City vs Rural & Infrastructure
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 2021 07:44:51 -0700 (PDT)
> On Apr 18, 2021, at 10:23 AM, Ty Albright via 
> < [at]> wrote:
> Rod is correct ….. also you need to consider the cost of site preparation …. 
> Access to utilities, sewer – municipality required roads / drives for fire 
> equipment etc.

For this reason paying more for city or suburban areas pays off in the end. You 
have the utilities available, particularly if you are clearing  lot that has a 
dilapidated structure or a structure that you can use for a common house. The 
utilities will be there from the road, not a few blocks away or not at all.

Living in smaller spaces is one thing but living without electricity and water 
and sewer is some thing else. Many people prefer to live that way—off grid — 
but that can be done now. The learning is learning how to live off grid. See 
Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage:

And the Fellowship for Intentional Communities for a directory:

> These low cost solutions are all great …. But there are lots of low cost 
> solutions – proven solutions ….. you still need to deal with municipality 
> requirements ….  the cost of a drive that can accommodate a fire truck can 
> exceed the cost of a home ….

As you say this seems to be the real problem. All the developers, like you, say 
that it’s zoning. “Oh, right. Where can you build it." What will they let you 
build? Their are progressive zoning codes. One planned community got approval 
for building houses at the juncture of 4 parcels of land zoned for single 
family houses. The overall density met zoning requirements and they had open 
land around the community. They also got approval for hay bale construction. 
Hay bale houses have the appeal of composting toilets — you have to be 
committed to that level of sustainable housing.

And that is such a local problem that I wonder what can be done to pull 
together all the people who want to own their own homes and need a low cost 
solution. We need a group to focus on building a low cost community so we can 
all share in supporting them and learning from their success and failures. The 
group was in Utah didn’t get built — a not infrequent story — but they did get 

The guide to building codes by state:

National Association of Home Builders for news, issues, and advocacy

Rockwool — Clear explanation of codes and standards — what, why, and best 

Sharon Villines
affordablecohousing [at]
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