mattress on the floor and slide a tray of food to a kid once or twice a day and that was it. No other interaction. That would be child abuse.

When we grow up and look back on our parents we understand why they did what they did, we know now that they were just trying to be good parents and we didn't see the larger picture because we were immature kids.

The government is the same way. Just because you don't know the full picture or understand the reasons behind what's going on doesn't mean there are some men in evil villain chairs sitting around enjoying making people miserable.

I will concede that there are many laws on the books (a lot actually) that are there to make certain people money, and keep others from making money -- many are for the good of the public and have things like public safety in mind.



posted on Jun, 16 2015 @ 11:58 AM
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a reply to: MystikMushroom
The sewage thing is understandable but in the OP it's unclear about solar panels?



posted on Jun, 16 2015 @ 12:05 PM
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a reply to: maddy21

This is total bs, these city officials just want to make sure they line their pocket with Robin's money. I know of quite a few people who live off the grid and don't have to be connected to any governmental utility service, just another shining example of dot gov butting in where they are not wanted or needed.

edit on 10-04-08 by Beach Bum because: Spelling, structure add on.

edit on 10-04-08 by Beach Bum because: Spelling, structure add on.



posted on Jun, 16 2015 @ 12:12 PM
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originally posted by: Beach Bum
This is total bs, these city officials just want to make sure they line their pocket with Robin's money. I know of quite a few people who live off the grid and don't have to be connected to any governmental utility service, just another shining example of dot gov butting in where they are not wanted or needed.

Did you read the part in the article where it says that she DID NOT attend a code enforcement hearing about her property? If what you say is true, it should be obvious that she needed to attend the hearing to defend that position.


originally posted by: LDragonFire
However there are very effective grey and black water systems that work great and doesn't require you to be connected to the grid. There are areas of the country that would suit a off grid lifestyle more than other places.

Local building and zoning codes should be updated to accommodate the off grid lifestyle and the technology needed. Judges really need to start acting like judges and make these hard decisions or whats the point of being a judge?

Not as many as you would imagine. Even that TV guy Eustace Conway, whom got his land through homesteading laws, ended up with code enforcement on his back. The government knew years ago people would start doing this more often, due to the ongoing outsourcing of jobs. So, their solution was to crack down on "off the gird living", first on paper, then in the field. These laws have ALWAYS been there, its just that government only needed to really start enforcing them recently because people are now at the end of their ropes and feel "off the gird living" is their last available choice to survive in a jobless world.


originally posted by: TrueBrit
Hmmm... I suppose not. An interesting parallel to be sure!

I found an old article about the 5 people living in the forest and it seems they didn't realize that could be discovered through aerial photography/satellite imagery. This kind of goes back to the whole "simpleton" thing I mentioned earlier (looks like they could have used some advice from a former counter surveillance professional, i.e. ‘passive defense measures’ that masked features of their settlement from aerial surveillance):

Lost middle-class tribe's 'secret' eco-village in Wales spotted in aerial photograph taken by plane

Also, here is an article about "enclosure" in England which is the subdivision and fencing of "common land" into individual plots, which were allocated to those people deemed to have held rights to the land enclosed.

progressive enclosure of commons over several centuries has deprived most of the British people of access to agricultural land
edit on 16-6-2015 by boohoo because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 16 2015 @ 12:21 PM
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a reply to: MystikMushroom

Florida has some very strict building codes.

Give thanks to all the hurricanes that come through the state.

And all the crappy fly by night companies that do sub standard work.

And OSHA impact fees.

My friend, that has an engineering company, says that miami-dade county building codes are the worst.



posted on Jun, 16 2015 @ 12:24 PM
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originally posted by: MystikMushroom
Well, if you aren't hooked up to sewer, you're going to be dumping your waste on your land in ways that may not be very safe.
.


