Imagine you can lease a spot on the ocean. Off the grid. You get a small tent-deck, water, sewer, some design limits and you can build whatever you want but it has to be small (under 800sft), it has to be built well and…….the ‘cabin’ you build is not yours (in the traditional sense) to sell. The ‘site’ that you lease is also small. Limited to the deck and building footprint give or take.
The cabin you build (or buy a yurt/shipping container/tent variation) is yours to take away should you want to buy land elsewhere and relocate to it but, it will initially be situated on leased land and the site belongs to the community and you have 20 years plus a day to be there – if you want. If someone actually lives there for twenty years the site will likely require a do-over by then anyway.
Concept: some seniors might choose to live there the whole of the twenty years.
I envision most people will lease the site, bring in a shipping container-type abode and make some kind of arbor or tent addition or something to live in and half-outdoors while they build somewhere else. They’ll use it for say, six months or so over five years and then take the container to their new site as a guest cabin to their now-built permanent home. Or they may just leave it. Or maybe it will be sold to the community. The community will then re-lease the site and maybe even bring in a new shipping container. Details to be worked out.
Lease rates will be low – to encourage the young to come and build and to encourage the old to ‘downsize’ and live amongst others in their latter years. There will be a $5000 – 10,000 down move-in fee (to build the infrastructure). Ballpark lease rate: $150/mo…maybe $2000 a year. NO taxes. No water bill. Maybe a small maintenance fee or work-in-kind to keep it all going. Sewers can be a problem… but it is all to be done NON profit. Full, transparent accounting.
Maybe the tenant will get a portion of move-in fee back when they leave…
Why lease? Because it is not our land. We will lease it first and then sublease it to tenants.
Why small? Because we want people to either stay small or buy-and-build elsewhere. Ya can’t have chickens and dogs and goats and cows all a-wandering all over a relatively small area (7 acres). Plus gardens, dogs, cats, kids and stuff…..not for long, anyway. Otherwise it would get too crowded and ghetto like.
How many sites? Start with ten. Max maybe twenty. Let the community decide. Ten makes sense to me. Our area could absorb ten new families easily. Probably twenty. But no one out here wants it to become the new Saltspring. We don’t want it to change, really, but very young people and very old people leaving is ALSO change so having a limited infusion of folks is really just stabilizing the community.
Will you bring in the container and hook it up to get me started? Yeah. Separate contract.
“But, if having that modest little summer camp-thing is enough for me, I can just live there? Maybe just in the summer?” Yep. Twenty years. Maybe renewal. Maybe not.
In effect, the concept roughly described above is similar to a mobile home park but with an incentive to have the tenants stay small or move out to other OTG land. Just NOT a mobile home or trailer……
AND IT MUST BE CHEAP. The community is NOT trying to ‘make a buck’ so much as make a community. We’ll pay people for labour and construction on any ‘community work’ or tenants can hire locals to work on a private basis but there is no OVERALL, for-profit company, there are no Benz-drivers, no sales offices…no organized greed corporation. The idea is to support and foster the modest growth of our larger community.
As readers of this OTG blog and obviously, at least DREAMERS of the OTG lifestyle, would this kind of interim step, this ‘get your feet wet approach’ appeal to you? Please do NOT quote me on any of this. It is not mine to do. It is currently a blank-slate piece of land and people out here are invited to propose other ideas. I am sure they will. So this is just one concept of likely many.
But I do have an advantage. I can ask you guys what YOU think of the idea…