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Old 08-02-2017, 01:16 PM
 
9 posts, read 15,969 times
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Hi All,

I'm looking to buy 20+ Acres of property (the more the better) and permanently relocate to either rural PNW (Washington state) or rural Colorado and wanted to know what areas would be best suited for my needs, any help would be great!

I'm ~30 years old, and the area must be projected to be livable in the next 50 years, according to climate change predictions. So far I've been looking into Sequim/San Juan Islands/possibly Bellingham in WA but land costs seem a little prohibative. I'm becoming more interested in Colorado but don't know a lot about CO. I'll be building my own house myself with either cob, cordword, "earthship" or timber framing construction and I'll be growing my own food in greenhouses. I'll be location siting based on winter azimuth sun angles, to maximize passive heating and cooling and using runoff water catchment, greywater, and composting toilet systems (not interested in septic). The idea is to create a "luxury" eco-village bed and breakfast/event hosting "camp" type place to host weddings and/or corporate retreats that can then in turn fund an artist residency. Must have fairly easy all-season road accessibility and ideally within half a day's train/bus/drive to a major airport. Must be very "scenic" and located in a progressive state.

I'm moving from Chicago, IL, mainly because it's much too gray/brown here in the winter and I'm no longer interested in living in cities. Having two week spans of complete overcast is not uncommon here in the winter, and I've been suffering from SADD and Vitamin D deficiency since I've lived here (~6 years). I'm very sensitive to sun/clouds/light - I love a cozy cloudy rainy day peppered here and there (too much sun every day makes me a little too wired for my liking), but I can't live in a predominantly overcast area, even if it's for one-season (i.e., one season very grey with the rest being sunny). I'd like to be closer to hiking/canoeing/outdoor adventures as well. National parks are a must. Also, I have Endometriosis so I need to be within 2-3 hours from a major hospital with high rankings for gynecological departments. Also, while I enjoy snow and generally don't mind the cold, I'm not interested in having freezing winds/rain/sleet/-30 to 15 degree F days anymore. I enjoy 4 seasons and ideally winters would be green, a little snowy and stay in the 20-40 degree range, summers preferably mild, low-ish humidity (not muggy) and green. No scrub brush for me! Many trees/lakes/waterfalls please.

So, to recap, here's what I'm looking for:

- Lush GREEN Forest (preferably year round), Mountain views, Sunny-Partly Cloudy 280+ days a year, access to lakes/rivers/national parks
- Not humid/muggy in summer or clammy in winter
- Four seasons, but none of them "extreme," I like snow but not the freezing cold!
- Projected to have stable drinkable fresh water sources for next 50 years
- Terrain relatively inoculated against increases in wild fires, drought, landslides, flooding
- No or very minimal misquitoes/ticks (they love me)
- 20+ Acres for under 200k (the more the better)
- Area hospitable to off grid living
- Secluded but within 30 mins of small town and 2-4 hours of a major city with highly ranked gynecological/reproductive hospital departments.
**LGBTQ State Protections, Legal Recreational Marijuana Use A Must** Progressive tax structure a plus.

I'm also open to hearing about other states but I'm pretty set on PNW and CO as possibilities, *not* interested in Northeastern/Southern/Midwest (already lived there both rurally and city wise - they're great, but not for me!.

Thank you so much!

Last edited by votz; 08-02-2017 at 02:37 PM..
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Old 08-02-2017, 02:16 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 15 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,981 posts, read 102,540,351 times
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#s 1, 5, and 7 knock Colorado out of the running.
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Old 08-02-2017, 02:56 PM
 
Location: Colorado
11,828 posts, read 7,297,740 times
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- Lush GREEN Forest (preferably year round), Mountain views, Sunny-Partly Cloudy 280+ days a year, access to lakes/rivers/national parks

Green: Washington all day. Colorado goes brown when it's dry, and it's often dry.
Grey/Sun: Washington is grey a lot, but as long as like 10 minutes of sunshine in between grey gloomy mist is enough to keep you going... Colorado is sunny a lot, but has monsoon season where daily thunderstorms can happen.

- Not humid/muggy in summer or clammy in winter

Low humidity: Colorado wins. Washington has clammy winters that are wet, it might not even get that cold but it FEELS very cold, it gets under your skin. Winters in Colorado (as far as I've seen) are often sunny, but we get some snow events, but then it melts and is moderate again (temps often in the 50's and sunny.) Snow vanishes quickly, except at high altitude.

