• choosing a site

    by  • March 1, 2013 • tiny house • 1 Comment

    an east view

    an east view

    I wouldn’t have thought that choosing a site for our yurt would be so difficult. I know that this whole adventure is a process, with ideas and details that will morph and change often; however, I still figured that it would only take an afternoon to pick the right site. Well, I’ve walked the land on three separate afternoons and we still haven’t gotten it completely decided.

    When we began we knew that the fabric yurt that we originally had in mind would have to be in the shadiest spot on the property, located rather unfortunately right behind my parents’ house. That spot would also provide the cheapest utility hookup. I had some concerns about privacy and being too close to both the road and the farmhouse; we would literally be in their backyard. We would not have a lot of psychic space. I wasn’t sure how important this was to me, since we’d have access to the whole property, but my husband expressed some concerns. He’s an introvert, and he worried that he would feel stressed living so close to another house. “We’re moving to the country,” he pointed out, “so why live as close to our neighbors as we do here in the suburbs?”

    When we decided to go for the frame yurt we worried about building permits. I wondered if we could classify the yurt as an “addition” or a “home office” to get around permitting issues. Turns out, if we connected the yurt to the house with a roofed walkway it wouldn’t even be sneaky; it would be considered a legitimate addition. We’d be able to push a little farther back, but we’d still have to build pretty close to the house. We also had to figure out where to put an addition if our housemate decided to stay for the long term, or my brother decided to join in the project.

    Then I realized something that changed the whole situation: if we factored in the square footage of the additions we’d probably be building for our roommates — even if we didn’t construct them right away —  the structure would qualify as a house according to the deed restrictions. Suddenly our project would be considered another house on the property, and that meant that we could site it anywhere. (It also meant that instead of the paradigm I’d been living in where we engaged in the “simple” process of “popping up” a “temporary” structure on the property, we were considering building a house. OMG.)

    Hence the multiple trips out to the pasture. My dad and I, orange flags and rope in hand, walked and measured out site after site. We do want our house to be a bit concealed from the road, since its architecture will be unusual for the conservative county where it will reside, so the west side of the property felt too exposed.  A spot behind the farmhouse (this one a more comfortable distance back) had too much road noise. To the east side of the property we had to work around the only two trees in the pasture, as well as deciding if we’re comfortable being near the neighbors. That area feels more sheltered, though, and quieter, so east it is. Should we build south towards the stable, or towards the north end of the property? I think that will be decided by money: the cost of installing utilities varies depending on the distance the pipe/wire must travel from the road.

    At this point, all interested parties have gathered and walked the pasture together and we’re down to only one flagged circle. It will probably move six to eight feet north or south, depending on which design we pick for the potential addition, but at least we’ve got it narrowed down. So many things about this project remain up in the air; it will be nice to have the site decided. I’d like to sit out there at sunset and see what the view will be like from my back porch.



    One Response to choosing a site

    1. Christine
      March 1, 2013 at 11:56 am

      Wow! I must have missed the posts leading up to this decision. Will have to catch up… :>

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