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Old 11-27-2012, 01:05 PM
 
65 posts, read 60,041 times
Reputation: 74
Default Adobe/Earthbag stucture friendly counties.

I am looking around the South West for a rural parcel, probably around NW Texas New Mexico border.

Off-grid survival housing is a hobby and I am looking forward to building a earthbag adobe, anyone have any recommendations as where to look where I might find minimal red tape?

Research suggests Texas is a oddball state in regards to build requirements, Statewide "guidelines" with local jurisdiction determining whats enforced, if anything.
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:04 PM
 
Location: Southern end of the Great Plains
7,353 posts, read 6,928,427 times
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I see a fellow building a house out of two RR boxcars east of Plainview, Texas in Hale County. I would think you could use anything to build a home outside of a town or incorporated limits but a call to the particular county in question would be advised. If you plan to build inside a town limits thereby using some of the town utilities, the restrictions could get pretty sticky. I do know that in Texas you now need at least 10 acres to get a new septic system approved by the county. I believe though you can find an older one that is grandfathered in but I'm not sure.

There are some adobe building still in place around the High Plains and in new Mexico but I don't know if they can still be approved. My guess is that out in any county you could still use adobe with no questions asked. However, I don't know.
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:51 PM
 
Location: Sunny Arizona
625 posts, read 1,051,061 times
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I did a little poking around for you because I too am interested in that type of housing, though I'm leaning towards cob myself.

Found this link here that is a cob home in Lockhart Texas: I Love Cob! : Fruth and Brown Cob House

And this link from CBS news in Houston that says that Texas is one of the few states that has cities and towns that allow cob construction: Cob Homes: Artsy, Inexpensive To Build CBS Houston

I agree with the advice that you'll need to find out more information wherever you settle, but it's a promising start.
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Old 11-28-2012, 02:21 PM
 
2,209 posts, read 1,802,680 times
Reputation: 1975
Fire ants.

A friend looked into this. He later went with ICF instead.

I think you'd be better off using ICF in TX for the same reasons.

ICF Homes - Insulating Concrete Forms
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:26 PM
 
Location: Sunny Arizona
625 posts, read 1,051,061 times
Reputation: 486
Hmm. Yes, I hadn't considered fire ants. In that case I like superadobe. lol
Interesting about ICF though...thanks for the link.
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Old 11-29-2012, 10:18 AM
 
Location: Austin, Texas
53 posts, read 34,641 times
Reputation: 60
Terlingua, Texas would probably be your best bet. Hope you don't mind extremes in weather!
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:23 AM
 
270 posts, read 227,333 times
Reputation: 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yojimbo11 View Post
I am looking around the South West for a rural parcel, probably around NW Texas New Mexico border.

Off-grid survival housing is a hobby and I am looking forward to building a earthbag adobe, anyone have any recommendations as where to look where I might find minimal red tape?

Research suggests Texas is a oddball state in regards to build requirements, Statewide "guidelines" with local jurisdiction determining whats enforced, if anything.
I believe, and I could be wrong that counties in Texas are not allowed to have any zoning. That said, any land in a subdivision will have deed restrictions. It is a non-government way of having zoning. It is part of the Texas culture that your land is yours.

In Orange county, after hurricane Rita, I rebuilt my house. ( ) that was all the government paper work I did. When I built my storage building ( ) that was all the government paper work I did.

After Ike, the county got real strict. I had to get a building permit. Now this doesn't mean much. I went down and told them I needed a building permit. They required me an elevation certificate. (My house flooded as did about half of the western part of the county so they were a little sensitive.) There were no inspections of any sort. There cannot be, there are no inspectors. All the county wants to know is: How much do charge in taxes and or you going to be a major problem after a major disaster?

The state on the other hand can be a little touchy. Depending on the type of soil you have, the septic system must be approved. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ)

TCEQ Homepage )

can be very stern. A sewer system will be brought into compliance or you will be tarred and feathered and run out of the state on a rail. (That may be a small exaggeration) Also the TCEQ is harder on people destroying wetlands than the EPA.

I might recommend you check out the Marfa, Alpine, Fort Davis area. It is high desert and earthen construction is not new to them. Additionally Marfa has a reputation for having some free thinkers in its town.

Out in West Texas you will need to be sure you can get a water source. While I don't believe that they have the water rights laws like Colorado, there have been issues with water.

Cheers
Qazulight
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:25 PM
 
Location: Texas
530 posts, read 280,341 times
Reputation: 465
Austin is lousy with regulations. They got a little power and are coming down on all types of alternative housing/building here! Sucks!!!!
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:27 PM
 
Location: Southern end of the Great Plains
7,353 posts, read 6,928,427 times
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Basically, in rural Texas, you own the water under your land, or for that matter, all that you can suck from under your land and from under neighbor's land. Right now, it's first come, first served but I do expect to see a county water meter at my well head before I get put in a pine box.
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