How To Legally Live Off Grid In NC?

In North Carolina, living off the grid is totally legal. Outhouses and ponds are unexpectedly permissible on your property, according to the law.

Almost every off-grid system you wish to build on your property, however, would require a permission and inspections.

North Carolina Zoning Laws and Off-Grid Living

Local zoning restrictions will ultimately determine whether or not you may go off-grid lawfully in North Carolina. North Carolina, unfortunately, has some of the most perplexing zoning laws in the country. The meanings and words used in different counties frequently differ dramatically.

For example, some counties may refer to property set aside for agricultural purposes as “Working Lands,” while others refer to it as “Rural Residential” or “Rural Preservation.”

However, the state of North Carolina has revised its zoning laws.

Beginning in July 2021, all counties will be governed under the Chapter 160D statutes.

Zoning Law Restrictions in NC

You’ll probably face a number of constraints on how you may utilize the land if it’s categorized as neighborhood residential or waterfront. You may even be obliged to connect to the local water supply, making it illegal to go off the grid.

You’ll be able to produce or raise animals on land classified for rural or agricultural use because it has the fewest limitations.

However, zoning rules may make it illegal for you to earn money in other ways while living off the grid, such as by opening a bed and breakfast on your property.

Also, keep in mind the rules regarding minimum lot sizes.

It’s possible that you’ll need at least 5 acres each home. A minimum lot size of 20 acres per dwelling may be allowed on open-space preservation land. If you wish to build more dwellings on your land in the future, this can be an issue.

However, if you qualify as a farm, you may be exempt from some zoning restrictions. Certain zoning requirements, such as setbacks and the number of homes, do not apply to farms under the NC Farm Act.

Qualifying as a Farm in North Carolina

In North Carolina, if you qualify as a farmer, your land will be taxed at its use value rather than its market value.

  • A minimum of 10 acres of agricultural land is required. A minimum of 5 acres is required for horticulture, and a minimum of 20 acres is required for forestland. Smaller tracts may be counted under specific circumstances.
  • To be eligible, you must earn at least $1,000 per year in gross income.

Other benefits for farmers in North Carolina include a lower sales tax and different grants and subsidies. The qualifications for these incentives, on the other hand, are more stringent. To qualify, you must make at least $10,000 in gross income from farming. More information is available here.

Due to different rules, farmer income standards in North Carolina may be difficult to satisfy. For example, if you want to sell food to markets, you may need a certificate. More information on those rules can be found here.

You might find this article helpful: How to Get a Homestead Declaration for Your Property.

In North Carolina, is it lawful to live in a shed?

The North Carolina State Construction Code requires a permit for any accessory building, such as a shed, with a dimension greater than 12 feet, though a 12’x12′ shed is usually exempt. This process is handled differently by each county or local municipality, with varied fee structures.

Is it legal to live in a tiny house in North Carolina?

Is it allowed to live in a tiny house in North Carolina? Yes, in a nutshell. The long answer is that the definition of a lawful tiny house varies from town to town, city to city, and county to county. Tiny homes on foundations are usually acknowledged as viable living spaces, however tiny homes on wheels are not permitted to be utilized as a year-round residence.

What state is the most convenient for living off the grid?

Off Grid Permaculture’s Daniel Mark Schwartz ranks Alabama as the best state for off-grid life. Alabama has a cheap cost of living, with comparatively modest land expenses and some of the lowest property taxes in the country. It also has a handful of counties that do not have building codes. Alabama is an ideal site for rainwater collection because it receives a lot of rain (56 inches per year) and state statutes allow for unrestricted water harvesting.

Is it legal for me to live in an RV on my North Carolina property?

Yes, living in an RV is legal. You must observe local zoning regulations and ordinances that may regulate where you can park your RV in order to stay within the law. If you plan to park in one location or on your own land on a long-term basis, you may additionally require access to water and sewer.

Is there any land available for free in North Carolina?

It’s been years since anyone has lived there, and you’re certain it’s absolutely empty. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as “free land” in the United States, with everyone owning a piece of land.

Is it possible to build a tiny house in my backyard in North Carolina? ?

