A lot of young people who visit our half-acre compound are inspired by what we’ve got going here: handmade home, garden, chickens, workshop, office/work studio. How can they get something like this going, they want to know.
Well, it was sure easier 40 years ago. Our land was $6,500, building permit $200; I drew up my own plans, was my own architect and engineer; building and health department officials were reasonable; there was no Coastal Commission…
Since then, the bureaucrats have weighted things heavily in their own favor (bureaucrats beget ever more bureaucracy) and building permits in Marin County (Calif.) are something like $50,000 (more than my entire house cost). Building and health departments do not get their funding from the county, but from fees paid by homeowners (or builders), so guess what? Fees are ever higher, now to the point of absurdity. Regulations also have grown to have their absurdities (having to install sprinklers in single-family homes is one such absurd requirement). And to the point of it being just about impossible for an owner-builder without a trust fund to build around here now.
So I tell young people, if they’re looking for land to build upon, they have to get a couple of hours away from any of our great cities.
I’ll post a few ideas of what I might do now were I starting nowadays. It’s a challenge!