One of our readers sent this the other day.
“We owned 70 acres in Lake County CO, surrounded by national forest with the exception of one small strip privately owned. The only access was a seasonal forest service road. Once the snow fell, the only way to get up there was snowmobile, snowshoeing, ultimately a snowcat. It was a very isolated chunk of land. After living up there in a 100 sq. ft cabin with loft for about a year, we came into a small inheritance and decided to build on. The window of warm weather at 11,000 + feet is about 4 months so we made the decision to build without getting proper permits, etc. telling ourselves it would be easier to get forgiveness than permission.
The additional structure was still rather small, 16 x 30 feet with loft space.
Amazingly, with the help of a couple friends, we finished, at least got it dried in, that summer. We lived up there through the next winter, working on the interior.
Long story short, someone turned us in. I don’t even want to elaborate on that part of our lives, but in spite of all our efforts, the county would not approve the structure, and 2 years after completing our dream home, we were forced to tear it down. We left Lake County and never looked back. I only write about it now because I want you to think real hard before you act. It is insane on so many levels that they denied us, but we had challenged their authority, and apparently nothing else mattered.
We are now searching for land on which to build an earthbag house, and intend to find a place where a landowner has the right to build as they choose. It probably will not be in Colorado. Water is, of course, the other issue here. At any rate, good luck in whatever you ultimately decide to do.
And, I want to add, my husband is a licensed general contractor, who made a careful point to build everything to code, so as not to give anyone a reason to turn us down…”