Hi all! It's been a while since I've been to the BYC and I'm liking the new site redesign!
My thoughts today are centered on buying land, and there have been questions rattling around in my head for quite a long time, mostly about land zoning and also land costs. The thing that has been puzzling me is an event I remember from a trip I took during my teenage years to Greece, where my uncle, who lived in a tiny condo in a big city, took me to see a small parcel of land he owned for his gardening. It was just outside the city - not a far drive at all. Close enough to visit a few times a week after work and not feel burdened by the commute. The lot was small, probably a quarter acre to a half acre and he had made it into sort of a food forest, with fruit and olive trees and I don't remember what else.
I've been wanting to expand my gardening horizons for a long time. But I live in Portland and I like my urban lifestyle. I'd love to have a plot of land that I could easily drive to, but when I look at vacant lot listings close-in, they are all zoned residential and I don't know if it's legal to use them for a garden. They are also expensive.
If I look further out, land is more affordable, but then it comes with all kinds of other details. Like, if I can find something vacant, that's not residential zoned, there's always some big warning label, like "BUYER TO DO OWN DILIGENCE," "contact county courthouse for land use," "not a buildable lot," "no utilities!" or something of that nature. I really don't want it to be this complicated to get a bigger garden and to maybe put a shed or a camping cabin on there. Even a cob house. I don't want to run afoul of any regulations, but honestly just finding out what the regulations are seems to be a bit outside my skill set. I have no idea where to look.
If I had my wish, I'd get a quarter acre on Sauvie Island, which is just a 15 minute drive from my house. It would cost less than $20,000 (is $80,000 an acre around here really too inexpensive to hope for???), and I'd be able to put in a well or build a greenhouse if I wanted. Obviously, anyone from here who knows about this would be helpful, but I'm also interested in what people around the nation have to say. Is it ever possible to just buy an empty lot anywhere you want and use it for your personal garden? If so, can you put goats or chickens or rabbits on it? Does anyone have any stories of doing this that they'd like to share? I'm all ears!
I should also ask: where do you guys search for land? I go to Landwatch and Craigslist and a local realtor's website. But each has drawbacks and I just can't find what I'm looking for.
Edited by Xtina - 4/10/12 at 9:48pm