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Old 06-08-2011, 08:13 AM
207 posts, read 520,825 times
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I'm looking at a 'ranchette' of 40 acres. The seller said there were no covenants. Does that mean no rules? If I want to build a cabin with an outhouse and later get home owners insurance then I will have to have it inspected, right? Or get electric run to it, I should have a licensed elec. contractor do the wiring and get it inspected, right? Also, can I typically subdivide it and sell parts of it later?
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Old 06-08-2011, 10:00 AM
Location: near harrisburg pa
58 posts, read 124,136 times
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pretty much no rules as far as the style of house , what the exterior can look like etc , you will still have building codes if they are required in your area

for me i bought land with covenants , some pretty easy ones to help keep the value of the property , i certainly wouldnt want someone buying a chunk of land beside mine and putting a pig farm or what ever on it to lower the value of the property .
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Old 06-08-2011, 10:05 AM
10,035 posts, read 36,352,364 times
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No covenants means that the seller's HOA for the subdivision ... if there is a HOA ... has no rules regarding land use, minimum house requirements, fees, etc.

You will then be regulated by the county or municipality that has control of the area. Depending upon the gov't agency control, you may/may not be subject to zoning requirements, building codes/inspections, etc. The State Engineer's office can issue permits for a domestic well and septic system if in an area not served by a water & sewer district.

Your best course of action will be to get the legal description of the property under purchase consideration and head over to the municipality, zoning & planning departments, or the county agencies that cover your area.

Typically, it may be difficult to further subdivide a 40 acre rural parcel without doing a full platt, providing improved roads/utilities, and making provision for water/sewer. But the real answer for a specific property will come from the Z&P department, the State Engineer's office, and so forth.

Your insurance agent will be your resource for their requirements as to the quality of construction, building codes, etc ... that they expect to insure (or not).

You may find yourself in an area that has no services, such as a fire department ... which can adversely affect whether or not you can get structure fire insurance. Again, you need to check with the local authorities to find out before you purchase a property.

Do keep in mind that when you purchase a small property (40 acres) with no covenants or restrictions, you may find that your adjacent 40's are unrestricted regarding activities which may affect your quiet enjoyment of your property.

I'll again remind you to personally verify everything about a property of concern to you with the authorities. Do not take anything for granted, and do not take the representations of the sales agent as correct or completely truthful. For example, you need to do your own verification of water availability and quality ... at your own expense ... even if there's an existing source of water, you need to run full spectrum quality tests on it for your purposes.
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Old 06-08-2011, 10:38 AM
207 posts, read 520,825 times
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Thanks SunSpirit, that makes sense.
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Old 06-08-2011, 10:59 AM
Location: Lead/Deadwood, SD
948 posts, read 2,053,278 times
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Great advise/info Sunspirit - In my area it is the county that issues the septic permits (which are also subject to state guidelines).
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Old 06-08-2011, 01:56 PM
Location: Auburn
2,672 posts, read 3,711,830 times
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and if you want to keep the cows out that mile of fence for materials will run around $3500+, then you have labor, most bid will come in at $3/foot so just going that way it cost you $15,840 matirial and labor
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Old 06-08-2011, 04:13 PM
10,035 posts, read 36,352,364 times
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Originally Posted by jody_wy View Post
and if you want to keep the cows out that mile of fence for materials will run around $3500+, then you have labor, most bid will come in at $3/foot so just going that way it cost you $15,840 matirial and labor
Seems kinda' strong for our area of Wyoming.

I'd figure 330 t-posts on 16' centers, homemade ranch gates, and misc wood corner posts (I use a post driver and pointed 5" dia posts) and reinforcing posts, along with 4 strands of mid-grade ($62.00 per 1/4 mile roll) 4" on center barb wire. Somewhere around $3,000 for materials.

Locally, the guys who can do quality fencing will charge $65/hour, and I've seen two-man operations set 1/4 mile a day ... sometimes more, sometimes less, depending upon terrain. The sharp operators have a hydraulic post pounder mounted on a skidsteer, although mine is set-up on my 4020 tractor, and can punch in posts pretty quickly if they have decent access.

