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Off grid living Washington state… Advice?

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Off grid living Washington state… Advice?

2 1/2 years ago my ex husband and I purchased 12 acres of land in south county. Shortly after selling our home in Washington State Olympia area. The idea was to live off grid until building a modest 1200 square-foot home the idea ended in divorce he left I stayed. Two weeks after our divorce was finalized and after being here in a 200 square-foot building with him for a year and a half I was issued a letter that I was operating on an illegal septic system and living in an illegal structure. The timing obviously was more than suspicious. I contacted the county and explained that I don’t have a septic system I have a porta potty or SanI can whatever you would like to call it that is serviced once a week by a professional company and I use the gym to shower I pay my taxes and I work for a living. They said at the time that they would leave me alone although they couldn’t condone it just make progress... I told him that it would be at least five years now that I was alone to be able to build my home by myself. I do not have the resources for loans just my income to do everything cash. Today I went to the mailbox and received my tax statement for 2020 demanding payment for the first half in April… My taxes are current at the same time I received a certified letter from the county dropped in my mailbox by the mail person. This is the kind of letter that you have to sign for, and yet I didn’t get the that opportunity. the signature piece was attached to it.. the attempted to deliver attached to it and just thrown in the box. I am at a loss for what to do at a loss for words as Washington state is being overrun by homeless population living on our sidewalks not paying rent pooping on the sidewalk and I as a tax paying citizen owning my own land and being cited for doing everything that my grandparents would’ve done and probably more to make a sustainable life for myself leaving the smallest footprint possible. You would think that this would be praised but instead I have been issued that if I don’t remove myself from my own property within 30 days I will be cited $250 a day as well as having to pay the county to remove my building. I am currently looking for a lawyer someone who can help me someone who might specialize in this kind of issue. And any advice that you all can give.

I should also note that my place is clean I don’t live in a junkyard the building itself is beautiful not a nuisance looking piece of property
 
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This saddens me, I moved here from Penn, only to find Wash is crazy! Your situation is very unfortunate if it is indeed true. I wanted to do what you are doing with a tiny home.

I have no advice other than to have your proofs of paid taxes and deeds to land. Be vigilant!

Could the ex-husband be the problem?
 
OP
Jenn Mackenzie
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This saddens me, I moved here from Penn, only to find Wash is crazy! Your situation is very unfortunate if it is indeed true. I wanted to do what you are doing with a tiny home.

I have no advice other than to have your proofs of paid taxes and deeds to land. Be vigilant!

Could the ex-husband be the problem?
Proof of paid taxes and land lol? Uh yea I have proof I’m not going to display my address on the internet though and yes.. what I say is true. Washington is crazy. Or it has become so in recent years. My place is essentially tiny home but doesn’t have plumbing therefore I don’t require a septic the ex husband .. yea he probably was the one that initially started the problem.. who knows. I live in an area that is super close knit and there are a lot of elderly and religious in combination (nothing wrong wits ether of those things) but I know that my “local neighbors“ were not happy that I divorced. Domestic violence was an issue with him and I was done. They all judged.. I’m still standing at least for now.
 
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I was certainly not implying for you to display personal identifying information. Never do that. Domestic violence is not joke! Glad you are standing tall but also protect yourself! All lives matter.

My reason for wanted to live off-grid is to NOT have neighbours.
 
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Have you been to the court house or whatever building that handles this stuff? Otherwise, it looks like you may need to speak to a civil lawyer, if that is the correct branch.
 
OP
Jenn Mackenzie
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I was certainly not implying for you to display personal identifying information. Never do that. Domestic violence is not joke! Glad you are standing tall but also protect yourself! All lives matter.

My reason for wanted to live off-grid is to NOT have neighbours.
My neighbors are acres away and there are only a few but they are all old busy bodies. I’m going to look for an attorney as soon as they all open this next week after the holiday.. I’m just reeling, frustrated and sad. Got the letter today it’s the weekend so no I haven’t been able to contact them.. they are not open. Knowing the right kind of attorney would help .. land use civil rights.. not sure
 
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My neighbors are acres away and there are only a few but they are all old busy bodies. I’m going to look for an attorney as soon as they all open this next week after the holiday.. I’m just reeling, frustrated and sad.
I understand your frustration for different matters in Washington. I am surprised I am still here, until I remind myself of the Pac ocean, mountains, and bigger game hunting than back east - then I relax a little.

