Summertime,sdf user atyh SDF

Found at: zaibatsu.circumlunar.space:70/~tfurrows/phlog/2022-07-21_reSummertime.txt

Re: Summertime, sdf user atyh     07/21/22
SDF user atyh recently posted about living on their property in the summer.[1] I absolutely love the 
visual that was painted, as well as the details on the scythe and the bath.

There was one thing that got me a little, and that was the description of their interaction with the 
county where they live in the PNW:

"There are of course the continual struggles with the county in the background, as they are quite 
frustrated that we live so simply, and entirely off grid. My cynisism toward modern government has 
grown significantly in the last two years as I have learned more about how they operate. It is my 
current belief that 20% of what they do is neccesary, and the other 80% is all activity designed to 
perpetuate and grow their bureacracy through extortionary policy making. But Pareto could have told 
us this long ago. Currently, unless we show regular 'progress' toward a conventional house with all 
of the environmental damage which comes with that, they threaten to chase us off our own land. 
Strange that they think this is right. Forcing people off of their own rural land for not living in 
a structure with a concrete foundation."

I lived in the PNW--outside of Portland, OR, in rural Washington County, to be exact--for about 20 
years. My mom still lives there, on 60acres of land that she basically cannot use or divide. She can 
live there, or sell it to the vinyards that are slowly buying the entire countryside.

atyh, the reason the county is "quite frustrated that [you] live so simply, and entirely off grid" 
is directly tied to two things: the way counties collect revenue, and the way local government views 
individual liberty. In Oregon where there is no sales tax, property tax is the sole source of 
revenue. To be fair, Oregon's median property tax rate is fairly average. However, that average tax 
must supply the governments needs and wants--and it is based on land value. Land value changes
dramatically when a structure is permanantly affixed to the real estate.

You can see where this is going: county government wants you to use your land in ways that increase 
the real, taxable value. Off-grid, temporary, and non-standard structures and lifestyles do not 
increase land value.

In my mom's county, they regulate these valueless uses out of existence. What you're doing would be 
practically criminal in her county's eyes. And that is where the government's approach to personal 
liberty comes into the equation. There are places where such regulation will and does get tolerated, 
and places where it just won't happen. And, I'm sad to say, it's politics.

Land use was one of several reasons I left the PNW. I would even say it was one of the biggest 

Most recently, we relocated to Missouri. Had never even been here before we moved. There were a 
number of micro reasons, but no macro ones. And I hadn't even fully considered land use. However, 
upon meeting different people and learning more, I came to understand that Callaway County in
particular has almost zero land use restrictions (on county land; cities have their own rules.) The 
only thing they regulate is waste disposal (you'll need a county approved system, either septic or 
lagoon or some other exception, to build a house.) There are zero inspections apart from that 
(seriously, none. You could build an entire house from foundation to roof, and the county won't 
inspect any aspect of it. This means you have to be very careful when buying a home outside city
limits.) You could literally build your house out of straw bales[2], powered by rain water 
collection and 12v solar, and no one would care. I imagine that if you're not building a 
deed-attached home, you could just live on your land here without any government contact at all*.

Another thing that they get you with in the PNW is occupancy. In my mom's county, the only way to 
get two houses on her 60acres is to get special permission for farm help or an exemption for an aged 
or disabled family member. Contrast that with Callaway County, where you could slap half a dozen 
houses on your land, all sharing the same driveway (I know people with almost that many houses, for 
family members, on one piece of property.) And again, no one will be coming 'round to inspect any of 

My point isn't to claim that Callaway County, Missouri is somehow a Utopia. It isn't (though, it is 
green and beautiful!) Nor am I saying that you ought to sell your land in the PNW and move to 
Missouri. My whole point is to throw a light on land use laws, and how they vary from county to 
county, and state to state. People who are interested in off grid or alternative living should start 
first by understanding land use laws, and understanding that they do vary wildly.

* As long as you have no children. Most governments classify neglect in terms of basic living 
conditions including electricity, running water, etc.

[1] gopher://sdf.org:70/0/users/atyh/phlog/summertime.txt
[2] https://strawbale.com/