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Big Island The Island of Hawaii
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Old 07-23-2011, 03:27 PM
 
233 posts, read 301,836 times
Reputation: 129
Default Alternative Off-Grid Living Situations on Big Island

I'd like to buy some land on Hawaii (Big Island) within the next few years, use it as a vacation and winter residence initially, and eventually probably as a retirement place. I'm thinking 1-3 acres in a fairly rural area.

For starters, I'd like to keep it pretty rustic and basic, since I won't be there that often initially -- maybe just a few weeks or months at a time. I'd basically like to just set up a large tent or camper (either camper-van or pop-top) and stay there when not at the beach or exploring the Island. (I like to camp, and don't have a problem with minor temperature fluctuations, etc.)

I've seen websites by people who built their own little cabin on their own land, had composting toilets, etc. I've also read about people living on tents on their own land. But I've also seen on here that this is only permitted for short stretches, on a temporary basis, and/or while people are building permanent structures.

I know some areas (Puna, etc.) are more flexible with this stuff than others, but I'm wondering what the basic guidelines are on this -- what are the exact laws re: camping on your own property, how long you can do this, etc., and how strictly these laws are generally enforced. For example, if you have a few acres of land, and no one can see your tent/camper, would this ever even be an issue? Is Hawaii a live-and-let-live place, as it appears, or do authorities tend to snoop around?

Finally, I saw a thread where living in a camper/RV was deemed extremely undesirable on the Islands. While I have no desire to live in an RV, it does seem that purchasing a newer VW Camper and using it as temporary shelter while exploring the Islands would also be pretty fun. What are the downsides to this if you have land to keep it on -- does the sun bake you too much, even with the Pop-top up?

Anyway, I fully understand the various concerns about homelessness, etc., in Hawaii and on this board, but it would seem that the analysis would change somewhat if someone is living on their own land, even if it's in a non-traditional format. And I'd rather buy the land soon and have a place to vacation now, and build on it over time, vs. waiting 10 years until I can do everything all at once.

Thanks in advance for any insight you can provide, greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-24-2011, 06:04 AM
 
Location: Big Island of Hawaii & HOT BuOYS Sailing Vessel
107 posts, read 126,110 times
Reputation: 76
I have neighbors living in non permitted homes that are basically shacks. I have neighbors living in homes you could not buy for a million in cash. What it comes down to is who complains to the County of Hawaii.

No complaints...you can basically do nearly what you please.

There is a large storage rental place in Keaau. This might be a good option to store an RV while you are off island. Then use it on your land when you are in town.
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Old 07-28-2011, 01:34 AM
 
233 posts, read 301,836 times
Reputation: 129
Excellent, thanks.

What neighborhood are you in?
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Old 08-04-2011, 06:33 PM
 
233 posts, read 301,836 times
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P.S.: This is the law I've found regarding sleeping in a car / RV -- it's clearly against the law on public land, unless it's an actual campground where such is permitted. But there are no apparent laws against residing in a camper / RV on your own land, at least not in this section.

Some have said there's a legal time limit for how long you can do this even on your land -- if anyone has the actual statute, please pass it on:



"The situation is covered under Hawaii Revised Statutes, Section 291C-112, which says:

"No person shall use any vehicle for purposes of human habitation, whether or not the vehicle is designed or equipped for that purpose, while the vehicle is parked on any roadway, street, or highway or other public property between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. or while the vehicle is parked on private property without authorization of the owner or occupant authorizing both the parking of the vehicle there and its use for purposes of human habitation."

Human habitation is defined as using the vehicle for a dwelling or sleeping place.

The law does not apply to people inhabiting vehicles in parks, camps or other recreational areas "in compliance with law and applicable rules and regulations, or under emergency conditions in the interest of vehicular safety."
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Old 10-02-2011, 02:21 AM
 
28 posts, read 35,271 times
Reputation: 29
Do not live buy land in Leilani. My friend had just moved in to a house there when the neighbor came up the driveway with his rottweilers and he did that because he was a member of the Leilani Associationg and was checking them out. There were more incidences of the neighbor spying. And there was somebody else who I think his house was not up to code and someone reported him. Those were both 1 acre lots. Best thing is get a property that has lots of trees around perimeters of property and make an S driveway and make sure you have a gate to make it harder to peer in. I think that places like Hawaiian Acres, Fern Forest and Fern Acres might be better.; there are more secluded areas there.
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Old 10-03-2011, 01:28 PM
 