Keep us posted if you would like.
 

darkminstrel

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I was issued a letter that I was operating on an illegal septic system and living in an illegal structure.
So I'm assuming you guys didn't file the proper paperwork and plans for your living space? I hate to be the bearer of bad news...but I'm going to be.

You didn't get the permits you needed and now the county is doing what they're supposed to. It doesn't matter what quality of person you are, they're upholding the laws that residents have voted for.

I'm a homesteader, myself. Soon I'll be farther down the same path as you. I also budgeted money to purchase construction permits and cetified plans for what I'm going to be living in. Maybe see if you can retro-actively apply for building permits?
 
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Jenn Mackenzie
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So I'm assuming you guys didn't file the proper paperwork and plans for your living space? I hate to be the bearer of bad news...but I'm going to be.

You didn't get the permits you needed and now the county is doing what they're supposed to. It doesn't matter what quality of person you are, they're upholding the laws that residents have voted for.

I'm a homesteader, myself. Soon I'll be farther down the same path as you. I also budgeted money to purchase construction permits and cetified plans for what I'm going to be living in. Maybe see if you can retro-actively apply for building permits?
county said we didn’t need a permit for under 200 square feet. Until my husband left there wasn’t an issue I could be living in a camper and apparently there would still be an issue
 
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I sympathize with you. Many state governments, including Washington, have been and are being overrun by Dictators who forget what it means to serve and represent people. They won't squeeze the upper class, and they can't squeeze the poor. So to generate money to continue their fraudulent power grab, they squeeze the people in the middle.

And unfortunately what they say is true in that you can't fight city hall.

They can probably lien and take your property, maybe bar you from occupying it as a "health hazard." They can fine you into bankruptcy or submission. And $250 a day will look like a bargain compared to lawyers who charge $250 per hour. And everyone expects a free lawyer. I have news for you... lawyers didn't spent 7 years in college and law school, spent or borrow $200,000 in tuition, forgo 7 years of money generating work, so they could go do charity cases. If you find a lawyer to do it for less or free, good luck to you. And that doesn't guarantee a win. You may spend $10k on a lawyer, incur 2 years in daily fees, and still lose.

It will be less headache and cheaper to just get the permits and do what they are requiring.

I would start by having a conversation with someone with authority, explain the situation, and see if there's some misunderstanding or a middle ground compromise. If you don't need a permit it can be resolved in a phone call and getting it in writing. If you do need a permit, and you were mistaken or mis-informed, then get the permit. Many times people are mis-informed or misunderstand or "mis-remember" what they are told.

You might need to get a written extension to put in a basic septic system, which you will need ultimately anyway. No need for fines or lawyers, which are wasting resources. Demonstrate a willingness to comply, get your permits, and get a septic crew to work.

Otherwise, sell your property before the state liens it and move somewhere less oppressive. Good luck to you.
 
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darkminstrel

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county said we didn’t need a permit for under 200 square feet. Until my husband left there wasn’t an issue I could be living in a camper and apparently there would still be an issue
I can't quote WA law, but in OR it's 200sq or under and not used as a residence by humans. If the county is just upset because of the lack of septic then you've got some pretty useful info and the ability to work out a plan to rectify the situation. Can you get financing? Does the county green-light composting toilet systems? Can you look into a grey-water only leech field and holding tank while using a composting toilet? There are options, and the bean counters just want their pound of flesh, not to help you out.

It must be incredibly overwhelming at the moment. Hop on the googles and find PNW homesteader sites or blogs or subreddits and hit the county offices to find the exact law requirements you have to adhere to. It's going to take some footwork, but you absolutely do have options.
 
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You would think that this would be praised but instead I have been issued that if I don’t remove myself from my own property within 30 days I will be cited $250 a day as well as having to pay the county to remove my building. I am currently looking for a lawyer someone who can help me someone who might specialize in this kind of issue. And any advice that you all can give.

I should also note that my place is clean I don’t live in a junkyard the building itself is beautiful not a nuisance looking piece of property
Well I'll sure praise it. Our country needs more people like you in it. And out government has gotten way out of control.

