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Cat Hargreaves

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since Mar 28, 2019
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Recent posts by Cat Hargreaves

Oh boy, guys...I need help.

We did it: we got jobs, moved our family, have a grip of cash and pre-approval from a bank and we are officially looking for land. Thing is...I'm fucking terrified and need some insight from folks with more knowledge!!!

I've been obsessively poring over the market for the past 3 years. To the point where I was telling my realtor about properties she printed out for me to look at: "Oh that one has a moratorium from logging", "That one said it perc'ed for alternative soils", "That one is near Johnny's Corner Market", "That one offers seller financing".... for real. She was shuffling through the public notes and was like, "oh yeah, you're right..."

Like everyone who wants to grow shit, it would be nice to have an acre or two that's pretty level and able to be cleared with decent soil. Trouble is, well...I don't really know what 'decent soil' means! I know I want it to absorb water )ie "not clay") but other than that I have no darn clue.

We've walked dozens of properties. Thing is, when I'm looking at a thicket of totally undeveloped land it's really hard for me to envision anything...sure, some places are more open/easier to clear than others, some may be closer or further away from town...but I actually don't know what I should be looking for when I walk a property.

Walking around doesn't tell me how deep the well needs to be, where the septic can go, where the wetlands are. And that's the stuff I care about: is it flat? Can I clear it with machinery I operate myself? Are there at least 3 completely useable acres for livestock and gardening? How deep are the wells in the area? Will I likely be granted a permit for a well here? How many bedrooms does it perc' for? How wet is it?

Should I just be asking my realtor to help me find this information rather than wasting her time driving around looking at thickets of blackberry bushes all over the island? I can drive to them myself, I just need to know the details about it that are gonna cost me $50k or save me $50k in development.

Are there other things I should be thinking about?
8 months ago
You're in my region! I am looking for land currently. Can you share any experiences you had in that endeavor? I'm working with a realtor but not confident in her abilities to help me find a good property for my purposes.
8 months ago
I am new to the format of these forums so I can't directly quote people but i hope you still see it!

Island county is in Washigton state.

Since we are wanting to build we need to pass inspections to get a certificate of occupancy

Since saving money is the goal, I won't pay for septic install and then NOT use it. I'm happy to use the system but dismayed by the cost.

Island county has stringent regs because the groundwater is being polliged by outdated systems. I understand the need for managing water in such a way that it doesn't damage the ecosystem and poison your neighbors. paradise doesn't stay that way for long if people ruin it.

as far as I know the composting toilets are allowed in public facilities and not private homes. also doesn't solve the problem of dealing with grey water. composting toilets are allowed as a secondary facility but one must be flushable if my.research proves correct.

im realizing septic may be unavoidable. fuck.
11 months ago
We are looking to build in Island County. They have very strict regulations and building off grid is basically not allowed for an actual house. Septic is required and as far as I know, a self-install is not permitted. Septic is so expensive! Would it be cheaper to develop an alternative greywater/blackwater system? And possible to technically pass inspection?
11 months ago
We are transitioning from working in the Middle East and will be in the US by June. We are in the first phases of research to narrow down our search for land so we can focus job-searching efforts to areas most favorable to our goals and priorities. We will probably rent in the area for about a year so we can spend some time in the market and take our time selecting land that best suits our needs.

We have family in the PNW, so we have been searching in Washington, Oregon, Northern California mostly. I've poked around Montana and Idaho resources to see what the regulations are like and what the market is like.

My husband is keen to visit Tennessee this summer, as land is very cheap and it would be a change of pace from where we've grown up. Seems like some areas in TN have more relaxed regulations but it's been hard to find solid information about any of the locations we are researching.
1 year ago
Hi there,

We have family in Langley that we are planning on seeing this summer. We have an RV and 2 kids, and were hoping to find a place to settle on the island. We would be interested in paying a monthly fee if you'd let us park our RV on the land while my husband looks for a job and we visit family. How can we contact you to work out some details?
My husband and I have saved up about $100,00 and have good credit, so we finally feel ready to hunt some land and have a little hobby farm.

The thing is....we have two kids. And I don't want to raise them in a socially isolated environment where they will be bored and without social outlets and activities. We really value education and, while I'm not expecting to send my kids to the "TOP SCHOOL!" (that usually translates as rich and white anyways), I do want my kids to go to a good school with caring teachers and a good community.

My parents have a lovely home on Whidbey Island and we enjoy visiting and going to the many fairs, parades, and community events. Unfortunately, building codes seem to be very strict in this area (Island County). Womp-womp.

Are we just chasing an unattainable fantasy?
1 year ago
I am wondering if someone, ANYONE, anywhere, has had success with their local permitting board and managed to get approval for a self-contained composting toilet system for their PERMANENT RESIDENCE in lieu of a septic system?

I know this is almost impossible in most places that have building codes. How can we change these regulations? Join the local planning board or something? Do some jurisdictions allow people to submit an appeal for their composting system to be approved on a case-by-case basis?

I want to preserve the environment and provide a legal, sanitary, safe system but I don't want to pay $20k or more to flush my damn toilet...seems like septic is potentially more polluting and problematic than some self-contained composting toilets!!! What gives?

My husband and I have tons of cash saved and want to buy land for our family to live on, but aside from living in the middle of nowhere, can't seem to find places that would let us build like this.
1 year ago