11 posts, read 37,932 times
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I am planning on doing the same thing. After dreaming of moving to Kauai and renting an apartment.. I realized I probably would not find work.. mostly from reading posts on here!! I have some insurance and office experince as well as bartending/hospitality.. so its not a lack of experience its just that it seems jobs are few and far between and being white is to my disadvantage it would seem as well. ALthough I dont know, Im just assuming these things from reading all the posts on this board as well as others. Anyways I would love to move to the tropical areas and live off the land as well, although I am not really sold on the hilo/puna area. Its black, rocky beaches and active volcano kinda steer me away. That being said I know there is no way I would be able to afford any land anywhere else on the island.... If I DO decide to move to Hawaii with 10 grand, put 5k down a peice of land and make payments.. Where is the best area to go that is still away enough to be private, yet close enough to get jobs somewhere.. Are there jobs in Puna? What could 2 - 20 somethings women, 1- 30 year old man and a 7 year old girl come to expect moving to Hawaii to buy a little land, build a shelter, use a catchment system, solar/wind/generator power.. and try to live as cheaply and freely as possible- Expect?? I know there are communes, woofers, farms.. How kid friendly are these places? ((She is a mature and aware child by the way)).. I just want to get out of the rat race and live in nature somewhere beautiful. what are the chances of that on 10,000? If Im willing to keep working and paying a loan off, or continue to build, what ever? any suggestions?
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Old 10-05-2011, 08:17 PM
 
28 posts, read 35,271 times
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You ask if there are jobs in Puna. There are hardly jobs in Hilo so even less in Puna. If you could create a home business. Work in Hilo. Target opened up recently and a Safeway reopened as a bigger store. Periodically there are tour job openings but you would need to learn stuff about island first. Go with the companies who already have their passengers booked. I worked as a tour guide and got paid by the person so the less people I got the less pay. And many times I did not get anybody. Up till recently, I had 3 jobs and the 3 jobs together did not add up to full time work. It can be hard there but if you persist and if you are creative you might be able to make it work. Land will be the cheapest in Puna. It use to be you could get 3 acres for 11,000 in Hawaiian Acres. Fern Acres and Fern forest I believe are a little cheaper than Hawaiian Acres but further away from Hilo. Its about 20 minutes to Hilo from Hawaiian Acres. You can get land in Orchidland. Might cost a little more than Hawaiian Acres. Whats bad about there is you have to Keaau-Pahoa rd and traffic is bad there. Good luck.
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Old 10-07-2011, 01:36 PM
 
11 posts, read 37,932 times
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Thank you.. May be a silly question, but I understand the land is cheap there because of the lava flow.. IS there any real worl everyday fear of a flow coming through that may wipe out the whole area?
I dont mind living on the edge, I actually prefer it , as it keeps me feeling vital and alive..but I would hate to buy land and then die in a lava pool next year.. lol.. I know its a noob question.. but whats the real deal with the volcanoes??
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Old 10-07-2011, 05:08 PM
 
Location: Pahoa Hawaii
844 posts, read 2,569,564 times
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Everyone who lives in Puna is mindful of the volcano, but the chance to live in Hawaii outweighs the risk. We are also lucky to live on a volcano that is easier to live with than most. The only people who have lost homes or property to Kilauea in the past few years were living where Pele has ongoing business. (Kalapana)
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Old 10-09-2011, 10:40 AM
 
Location: Puna
639 posts, read 534,678 times
Reputation: 496
Quote:
Originally Posted by lsdalicex99 View Post
Thank you.. May be a silly question, but I understand the land is cheap there because of the lava flow.. IS there any real worl everyday fear of a flow coming through that may wipe out the whole area?
I dont mind living on the edge, I actually prefer it , as it keeps me feeling vital and alive..but I would hate to buy land and then die in a lava pool next year.. lol.. I know its a noob question.. but whats the real deal with the volcanoes??
There are 3 lava zones in Puna. 1 is the most likely to see lava, 3, the least likely. There is a lot of debate about the accuracy of lava zoning, but debates aside, its very expensive to get insurance in lava zone 1. Easier in 3.

The "cheapness" of the land has less to do with lava hazard than simple availability: There is a lot of vacant land for sale in Puna, so the prices are low. 3 acres of lush forest can be had for $15,000. Be aware that these are "spaghetti lots" (very narrow, usually 1x9). I paid substantially more for a square lot.

I just saw a 3 acre, square lot with an unfinished (but nicely started, and larger) cabin for sale in FFVE (lava zone 3) for 30k. Can probably be had for 27k. Check the MLS listings if you are interested.
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