What is the reasoning/justification for them suddenly demanding half the taxes in April? Was there any explanation for this?

Would there be any benefit to putting a trailer on the property? If the issue is you living in the building, it would take this out of the equation.
 
OP
Jenn Mackenzie
Messages
20
Reactions
31
I sympathize with you. Many state governments, including Washington, have been and are being overrun by Dictators who forget what it means to serve and represent people. They won't squeeze the upper class, and they can't squeeze the poor. So to generate money to continue their fraudulent power grab, they squeeze the people in the middle.

And unfortunately what they say is true in that you can't fight city hall.

They can probably lien and take your property, maybe bar you from occupying it as a "health hazard." They can fine you into bankruptcy or submission. And $250 a day will look like a bargain compared to lawyers who charge $250 per hour. And everyone expects a free lawyer. I have news for you... lawyers didn't spent 7 years in college and law school, spent or borrow $200,000 in tuition, forgo 7 years of money generating work, so they could go do charity cases. If you find a lawyer to do it for less or free, good luck to you. And that doesn't guarantee a win. You may spend $10k on a lawyer, incur 2 years in daily fees, and still lose.

It will be less headache and cheaper to just get the permits and do what they are requiring.

I would start by having a conversation with someone with authority, explain the situation, and see if there's some misunderstanding or a middle ground compromise. If you don't need a permit it can be resolved in a phone call and getting it in writing. If you do need a permit, and you were mistaken or mis-informed, then get the permit. Many times people are mis-informed or misunderstand or "mis-remember" what they are told.

You might need to get a written extension to put in a basic septic system, which you will need ultimately anyway. No need for fines or lawyers, which are wasting resources. Demonstrate a willingness to comply, get your permits, and get a septic crew to work.

Otherwise, sell your property before the state liens it and move somewhere less oppressive. Good luck to you.
Thank you. Probably have to sell then as I don’t have 42,000 for a septic system that I don’t need because I don’t have plumbing. I appreciate the advice
 
OP
Jenn Mackenzie
Messages
20
Reactions
31
Well I'll sure praise it. Our country needs more people like you in it. And out government has gotten way out of control.

What is the reasoning/justification for them suddenly demanding half the taxes in April? Was there any explanation for this?

Would there be any benefit to putting a trailer on the property? If the issue is you living in the building, it would take this out of the equation.
Oh no not suddenly demanding the taxes .. my apology if I misrepresented that the April tax bill came same day as the letter Of citation... a trailer may help.im going to call them Tuesday
 
OP
Jenn Mackenzie
Messages
20
Reactions
31
I can't quote WA law, but in OR it's 200sq or under and not used as a residence by humans. If the county is just upset because of the lack of septic then you've got some pretty useful info and the ability to work out a plan to rectify the situation. Can you get financing? Does the county green-light composting toilet systems? Can you look into a grey-water only leech field and holding tank while using a composting toilet? There are options, and the bean counters just want their pound of flesh, not to help you out.

It must be incredibly overwhelming at the moment. Hop on the googles and find PNW homesteader sites or blogs or subreddits and hit the county offices to find the exact law requirements you have to adhere to. It's going to take some footwork, but you absolutely do have options.
as far as a toilet goes I have one... visible from the road that is serviced by a local Potra potty company and recorded weekly I don’t know if they green light composting toilets byr I will find out. I’m starting to think someone just wants my land ..I really don’t know.. I don’t shower here so really there isn’t an actual septic violation. After being laid off by samebean counters that send my tax bill and having been out of work for 3 months I just gained employment that pays a decent wage. But I’m just getting my feet back under me. As far as a loan,,, no after the divirce and lay-off it’s not in the cards. The building is under 200 sq feet but wasn’t permitted said we didn’t need one. Now they say it can’t be a dwelling. Rent here is upwards of 1400 bucks for a 1bed apt. Can’t do both. May have to sell. If I do I’m leaving Washington. I don’t have muchenergy to fight this. And it is extremely overwhelming and very stressful. I livelike people can’t imagine with their technology they can’t live without.i communicate onlinewith my phone. I have no power I heat with wood, I’m hurting no one, but I can’t seem to be left alone.
 

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