Tiny dwellings come in a variety of sizes and styles. Some are on wheels and can be moved from one location to another, making them ideal for the frequent traveler. Others remain in place. Tiny house communities can be found all throughout the country. Some tiny house owners live fully off the grid in other locations.

These dwellings’ interiors are cleverly constructed to make the most of a limited amount of space. People are living happily in tiny houses because to built-in storage, no bathtubs in bathrooms, smaller kitchen appliances, and lofts that serve as bedrooms.

Building and zoning restrictions apply in most parts of the United States because these are residences. State, county, and even city laws differ. Because this is such a novel concept, many localities do not yet have tiny house rules, but as the trend rises in popularity, legislation may be enacted in the near future. All states require the right building licenses, and builders must adhere to all zoning restrictions.

Tiny house laws have been enacted in some states. Pop-up communities with energy-efficient housing have sprung up across Michigan, assisting towns like Detroit. Tiny dwellings can be built in Michigan if they fulfill the rules and are not smaller than 500 square feet.

Most municipalities in Nevada will provide a building permit as long as the tiny house has at least 200 square feet of living space.

Colorado has no established minimum square footage for residences in several cities and municipalities, making it an extremely tiny house-friendly state.

The tiny house must be at least 150 square feet in size to obtain a building permit in North Carolina. However, 100 square feet must be added for each extra occupant. This means that a couple must create a 250-square-foot structure, while a family of four must build a 450-square-foot tiny home.

In South Dakota, the laws are similar. A building permit can be obtained for a house of at least 190 square feet, but for each extra person, an additional 50 square feet must be added.

In Maine, you can build a tiny house as long as it’s less than 400 square feet and has enough sleeping space for all tenants.

While tiny home rules differ by state, this burgeoning movement may prompt lawmakers to enact more precise legislation in the future.

In North Carolina, where may I put my tiny house?

Many municipal zoning and regulating regulations treat “tiny dwellings” as a strange category. It’s wise to consider tiny homes in Asheville from three perspectives:

Tiny Homes on Wheels

Tiny houses on wheels are not permissible anywhere in Asheville or Buncombe County, with the exception of campgrounds, where they are allowed at the campground’s discretion. A tiny house on wheels is classified as an RV (recreational vehicle) and hence cannot be used as a permanent residence. The Village of Wildflowers and Highland Lake Cove, both in the Flat Rock area, are zoned for RVs and allow tiny homes outside of Buncombe County. The maximum amount of time you can stay in an RV in North Carolina is 180 days.

Tiny Homes on a Foundation

As long as the residence fulfills the current North Carolina building code, a tiny house on a foundation is permissible anywhere in Buncombe County, including Asheville city boundaries. “When determining the size of your house, the building standards to take in mind are the ones that deal to minimum size requirements of specific rooms or ceiling heights,” says Tiny House Asheville. For example, a living room or great room should be at least 120 square feet.”

The Mitchell County hamlet of High Cove has tiny homes on foundations and may be amenable to allowing tiny homes on wheels as well.

Accessory Dwelling Units

The city of Asheville passed an ordinance in 2015 that governs the building of auxiliary dwelling units (ADUs) inside the city limits. The ordinance defines an ADU as: “a distinct and full dwelling unit that is located on the same property as a single-family home or business.” On residential lots with a single-family residence, a single ADU is permitted. The ADU’s size and footprint are proportional to the lot size and the size of the existing single-family dwelling.

For those interested in going tiny, this means you may build a tiny home in the backyard of your current home and rent out or use the large structure as you see fit. In addition, the code provides “According to the city, “realistic housing choices for the elderly, empty nesters, young students, and small families” are available.

What are some creative ways to get around zoning laws?

What Are My Options for Getting Around a Zoning Ordinance? If you own property that is subject to a zoning ordinance, and the ordinance is restricting you from using your land in the way you want, you can seek a variance, amendment, or rezoning to get around the ordinance.

What happens if you construct in North Carolina without a permit?

Failure to get a permit when required may result in hefty fines, the removal of the offending project, or the incurring of expenditures to certify conformity with the applicable codes; it all depends. Many seemingly modest improvements/repairs may require a permit, which may surprise licensees.