Best Places to Live with Minimal Building Codes: Iowa

Email from a reader: “Within city limits there’s some zoning but in the country there’s nothing except getting well and septic approved. Plus, we’re 35 minutes to downtown Iowa City (birthplace of the Tiny Home movement) and 30 minutes to Grinnell, Iowa, home of Grinnell college. We feel like we hit the jackpot as far as building sites.

The downside is land in Iowa is very expensive compared to Missouri, for example. We’re paying $6,500/acre for 12 acres and we’re being told we got a good deal. It’s worth it to me though to not have zoning and be close to family. When doing research I was told that Benton County, Iowa also has minimal zoning, but I haven’t researched it at all. I have called Iowa County directly to make absolutely sure what I was buying and confirmed multiple times there’s no zoning. Here’s the link to their website:

Thanks once again for all your advice and resources. My guess is you have helped thousands and thousands of people that you don’t even know about. I’ve been following your site for years and am excited to finally put all your great information to use!”

From Wiki:
“As of the 2010 census, the population of Iowa County was 16,355. The county seat is Marengo.

The Amana colonies in Iowa County, a major tourist attraction known mainly for its restaurants and craft shops, are listed as a National Historic Landmark.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 587 square miles (1,520 km2). The county is intersected by the Iowa River and the north fork of the English River.”

2 thoughts on “Best Places to Live with Minimal Building Codes: Iowa”

  1. Update: It turns out that land is difficult to find in Iowa County. Iowa has some of the most fertile soil in the US and so it would be a great place for homesteading. If Iowa County doesn’t work out, this reader suggests looking for other counties such as Benton. He just wrote and said Clinton county, Iowa doesn’t have building codes either.


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