- Four seasons, but none of them "extreme," I like snow but not the freezing cold!

Hm. Frankly Colorado weather is just plain unpredictable. It can be nice one minute and a crazy blast of wind and hail and torrential rain the next. Washington is far more consistent, but I wouldn't say "four seasons" necessarily. You get a couple weeks in the summer that are dry (no rain) and other than that, lots of rain, fog, wet wet wet.

- Projected to have stable drinkable fresh water sources for next 50 years

Colorado has a lot of water worries. We get drought years, where there can be serious water shortages. Washington of course has an excess of water, if anything.

- Terrain relatively inoculated against increases in wild fires, drought, landslides, flooding

Colorado: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA....ha... You must be kidding. Colorado burns. Has droughts. Flash floods often, landslides depending on factors like deforestation due to fires. Rinse repeat.

Washington: Can also have these problems. But not as frequent a concern in one's life, as far as I can tell. However, be aware that the dirt in Washington is flammable. I once saw a 2 foot across section of bare dirt get up to a pretty fierce smoulder because someone put a cigarette butt out in it. It's because it is comprised of organic matter from the trees, which shed...tree...stuff...pretty much constantly. Seed pods, bits of bark, needles. Just stuff. It took 5 big pitchers of water to put it out. I'm surprised the state doesn't burn more than it does, and can only assume it's due to the typical rain.

- No or very minimal misquitoes/ticks (they love me)

Ticks are everywhere. We don't have a ton of bugs here, and no mosquitoes. Cat and dog fleas don't thrive here in Colorado either, and I think that's pretty cool. Some areas get scorpions.

I don't remember mosquitoes being a huge problem in Washington either, but they ought to be with all of the wet there. I do recall that each fall, the spiders were completely out of control.

- 20+ Acres for under 200k (the more the better)

No idea. But Washington and Colorado are on the high end as far as cost of housing and property are concerned. Washington used to be much higher, but Colorado has been going up fast in the last year or so. Some think it is a "bubble" and that it will be temporary and the market will eventually settle down.

- Area hospitable to off grid living

No idea, especially with regard to WA. I do know that in Colorado, you're going to have more success with solar power, but you'll have to worry about getting water rights. Until last year, collecting rainwater in any way, deliberately, was illegal. The law changed last year, but it's still very limited. Here is a thing about that:
Collecting Rainwater Still Illegal in Much of Colorado - Lot-Lines

- Secluded but within 30 mins of small town and 2-4 hours of a major city with highly ranked gynecological/reproductive hospital departments.
**LGBTQ State Protections, Legal Recreational Marijuana Use A Must** Progressive tax structure a plus.

Cities and services...I'm not sure. Mostly I question if you can find the kind of land you want, at the price you want, within that range of a city with those facilities in either state, or which might work better. Of course we have the MJ thing here. LGBTQ stuff...I think Colorado is mostly friendly there, but not sure about laws. Tax structure, I'm not sure what you mean by that. We have TABOR here (Taxpayer's Bill of Rights) which means among other things, that we vote on new taxes or increases. Most of the time people vote no, even if it's for a good reason that would benefit us, because people at least in the Springs, don't trust the government to do what we want them to with the money. But other parts of the state have different politics about people supporting tax efforts. We do have a state income tax, and it is significant. Washington does not have a state income tax, but will tax you to the moon and back on property and sales and such.


I have lived in Olympia, WA and feel pretty confident speaking about western WA in general...I've lived in Colorado Springs, and feel confident speaking about Colorado Springs, but not the rest of Colorado, as things like weather and political behavior do vary a lot in different parts of the state.
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Old 08-02-2017, 03:56 PM
 
9 posts, read 15,969 times
Reputation: 26
Thank you for your information, it's all very helpful! I understand I won't be able to tick off absolutely everything from my list, and so am willing on being flexible with a few points, so far CO may be winning out (cold, clammy WA winters sound horrible!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic_Spork View Post
- Lush GREEN Forest (preferably year round), Mountain views, Sunny-Partly Cloudy 280+ days a year, access to lakes/rivers/national parks

Green: Washington all day. Colorado goes brown when it's dry, and it's often dry.
Grey/Sun: Washington is grey a lot, but as long as like 10 minutes of sunshine in between grey gloomy mist is enough to keep you going... Colorado is sunny a lot, but has monsoon season where daily thunderstorms can happen.
How long do the thunderstorms typically last? I've been in FL during the summer and I really enjoyed the intense (but brief) 5 minute thunderstorms, also lived in NJ/MA and enjoyed brief summer storms there too. Does the Monsoon season translate into day/week long stretches of intense rain? Or is it more in short bursts?