At $65/hour x 32 billable hours, that's $2,080. Even if they run an extra day or two, it's still nowhere near $15,840 to install that mile of legal 4-wire fence.

Wyoming statutes provide for the adjoining property owners to split the cost of a new fence for "fence out" properties. However, you need to determine if your subdivision is really open range which mandates "fence out" responsibilities, or if the subdivision is now a residential area where the open range statutes do not apply. If they don't apply, then the rancher subdividing the property needs to fence in his livestock.

These issues (and the financial responsibility) are the source of more than one falling out amongst neighbors, and it's a whole 'nother area that
needs to be investigated before you ever purchase a property in rural areas, especially one with no covenants to spell out the residential area. Additionally, your local sheriff's department may have their own views of what is open range or not. Wyoming is rapidly becoming something other than "open range" for a lot of the state where subdivisions are platted for development ... but what a Z&P department asserts may be different from what a deputy or brand inspector decides is the situation in a given area.

Even at that, you are still faced with actually getting money from the other party. In my case, some of my neighbors know that it will cost me as much in non-recoverable legal fees and court costs as it will to collect from them, so they just laugh and don't pay up.

No doubt you can get some pricey bids for an installed fence. But that doesn't mean that you have to do business with the folks that are quoting that price ... or that you can't do the fence install yourself. Generally, you can rent a post hole digger for the wood posts and buy a modestly priced t-post pounder at the box store. Unless you have a neighbor with a hydraulic post pounder who will rent or loan it to you, you cannot rent one of these units; you can only buy one to use. Believe me, I tried to rent one for years, and nobody will rent one ... afraid of the liability. These are much more dangerous to use than a post hole digger ... or so that's what they tell me.
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Old 06-08-2011, 08:45 PM
Location: Auburn
2,672 posts, read 3,711,830 times
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all post have to be at least 20 inches deep, to collect on breaching livestock
(i) A fence made of steel, concrete or sound wooden posts and three (3) spans of barbed wire not more than fifteen (15) inches or less than ten (10) inches apart, or two (2) spans of barbed wire with a wooden rail on top. Wooden posts shall be at least four (4) inches in diameter. Posts shall be set firmly in the ground at least twenty (20) inches deep, at no greater distance apart than twenty-two (22) feet between the posts or thirty-three (33) feet with at least two (2) iron or wooden stays between the posts. Stays shall be placed equal distance apart from themselves and the post on either side;
Chapter 28 - Fences And Cattle Guards :: Title 11 - Agriculture, Livestock And Other Animals :: 2010 Wyoming Code :: Wyoming Code :: US Codes and Statutes :: US Law :: Justia

cost also [SIZE=3]depends also on terrain, snow load etc. wire stays and steel post will not work in heavy snow loads, wood stays run $2-3/apce .[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3] Lowest bid here is for 4 wire high tensile with one wire that can be hot, but that includes buried insulated wire at gates is still $2/foot.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3] Alot of the 40 acre developments have leasted out the grazing and new lot owners have to fence out. but them most those development sell on a realestate contract and get to resell alot of those 40 a few times , after people have seen what they bought at what they though was a great price and just walk away from the payments.[/SIZE]
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Old 06-09-2011, 04:50 AM
Location: Denver, CO
14 posts, read 34,935 times
Reputation: 35
Speaking from personal experience with our 35 acres in Platte County, there are very stringent requirements such as lined, regular cleaning, rodent proof, etc for outhouses in WY. With the requirements, you might as well put in a septic system.

You should check with the County and State to find out what is needed.
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Old 06-09-2011, 10:54 AM
255 posts, read 331,467 times
Reputation: 344
A “covenant” is simply an extra-legal restriction placed on a particular piece of property by the seller. It may have a limited or unlimited timeframe.

Extra-legal in this case means that it is a restriction that is unique to a particular piece of property and has no bearing on any other piece of property.

