I’ve been planning a series of articles on the best places to live in North America that have few or no building codes — places that are ideal for homesteaders to build their sustainable home out of natural materials. I’m asking readers to send us their recommendations. Today’s article is the first installment of the series.
Building codes are a huge concern because they unnecessarily raise the cost of construction about ten-fold. That means a simple cabin made of locally available natural materials that could be built for $10,000 could end up costing $100,000 in areas with lots of building codes. The difference in cost goes to enrich building suppliers, big corporations and bloated government. Take your choice. I say no way. Move to an area with minimal building codes and taste true freedom. See: Counties with Few or No Building Codes
Today’s story is from Charlotte who writes to say, “Take a look at Idaho County (8,500 square miles), Idaho which is not far from Montana. No building codes, just septic and electric permits needed. I live 20 minutes from the nearest town. Bare land is about $10,000/acre. And it’s only cold in the winter. :) Plus, we have four seasons.”
From Wiki: As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 16,267 people, 6,834 households, and 4,536 families residing in the county. The population density was 1.9 inhabitants per square mile (0.73/km2). The county seat is Grangeville.
There are 4,431,720 acres (17,934.535 km², or 6,924.563 sq mi) of National Forest land within the county, more than in any county (or borough) outside of Alaska. National Forests and their acreage within the county are: Nez Perce National Forest 2,224,091; Clearwater National Forest 870,807; Payette National Forest 804,853; Bitterroot National Forest 464,108; Salmon National Forest 66,074; and Wallowa National Forest 1,787. The Nez Perce National Forest is located entirely within the county’s borders, and is the largest National Forest lying within a single county.
The median income for a household in the county was $34,536 and the median income for a family was $39,263.
Cities: Cottonwood, Elk City, Ferdinand, Grangeville, Kooskia, Riggins, Stites, White Bird
Official Idaho County website
Image source: Black Swan Development (you can search their property listings by city)
14 thoughts on “Best Places to Live with Minimal Building Codes: Idaho County”
With all due respect, although I appreciate the safety sentiment,it really shouldn’t be the government’s responsibility to to dictate safety issues. If any regulations be allowed, then it should be on a case by case basis. In other words, if I reasonably believe that I can build a safe livable housing structure for myself and family, then I would not require the government’s intrusive building codes and regulations. families have survived for centuries without government intervention. It’s really about control and fleecing the public without their permission. On the other hand there are those who may not be knowledgeable enough to build a reasonably well structured living space and welcome the help with planning and other resource draining regulations. I understand the need for humans to be educated especially when it comes to dealing with water and proper sewage disposal methods, but I don’t think it should be the responsibility of government to intervene unless absolutely necessary, and even then it should be an informative effort as opposed to a fine and or penalties situation !
Some remote rural counties make it real easy – one stop permitting with a little building handout and one for the septic. Often times you have to hire this part out. This covers a few basics such as protecting the water table without being costly or obtrusive.
Two aspects of my home design are solar power and a dry-composting toilet. Will I still need inspections/permits for these items?
Ask your local building officials and/or check their website because codes vary from place to place.
I have land in Lewis County, TN where we plan to build an intentional community featuring earthbag construction. Lewis County has no building codes or permits, only septic and electric. It is located 10 minutes from a small town and 40 minutes from a major city.
Can you recommend this as a very good place for others to live? Are you recommending Lewis County for one of my Best Places to Live articles? Lewis County and the one recommended the other day are both very small. Is there enough suitable land available for more people to live?
Lewis County, TN is a conditional recommendation, depending on what a person’s priorities are but the lack of zoning, codes and permits are a definite benefit. The area has a comparatively mild climate, reasonable access to amenities and a more liberal population than most of the south. It is lumber country and land is plentiful, ranging from around $2,000-$4,000/acre.
Rockcastle County, KY $1,000 an acre, no building codes or permits ! http://www.thePOOSH.org, come visit!
That’s a very good price on land. Please tell me a little more. Are you enthusiastically recommending this place? Any major drawbacks?
You usually get more land for the your money if you purchase more acres. At this time I cannot afford 80 acres but you can get 80 for $80,000 in Colorado.
You can also find between 1 and 10 acres for prices that range from $4000 on up but you will be living on poor soil and lot’s of sagebrush (unless you are near a water source.) It’s out there if you know where to look.
I use Landwatch.com
Landwatch has a good search engine. Kristie Wolfe in today’s blog post recommends zillow and craigslist. She said there’s tons of land available. But it takes time to find good land that’s just right for you.
$10,000 an acre seems like an awful lot. Is that correct?
while no codes are something many homesteaders look for, 10k per acre is not.
to say that codes are to fatten wallets of the building suppliers, et el, I would like to add that code were initially developed for public safety due to improper building practices at the time which resulted in many injuries and deaths, worldwide, with the problem continuing today.
Yes, we’ve addressed this many times on our blog. I’m not totally against building codes. Simple basic building guidelines can be helpful. This how the codes originally started out. One of our earlier blog posts shows the 50 page code book from 50 years ago or so.