I like a lot of your posts MM and nothing wrong here but I wanted to point out how easy it is to take care of that particular issue as someone who is in the pre-stages of going off the grid adventuring. The same thing we did in the field over seas "wag bags" little resealable bags with a kitty litter like substance in them. You can use put in bucket and burn with diesel or dispose of at the dump no problem. They are pretty cheap themselves but you could probably McGuyver some cheaper ones bulk.



posted on Jun, 16 2015 @ 12:31 PM
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originally posted by: TrappedPrincess
I like a lot of your posts MM and nothing wrong here but I wanted to point out how easy it is to take care of that particular issue as someone who is in the pre-stages of going off the grid adventuring. The same thing we did in the field over seas "wag bags" little resealable bags with a kitty litter like substance in them. You can use put in bucket and burn with diesel or dispose of at the dump no problem. They are pretty cheap themselves but you could probably McGuyver some cheaper ones bulk.


Umm...what...is your off-grid building project in the United States? Although this solution may work in the real world, there is no possible way that its legal, ANYWHERE, in the Continental Untied States.

You are EXACTLY what I was referring to earlier. Your haste to "go off grid" is going to make it a nightmare for other in the future because government will re-write codes based on their experiences giving fines to people like you.
edit on 16-6-2015 by boohoo because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 16 2015 @ 12:33 PM
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Wow. I feel the fear of independence dripping off this post. Gives me the willies.

Save your 30k and the doom porn. Sketch it up and take it to the planning office. Use large sized paper and be accurate. If it's unacceptable they will tell you why. Fix it and try again. Rinse and repeat. Easy peasy.

They have architects there, and engineers. If you can't draw it up you shouldn't be doing it yourself. IBC is not rocket science, especially when your talking about off grid life styles. Problems ubiquitious since antiquity often have many solutions.

There is usually much more leeway for owners than contractors/architects. No license requirements, ins. , bond etc. If it is something that ends up requiring a wet stamp, they can be had for a couple hundo.

It is much easier for them to refuse a contractor.

I don't know how it is everywhere, but I live in one of the most regulated areas of the US building code wise. Lots of AHJs have their own interpretations of many aspects of IBC.

Many of the inspectors I've dealt with would probably love too see some off grid type inspections, and would probably be a great help to the owners.

Still, as long as you are in their process and trying to comply, you can pretty much do what you want as an owner. There are processes for getting a "code variance" for when it is not technically, financially, or otherwise feasible to comply, or at times to formalize a grandfathered aspect of a land improvement. Permit expirations can be repeatedly extended, you could be holding off inspections for years for a few bucks. I've seen hotels claiming broke for years, when requiring hydrotests of their dry pipe systems. That is much more serious than a residential permit issue, handled by the same office.

Everything is based on cost too. If your doing everything yourself, you can assign whatever cost you deem appropriate. Be prepared to briefly explain to the planning receptions why you think your 2 bedroom cottage project is only going to cost whatever your local minimum cost covered under the 25-150 initial permit cost is. Usually around 20k. Even if it is more than 20k, it's usually 5-25$ per additional 1k in cost. Many localities will reissue the first one at no charge if it gets hung up along the way, and additional renewals are usually the same cost as the initial.

It's a simple bureaucracy, and often staffed by friendly folks. It's not the DMV.

Go in, take a number, go up to the lady and say, I have this land at X, and I'd really like to do Y. What do I need to bring you?. What are the minimum requirements.

It's really basic stuff. It's not good case for civil disobedience.



posted on Jun, 16 2015 @ 12:33 PM
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a reply to: TrappedPrincess

Well, can you do this forever? And how can the city know that you're always going to do this?

That's the thing...SOME people are responsible some of the time. How can we trust that this person isn't going to pollute the water table and make it toxic for everyone? Are we supposed to put his individual needs/wishes above the welfare of the rest of the community?

We don't live in fantasy land where you can just live like a wildman, traipsing through the woods eating bugs and sleeping in trees. It doesn't work like that anymore.