- Not humid/muggy in summer or clammy in winter

Low humidity: Colorado wins. Washington has clammy winters that are wet, it might not even get that cold but it FEELS very cold, it gets under your skin. Winters in Colorado (as far as I've seen) are often sunny, but we get some snow events, but then it melts and is moderate again (temps often in the 50's and sunny.) Snow vanishes quickly, except at high altitude.
This is super helpful, I lived in Philly and the winter there sounds similar-ish to WA (not very cold overall, but the grey and freezing rain made it feel much colder) CO sounds great in this regard!

- Terrain relatively inoculated against increases in wild fires, drought, landslides, flooding

Colorado: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA....ha... You must be kidding. Colorado burns. Has droughts. Flash floods often, landslides depending on factors like deforestation due to fires. Rinse repeat.
--->Ha, Sort of kidding? (I don't know much about the western part of the country). Do you know of any parts of CO that are less at risk for wild fires and drought because their particular climate or microclimate? Trying to figure out what part of the state might have the least amount of problems in this regard (even though I know anywhere in CO will have some). Are there more temperate sections? (temperate for CO I mean)

Washington: Can also have these problems. But not as frequent a concern in one's life, as far as I can tell. However, be aware that the dirt in Washington is flammable. Good to know!

- Area hospitable to off grid living

No idea, especially with regard to WA. I do know that in Colorado, you're going to have more success with solar power, but you'll have to worry about getting water rights. Until last year, collecting rainwater in any way, deliberately, was illegal. The law changed last year, but it's still very limited. Here is a thing about that:
Collecting Rainwater Still Illegal in Much of Colorado - Lot-Lines very helpful, thanks!

Progressive tax structure a plus.

Tax structure, I'm not sure what you mean by that. We have TABOR here (Taxpayer's Bill of Rights) which means among other things, that we vote on new taxes or increases. Most of the time people vote no, even if it's for a good reason that would benefit us, because people at least in the Springs, don't trust the government to do what we want them to with the money. But other parts of the state have different politics about people supporting tax efforts. We do have a state income tax, and it is significant. Washington does not have a state income tax, but will tax you to the moon and back on property and sales and such.
-->Mainly I mean in terms of state budget/overall fiscal health. Illinois is one step away from "junk status." I just want to make sure the state I move to has at least basic funding for schools/roads/parks etc, as Illinois is in major trouble in that regard! I know states like Minnesota have more of a progressive tax structure with a frequent budget surplus.

I have lived in Olympia, WA and feel pretty confident speaking about western WA in general...I've lived in Colorado Springs, and feel confident speaking about Colorado Springs, but not the rest of Colorado, as things like weather and political behavior do vary a lot in different parts of the state.
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Old 08-02-2017, 04:13 PM
 
Location: Colorado
11,828 posts, read 7,297,740 times
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Re-reading what I said, I said we have "no" mosquitoes here in Colorado and that isn't right, I'm sure we have some, but I haven't noticed them. Not like in some states where you cannot HELP but notice them.

Regarding thunderstorms: For the last couple of weeks here in the Springs, we have had thunderstorms every day. Sometimes for maybe an hour, sometimes starting mid-afternoon and going all night long, but generally sunny and nice in the morning. But in this region of the country, RIGHT NOW is monsoon season. Recommend you choose a city on a map, somewhere in the part of the state you're interested in, and check one of the weather sites for forecasts to scope it out. Some areas get hit, some get missed. Colorado Springs has been swimming. But on the bright side...a.) Stuff isn't on fire, and b.) The plants are green. EDIT: I am not sure what the overall duration in terms of weeks/months monsoon season tends to be...hopefully someone who has lived here longer than me can chime in. It's usually in the later half of the summer, though.

I am not sure that any part of Colorado is a lot better or worse for wildfires, except in general geographic terms. Most of the forests are near the mountains. Anywhere that there is forest, there is serious fire danger. Out on the eastern plains, they get grass fires but those seem to be a lot easier to put out.

