Across the U.S. local zoning officials are making it increasingly difficult for people to go off-grid and live self-sustainable lives. Building tiny homes, harvesting rainwater, using solar or wind energy, and even building community gardens are being targeted and in some cases, the people involved are even threatened with jail time and fines.
Tiny Homes are structures 500 square feet or less and are one way for people to break free of mortgages, taxes, utility bills, and the general entrapment of having more than is necessary. They’re especially attractive to Millennials and retirees, or those seeking to live off-grid. In Maryland, tiny-house legality will likely be handled at the local level as a zoning or building code issue where placement on a property is determined by local zoning and land use regulations.
A priority for many tiny home owners alongside being self-sustainable, is reducing their carbon footprint and many are opting to use the elements for their energy from solar and wind, collecting rainwater, and reusing gray-water. And in many areas those who put their tiny home on a piece of land away from big cities with the intention or living off grid and self sustainably, are considered outlaws by the state because they are refusing to hook up to the utility grid. Tiny homes everywhere are being targeted by unjust laws to keep people tangled in debt.
The issue of developers and homeowner associations banning homeowners from installing solar panels is widespread across the nation, but is especially relating directly and significantly to Texas, California and Florida, since homeowners in those states are overwhelmingly governed by property owners’ associations. Homeowners have lost lawsuits and have been forced to remove solar units they installed because they conflicted with an HOA’s binding legal obligations written into the deed of a property by the seller. These covenants can penalize buyers by fining those who fail to obey them. In January, Nevada practically killed its solar industry, causing solar providers to leave the state by increasing their tax on solar customers by 40 percent!
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Collecting Rain Water
Harvested rainwater is storm water that is conveyed from a building roof, stored in a cistern, and disinfected and filtered before being used for toilet flushing. It can also be used for landscape irrigation. In some places it is illegal to even collect rainwater, threatening those who do with jail time and fines, but often you have to jump through a bunch of hoops, such as registering with the division of water rights or some states that put a limit on how much water you are allowed to collect on your property at time.
Community gardens are also labeled a threat of the food industry because of the freedom it provides for low income and impoverished people. One example of a garden being shut down is the South Central Farm that was a community garden located at East 41st and South Alameda Streets and the garden was the largest community garden in the United States. The city allowed the farm the be created but sold the property to Ralph Horowitz in a secret deal out from under the citizens, and the new owner attempted to evict the farmers even though the farmers were able to raise the money to buy the land themselves.The selling of the land was corrupted, as it involved many backroom deals but it still ultimately lead to the demise of the peaceful garden. There were many protests and acts of civil disobedience for several years before the farm was finally bulldozed in 2006. There have also been many cases from around the country where the city or HOA’s shut down peaceful community gardens and even regular front yard gardens.
Building On Your Own Land
Many landowners are also being targeted just for building structures on their own land without having adequate permits. Even people who are building their homes well within codes are being forced to tear down the structures they have spent so much time and money creating. Activist Adam Kokesh, outright bought a piece of land in Arizona, started building and making improvements to it and not soon after he was harassed by David Williams, an employee of the county government. David Williams believed a written document from 1910 obligated Adam to comply with David. After Adam had his lawyer contact David and David was unable to provide any evidence that the code applied to Adam, David only escalated the situation by offering Adam a false choice, either an admin hearing or a criminal prosecution. This is still an ongoing issue for Kokesh as he has elected to not make the regular updates he was making about progress on the land. Which not only affects him as a paid content creator, but also those he was inspiring and helping learn from his venture.
Though people continue to struggle for the freedom to use their land and structures as they see fit, this self-sustainable movements only continue to grow. More people are choosing to live a more environmentally friendly life and will continue to build a life free from corporate choke-holds. Time will only tell if the state will continue to attempt inhibit the growth or encourage self-sustainable lifestyles but for now their choice is clear.
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One reason Solar Power is being restricted is due to the Utilities losing too much money due to a lot of people installing them. In California (PG&E) raised because we use less electricity than we did last year. I have thought the way to solar energy is to install Twenty 12 volt batteries and charge them during the night when rates are lowest (on line with PG&E) and power the house during the day with the batteries. Then install solar panels to charge the batteries and disconnect from the Utility after saving the money from low bills. The object would… Read more »
In Australia they have solved that problem by making it compulsory for all excess power that is generated by home owners must be redirected to the grid at a very low rate. The more people who go solar, the more profit there is for the power providers. My guess is that when the number of people who connect to solar tips over to the majority, the State will just impose a compulsory tariff on all power. That’s how they usually do things here…user always pays, then pays some more even when they already own it.
I believe in off grid living and i create homes to be pacifically for eco selfsubstaing life Goverment can go screw its self this is Gods lands God made rain if i wanba keep free rain water and keep it in a bucket i own on a property i owen it makes it mine. They can they can kiss my butt they work for we the people we own the Government they dont own us if crap here keeps getting this bad i am moving to Finland or OTHER THEY HONESTLY HAVE MORE FREEDOM TO LIVE OFF GRID IN FACT… Read more »
Specifically….dear (not deer-the animal) 🙂
Kev, I think you mean….
Specifically dear… not deer (as in the animal)
Who are you calling dear/deer?
The only problem is back in the 30’s the government decided it owned all land and made it law. So, now, only the government owns land and has the right to tell anyone what they can do on it.
They go through the pretense that you are buying it but like the Certificate of title for your car the real title is held by the government. I know your knee jerk response will be, “Bullshit!!”, but if you look in the right places or search in the right places you will find the truth.
Imminent domain alive and well, I thank God I live in Tennessee. They think we’re all hillbillies and don’t bother us.