Even the bums living in the woods around my area cause all kinds of ecological nightmares with their litter and pollution. It's a headache for the city. A lot of these people WANT to live like this, which is "off grid". They want to sleep in the woods away from society and do their own thing. The problem? They're causing damage to the environment -- the very thing they want to live in.
edit on 16-6-2015 by MystikMushroom because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 16 2015 @ 12:39 PM
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Unfortunately it is kind of like that but what is that quote about trading liberty for security thus deserving neither again???


a reply to: MystikMushroom


Maybe some sort of off-grid living permit where you pay a one time yearly fee and agree to quarterly site inspections. I don't know but forcing someone to buy water from you basically is kind of bunk.

edit on CDTTue, 16 Jun 2015 12:48:31 -0500pmppAmerica/Chicago16-05:00Tue, 16 Jun 2015 12:48:31 -050048 by TrappedPrincess because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 16 2015 @ 12:41 PM
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originally posted by: MystikMushroom
a reply to: TrappedPrincess


We don't live in fantasy land where you can just live like a wildman, traipsing through the woods eating bugs and sleeping in trees. It doesn't work like that anymore.




No intention of living that way whatsoever by the way.



posted on Jun, 16 2015 @ 12:42 PM
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a reply to: boohoo

I'll agree some codes are good to follow but if it's her property and she keeps everything in check and updated physically then no codes should have to be adhered to at a city government level. So long as she's not a danger to herself or others.

edit on 10-04-08 by Beach Bum because: spelling



posted on Jun, 16 2015 @ 12:45 PM
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Stop freaking out, people throw away dirty diapers all the time and guess where they end up...at the dump so no harm no foul if you bring some bags of poo to the dump. Hell you can even use it for fertilizer if your adventurous enough for that. I'm sure their are some steps you have to take with that route but it can be done.

a reply to: boohoo



posted on Jun, 16 2015 @ 12:47 PM
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Corvus, trappedPrincess & Swampbuck,
Here are some links on earthship-living in New Mexico.
From what I understand, there are no utility services "allowed" (according to the Earthship Homeowners Assoc., not a real thing just what I equate it too, and the land use zoning of the area).

earthship.com...

Here's a couple for sale $188k & $133k
Check out the pics! It's like Tatooine (Star Wars planet for the uninitiated).
www.taosearthships.com...

Will edit with more links poste haste!

earthship.com...
Has links to the "utilities". Electric, sewage, water.

a reply to: MichiganSwampBuck

edit on 16-6-2015 by kkrattiger because: (no reason given)

edit on 16-6-2015 by kkrattiger because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 16 2015 @ 12:55 PM
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originally posted by: ISawItFirst
Wow. I feel the fear of independence dripping off this post. Gives me the willies.

Save your 30k and the doom porn. Sketch it up and take it to the planning office. Use large sized paper and be accurate. If it's unacceptable they will tell you why. Fix it and try again. Rinse and repeat. Easy peasy.

They have architects there, and engineers. If you can't draw it up you shouldn't be doing it yourself. IBC is not rocket science, especially when your talking about off grid life styles. Problems ubiquitious since antiquity often have many solutions.

There is usually much more leeway for owners than contractors/architects. No license requirements, ins. , bond etc. If it is something that ends up requiring a wet stamp, they can be had for a couple hundo.

It is much easier for them to refuse a contractor.

I don't know how it is everywhere, but I live in one of the most regulated areas of the US building code wise. Lots of AHJs have their own interpretations of many aspects of IBC.

Many of the inspectors I've dealt with would probably love too see some off grid type inspections, and would probably be a great help to the owners.

Still, as long as you are in their process and trying to comply, you can pretty much do what you want as an owner. There are processes for getting a "code variance" for when it is not technically, financially, or otherwise feasible to comply, or at times to formalize a grandfathered aspect of a land improvement. Permit expirations can be repeatedly extended, you could be holding off inspections for years for a few bucks. I've seen hotels claiming broke for years, when requiring hydrotests of their dry pipe systems. That is much more serious than a residential permit issue, handled by the same office.

Everything is based on cost too. If your doing everything yourself, you can assign whatever cost you deem appropriate. Be prepared to briefly explain to the planning receptions why you think your 2 bedroom cottage project is only going to cost whatever your local minimum cost covered under the 25-150 initial permit cost is. Usually around 20k. Even if it is more than 20k, it's usually 5-25$ per additional 1k in cost. Many localities will reissue the first one at no charge if it gets hung up along the way, and additional renewals are usually the same cost as the initial.

It's a simple bureaucracy, and often staffed by friendly folks. It's not the DMV.

