Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Now I know why

there are so few small farms in Florida. The state makes it impossible for anyone of moderate income to build a house without first taking out a mortgage and leveraging your soul.

On the phone yesterday talking with a man that has a Ph.D. in architecture, I was informed that a 36' square, dirt floor barn for livestock would cost roughly eight grand for the plans. The ones we bought from Stable Wise are now useless because they have no Florida licenced stamp of approval. That no one that has a licence would risk authorizing use of these plans (which are CAD drawn and up to codes of just about every state) without completely redrawing them and assessing a hefty fee.

The past week, after getting our letter from the mortgage company, I've been optimistic that we have a place to go, that with a little work we'll be okay. We'd be on our land, how could things be bad then? We've been uplifted by the support of strangers. We started stingily doling out the little resources we've been blessed with by buying things to make the shabin habitible.

Before buying the land we did our due dilligence and found out what it would take to get a house built. The packet from the building department seemed pretty straight forward. The papers from the sale were cut and dry. The building department never hinted that anything they told us to do would be tens of thousands to accomplish just to get a hundred dollar permit. We didn't delve into the real meat of building a house. We never imagined that Florida's new laws would make building the small home and livestock barns utterly impossible.

So, where do we go now? What do we do? We're looking into mobile homes, looking at amassing a debt we didn't want. Then even contemplating leaving the state, selling the land and heading to areas where laws are less restrictive. We wanted security with buying land, a place to weather out the stormy economy, a place to leave our children when we die but lawmakers and beurocrats have decided that unless we have hundreds of thousands of dollars at our disposal, we're not entitled to have that security. The hurricanes a few years ago have left the state in ruin. No one wants to accept responsibility for buildings and those that will step up to the plate (mainly architects) are going to want a lot of money upfront for "putting their necks on the chopping block" when disaster strikes. The insurance companies want a scapegoat and have somehow goaded the lawmakers into making that happen.

According to the architect I spoke with, there are no "stock plans" to purchase, that each home needs to be evaluated, the soil tested for stability, wind loads calculated by the new standards. Even without a mortgage or insuring the house, or ever intending to sell it the state won't allow for anything to be built without these restrictions.

So, today I will research more, scour the Earth for a solution. A mobile home on the land might be a possibility, I have some calls out to different places to see what will be.


  1. What an awful roadblock! Don't give up, you will find a way to fulfill your dreams...even if, like you said, you move to another state (may I suggest Missouri...like...somewhere near me?)

  2. We were seriously looking in Missouri LOL All we need is a home with land and a job and we're good to go.

  3. I hear many lovely things about people moving to Missouri. I am so sad for your obstacle, but I am confident you will find a way to succeed. Have you thought about those pre-made barns? They may be more expensive, but I think they're built to code already.