Living off the grid is hard work, even after you do tons of research, find land that allows your tiny house and solar… what everyone who lives off grid needs is more power, living space and home therapy like a sauna. That is where we come in, we design, build and install Solar Powered Sauna with Changing Room – 100% off the grid capable and can power the home as well!
For 100% off grid solar and solar-saunas, check out http://www.Solar-Sauna.com
I don’t know why the article indicates that Texas is “overwhelmingly” under the thumb of HOA’s. The big dollar gated communities in some locations may be, but most neighborhoods are not. If asked, I tell people NOT to even look at places with HOAs. A bunch of tin-horn petty dictators. If you like living under a dictatorship, Cuba still has low-cost housing.
I live in one of those and it is ridiculous. Between the management company and the board of our association you can speak but they do what they want anyway. Looking to get out.
HOA’s are a mixed blessing. Without them you can buy a home and then learn your next door neighbor has three generations living in a 3 bedroom house, the guy across the street likes to race funny cars and he tunes his 800 HP engine at 11:00PM, and your other neighbor has had his vintage 55 Chevy truck on blocks in his front yard waiting for parts.
Sounds like heaven (er….freedom) to me! Who knows….you yourself may do something that drives your neighbors crazy…….but in an (allegedly) free nation, that is part of life! What baffles me is why you get to choose what everyone else gets to do with their own property?!
Another good reason not to live in some of the western states. I live in the South in a 7200 sq ft. Home 6 bedroom 7.5 bath, and I live alone now, but I generate my own electricity and have a gas well on the property. This is my 3rd off grid home in 22+ years. Started working to go off grid in 1977 after living in Guatemala for 2 years as a missionary.
Wow! That is wonderful! !! I wish I could do it but at my age and living alone I don’t think it is possible now. It has always been my dream though! You are definitely blessed!
7200 square feet for one person seems a bit much, really. Wasteful even. Of course that is much of the problem with America, we all want more more more bigger faster more and this why 5% of the population consumes 50 percent of the planet’s resources. But hey, plunder on my friend! Who cares about what happens beyond your fence, right?
Pretty judgementle for someone without all the facts.
Maybe you missed her point- she’s off grid and not wasting resources
You named it : Money.
Somehow, I think there is more to these stories than is being printed here.This article makes oit sound as if you a limited on where to build and how. Where I live the laws are not as strict unless it’s environmentally. We do not have minimum square footage but we do have a maximum size you can build. And HOAs? They make rules to attract certain demographic. If you don’t like the rules then do not buy there.
We get the government we deserve. How many “sustainable” folk have voted for politicos who promise cradle to grave care at all levels of government? You can’t kill the beast you spawned but it will kill you in deed and spirit. Elections used to count before civil servant became our masters.
Bingo! You win the prize!
We get the government we deserve. How many sustainable people voted for government at all levels that promise cradle-to-grave care? It is now impossible to kill the Beast the spawn of all this. The civil servant has become the master. Welcome to A Brave New World.
Not having a sauna was the only thing stopping me from getting off the grid. Now I finally can. I’m so grateful!
Haha good one
Believe this to be overly alarmist. As with any endeavor,proper research is necessary. A few ideas from personal experience: Don’t buy land which has deed restrictions, covenants or is in any way connected to a HOA.Stay outside city limits including their ETJ’s. Real estate transactions need to be written. Just because Uncle Joe says it’s okay to use that little bit of land out back is not enough. Get it in writing. If you build on or improve another’s property, without a written agreement, they own it. A fate which apparently fell to the community garden mentioned in the article.… Read more »
The problem with tiny houses is they rarely meet building code. Ever notice how many are built on trailers? That’s because the Building code does not apply to vehicles. Also no more tax based on the value of your home. You just pay for a license tag every year. The only hurdle is having a place to “park” it. Zoning rules in many places don’t allow for mobile homes.
Kev re: your comment to Clarice
Specifically dear… (Not deer – which is an animal)
[…] What about means of collecting water on your own, for your own household, as an alternative to paying your local government fees for having it provided for you? Such as collecting rain water for instance? Well, according to one report: […]
No one is being targeted. This a result of people neglecting to do thier research with planning, zoning and building code compliance before they develope a plan. You can apply for a variance under many conditions.
[…] https://thehomestead.guru/self-sustainable-lifestyles-illegal/ […]
So, how do the Amish do it since they as a principal live off the grid not connecting to the electrical grid?
I hope the people here who are obviously evolved enough to believe in science and being self sustaining will understand my comment here. Our entire system has been hijacked by greed. Theres only one thing ruling our laws and “representatives” corporations; people who own them and their “keep them divided” philosophy while we pillage the land and enslave the people. Privatized schools, wars, jails, social programs, insurance, etc. While we allow money in politics and support a two political party system the rest is just pacification to keep their money flowing. Goldman Sax had a letter outed that says the… Read more »
Thank you K. Clark, you are spot on point. We all need to vote. We all need to contact our Reps.& Senators.
[…] Source: https://thehomestead.guru/self-sustainable-lifestyles-illegal/ […]
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Whatever happened to “FREEDOM” ?
[…] action. More people are choosing to live a more environmentally friendly life and will continue to build a life free from corporate choke-holds. Time will only tell if the state will continuously attempt to inhibit the growth or encourage […]
Thank you for this! i am going to do a video based off this article. I am doing everything I can to change this!
yeah this whole thing is baffling how is it we believe we are buying a piece of land and we have ownership of it when in actuality we don’t own shit. If Id have known the whole thing was a big lie I never would have “bought” (my ass) this house. I would denounce my citizenship and move to another country if I could afford the amount of money it takes to expatriate. this country is heading on the fast track to destruction anyway. Id rather not be here when all the enemies converge on here because of our sinful,… Read more »
Self sustainability is not a crime! come on people, educate yourselves!