Go in, take a number, go up to the lady and say, I have this land at X, and I'd really like to do Y. What do I need to bring you?. What are the minimum requirements.

It's really basic stuff. It's not good case for civil disobedience.


So you are advocating people interested in "off the grid" construction, which pushes the LIMITS of existing building codes, start acting as "Owner Builder" because its "no big deal"?

Owner Builder: Saving Money Or Taking A Risk?

It most certainly is akin to the DMV in most jurisdictions that are outside of "Mayberry". The reality is that "Owner Builder" stuff is going to be DEAD and GONE in a decade. Government WANTS people to use contractors and licensed professionals to complete the work and are passing codes, as we speak, to limit what can be permitted under "owner-builder" situations.

Great you got lucky and/or live in a area with reasonable plan checkers. Guess what? They can change their minds anytime they want, about what they permitted for you and since you were acting as "Owner Builder" they can do WHATEVER they like to you, UNTIL you are forced to hire someone with a license to represent your interests.

city staff member discovered the mistake on a lot at 413 Grapevine Court and issued a stop work order

A stop-work order was issued on the home at 1680 Dolphin Court on April 7, leaving the foundation, cement walls, light wood framing and the start of the second-floor — the framing for the first-floor ceiling

City of Atlanta’s Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) found that the drive-in did not meet the requirements of the ordnance and ordered the city to revoke its building permit.
edit on 16-6-2015 by boohoo because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 16 2015 @ 01:03 PM
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a reply to: boohoo

Owner-builder will NOT be "gone in 10 years". Do a cursory Internet search of "building your own home" or "building my small house" or ANYTHING similar to those phrases.
This is a life goal of mine and I have folders of bookmarks and pictures saved from the Internet, on this topic.

It is NOT an insurmountable obstacle, this "governmental tyranny". Who doesn't know a contractor? An electrician & plumber? All that's needed is for them to sign off on your plans, if youv'e proved you're serious and capable. They'll assist you if you require more "help". Inspectors do a site visit and the stamp it as "OK". Off-grid does not mean "built it from the ground up completely by myself and used nary a whit of competent professional advice."

No one is going to refuse you your reasonable, well-thought-out plans for an alternative type of dwelling. Unless you go in with a huge chip on your shoulder and no studying up on building using these methods.

If you think it's tyrannical to protect the people who will ever step foot inside a building or home, then you're off-base. It's a good principle, requiring that walls be able to support the weight of the roof, that the envelope doesn't allow toxic gases to accumulate, that one doesn't get electrocuted when plugging in an outdoor extension cord.
edit on 16-6-2015 by kkrattiger because: (no reason given)


*Note: of course there's restrictive zoning in cities and developer-owned subdivisions, etc. I am talking about land in areas not zoned in a way which precludes building one's own home. If one buys a parcel just east of Main Street, next to a pizza joint across from a school, intending to tear down the fixer upper to live off grid, then you may feel slighted by the tyrannical pile of tickets for codes violations that will shut down your "plan".
edit on 16-6-2015 by kkrattiger because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 16 2015 @ 01:15 PM
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originally posted by: kkrattiger
Owner-builder will NOT be "gone in 10 years". Do a cursory Internet search of "building your own home" or "building my small house" or ANYTHING similar to those phrases.
This is a life goal of mine and I have folders of bookmarks and pictures saved from the Internet, on this topic.


"Owner-Builder" AS YOU KNOW IT, will certainly be gone in a decade and its removal will be accomplished through incremental code changes that will make "Owner Builder" situations highly difficult for the average joe to navigate without a licensed professional in tow. Some of the ways they are accomplishing this today, is requiring a licensed contractor, bond and liability insurance on second mortgages and construction loans, which also includes finance companies not approving STAMPED drawings for NON-TRADITIONAL DESIGNS & STRUCTURES. With all this in mind, permits will not be far behind.

The examples that you described are NOT typical for "off the grid" builders. ALSO, your examples do not even remotely resemble the OP's story of that lady in the article, which is the basis for MY ENTIRE argument.
edit on 16-6-2015 by boohoo because: (no reason given)



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