We’ve been working towards the goal of moving to our new homestead for over five years now. But though we were laying soft plans for that long, we really got serious a couple of years ago. There were lots of reasons, but the straw that broke the camel’s back is an interesting (and infuriating) story.
I got home one night from my father’s property and found a piece of paper stuck in my door. I at first thought it was some kind of advertisement. But it wasn’t. It was a letter from our local code enforcement officer. No, it wasn’t a thank you note. Or an invitation to a birthday party. Or a solicitation to the code enforcement officers’ ball. No; nothing so benign. What the note said was that I had failed to get a building permit and a zoning variance for the tiny little play house my father had built for my kids, and an additional building permit for the repairs I had done to the porch of my shop.
To put this in context, the playhouse was about seven feet by six feet. It wasn’t connected to the ground. It is not connected to electricity, or water, or sewer. It was essentially a well built wooden box with a tin roof. And for this, I was supposed to get a building permit. And a ZONING VARIANCE?!? Seriously!?!
I forget how much these permits and variance were going to cost me, but I do recall it was hundreds of dollars, and in my opinion it was the height of stupidity.
Well, in the midst of my angst, I tore the letter up and threw it over the hill. As one would. Now, before anyone gets all twisted, it was my hill, and the letter was, I’m sure, biodegradable. When I calmed down I figured I’d just deal with it when the enforcement officer got back to me. Well, they never got back to me. It’s now more than two years later. So, not only are they over-reaching and controlling, but they’re also incompetent. I wasn’t sure whether to be relieved, or to be ticked. After all, it’s my (stolen) money paying their salaries.
So that was the end of the road for us. We started making plans that night. We decided we needed to get out of the suburbs and get out to where people had a little less bureaucracy in their blood, and maybe a little more common sense. Or, failing that, at least we could have enough land to afford some privacy and to give a little less visibility to those without a need for it.