Also, proximity to the mountains means living in more rugged terrain, like canyons and such, which is where you get your worst flooding and landslide type stuff. The combination of a fire on a mountainside followed by rain, you get the mudslides, like the Waldo Canyon burn scar did.

Another point in favor of the eastern plains, and other flatter parts of the state, over the mountain/forest parts? While you might not be IN the lovely forests and mountains, you can sometimes SEE them better. I had a boyfriend who lived in a tiny town called Ellicott, and while it felt way out in the middle of nowhere, the views of the sky and the mountains were amazing. However, windstorms and tumbleweed invasions were bothersome things he dealt with. And once in a while they can even get tornadoes out east.
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Old 08-02-2017, 04:18 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 15 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,981 posts, read 102,540,351 times
Reputation: 33045
Re: Collecting rainwater in Colorado-from Sonic_Spork's link: "UPDATE: Collecting Rainwater in Colorado will be legal beginning on August 10, 2016. Please see our new post regarding the use of Rain Barrels in Colorado, and House Bill 16-1005."
Here's the updated link: Collecting Rainwater No Longer Illegal in Colorado - Lot-Lines

Last edited by Katarina Witt; 08-02-2017 at 04:32 PM.. Reason: Add Italics
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Old 08-02-2017, 04:19 PM
 
Location: The Berk in Denver, CO USA
14,014 posts, read 20,323,805 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by votz View Post
I'm looking to buy 20+ Acres of property
No, you are not.
You are looking to buy 35+ acres in Colorado.
If you don't know why this is the case, then learn about water.
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Old 08-02-2017, 04:48 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas, NV
1,313 posts, read 1,282,918 times
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Don't know if this is a factor, but Washington has no state income tax.
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Old 08-02-2017, 04:58 PM
 
3,883 posts, read 4,043,121 times
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" The idea is to create a "luxury" eco-village bed and breakfast/event hosting "camp" type place to host weddings and/or corporate retreats that can then in turn fund an artist residency."

I assume / hope you do extensive research (months / years?) about bed & breakfasts, "camp" type places, wedding facilities and corporate retreats. They are very different concepts requiring different levels of capital investment, substantial operating cash flow, expertise, staffing, etc. They are all competitive. You had better select the land very carefully to suit consumer preferences for its look and distance from airport & town, etc. and with detailed on the ground study of all your neighboring competition. Lots of similar efforts go down in flames for one or more reasons.

The comment above about 35 acres relates to subdivision laws. You might find some parcels near 20 acres but most undeveloped rural land can't be subdivided below 35 acres without local zoning action.


More commentary

Lush GREEN Forest (preferably year round) (Yes WA, No for most of Colorado outside the lushest valleys which will likely be the most expensive)

Sunny-Partly Cloudy 280+ days a year (Yes CO, no WA except possible a few places on east side of Cascades)

- Not humid/muggy in summer or clammy in winter (west of Cascade in WA disqualified for "clammy" winters)

- Four seasons, but none of them "extreme," I like snow but not the freezing cold! You should check how many sub-freezing and sub-zero days a place has. Use tables like this one https://wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/cliMAIN.pl?co7936


- Terrain relatively inoculated against increases in wild fires, drought, landslides, flooding (Stick to west WA then)

- No or very minimal misquitoes/ticks (they love me) Be above 8,000 feet and still get bitten at night but not like south or east US.



- Area hospitable to off grid living (very few places in CO and WA would qualify as "hospitable". Maybe NE WA but it is more ignorance / you take the risk. And almost nobody wants a B&B, wedding or corporate retreat there)

- Secluded but within 30 mins of small town and 2-4 hours of a major city with highly ranked gynecological/reproductive hospital departments. the later request will eliminate a lot of areas. Draw lines on maps for how far you are willing to drive and eliminate everything else



You are most likely going to have to compromise on something(s) because of the conflicts of wants/ can't haves.


Best choices imo might be Wenatchee WA or Salida CO.

Last edited by NW Crow; 08-02-2017 at 05:15 PM..
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Old 08-02-2017, 05:21 PM
 
Location: Black Forest, CO
1,512 posts, read 2,236,347 times
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You need to make a trip out to Colorado and Washington to see for yourself. Colorado is a high desert climate. Many people are surprised by that when they come here. And Washington has so many trees it seems claustrophobic to me.
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