For example: I sell you a piece of property and include a covenant in the deed that no structure constructed on this property for the next 67 years may be painted orange. No matter how many times this property is sold for the next 67 years the covenant is a legal restriction on the property that can be enforced by law.

Conservation easements are a form of covenant.

Speaking only for Sheridan County all building construction beyond municipal limits must meet all of the County codes for any and all structures constructed anywhere in the County.

The fact that a building permit may not be required outside of a particular designated area associated with municipalities [called Comprehensive Planning Zones] does not mean that the full force of the building codes is not in affect. It simply means that a building permit may not be required and that the odds of government oversight may be less or practically non-existent. The County even refers the area where building permits are required as the “Code Enforcement Area” but makes it clear that the codes are still relevant and enforceable outside of these designated areas.

I suspect the other counties in Wyoming have similar rules.

The following are [paraphrased/edited] snippets from and earlier post on the subject of Sheridan County codes:

In general Wyoming residential building construction codes are municipal or county. For Sheridan County the basic building codes are the "IRC [International Residential Code]", which covers 1 and 2 family residences and the "IBC [International Building Code]", which covers everything else. These codes, in turn, sometimes reference other codes; for instance when it comes to barrier-free construction.

Sheridan County also references the National Electrical Code, which, to my understanding, for 1 and 2 family residences, is also the only State-wide building code. As such, even though it is referenced by both the City of Sheridan and Sheridan County and you must follow it, neither entity enforces it because it is a State code. Also, the State only enforces it up to the exterior face of the shell of the house. Therefore, inside the house there is no enforcement of the electrical code anywhere in Sheridan County.

While the City of Sheridan & Sheridan County building code lists don't match exactly they do as far as the County is concerned. That is according to a county building code official. The following list of relevant and enforceable codes is from the City of Sheridan website.

The “International Building Code” 2006 Edition, published by the International Code Council, as amended
The “International Residential Code” 2006 Edition, published by the International Code Council, as amended
The “International Existing Building Code” 2006 Edition, published by the International Code Council, as amended
The “International Fuel Gas Code” 2006 Edition, published by the International Code Council, as amended
The “International Plumbing Code” 2006 Edition, in its entirety, published by the International Code Council, as amended
The “International Mechanical Code” 2006 Edition, published by the International Code Council, as amended
The “Uniform Code for the Abatement of Dangerous Building”, 1997 Edition as adopted and published by the International Conference of Building Officials, as amended
The “National Electric Code” 2008 Edition, as adopted and published by the National Fire Protection Association, as amended
The “International Fire Code” 2006 Edition, published by the International Code Council, as amended

There are only four incorporated municipalities in Sheridan County - Sheridan, Ranchester, Dayton and Clearmont. Each of those 4 municipalities has jurisdiction within their boundaries. The County has jurisdiction everywhere else. "Everywhere else" means that while you still have to follow all of the codes only some places require a building permit. Which places? Well there is no published map of the County that shows exactly where a permit is required but there is one at the County Public Works Department office and you can go there to find out.

Let's take Sheridan for example. The City has jurisdiction within the "City Limits". Around the City is a “Comprehensive Planning Zone”. You can see this zone on the Sheridan Public Works web site. Within this area the County has jurisdiction. The final arbiter of the boundaries of this zone are the County building officials according to their map in the County Public Works Department office.

Outside of the Comprehensive Planning Zone around Sheridan is "no man's land" where no building permit is required. Careful though - Planning and/or Zoning rules still apply and permits concerning planning and zoning issues may be required. So what are the boundaries of this no man's land? Again you'll have to go see the map in the County office.

Bottom line is this. Before you buy a house lot, much less build in Sheridan County, it is wise to find out if it is in one of the 4 incorporated municipalities and meet with the appropriate officials to find out what you are or are not allowed to do. If it is not within one of those 4 municipalities they will tell you. Then you need to contact Sheridan County to get guidance from there.
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