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Old 02-08-2021, 10:56 AM
Location: State of Transition
88,718 posts, read 82,858,014 times
Reputation: 93379


Originally Posted by sacreole View Post
Yes, I understood the OP’s intentions but I thought I’d suggest Rio Dell and Arcata for consideration since these smaller communities are located in forested areas known for their liberal socio-political orientations. I’m not much into identity politics or intersectionality, but the mayor of Rio Dell happens to be Black, female and lesbian.
I looked up Rio Dell mayor/council. Fascinating. The Mayor is not an election position; it's an appointed position by the city council. The city council & mayoralty seem to be mostly women. Thx for the info!
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Old 02-08-2021, 11:36 AM
Location: Lifelong SoCalian
560 posts, read 232,819 times
Reputation: 1719
Ojai -- near Ventura and Santa Barbara
Idyllwild -- near Palm Springs and Riverside
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Old 02-08-2021, 03:15 PM
Location: Northern California
71,571 posts, read 5,727,562 times
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Not sure how far North you want to go/not go, but Chico is a fairly liberal town, Chico State also has some recitals & plays to go to, ( when it's not covid) About an hour North of Sacramento. Or half hour from Paradise which has some cheap lots right now. It is Northern CA, but still a few hours drive to get to the Oregon border, so not ultra North. Plenty of forest land to explore.
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Old 02-08-2021, 03:17 PM
6 posts, read 2,491 times
Reputation: 15
Sorry if I wasn't clear, I'm not from CA (as I'm sure you can tell) so my only reference to a super gay/liberal city would be Sacramento. I was using it more as an example. Suggestions for other small towns near liberal big cities, I'd still love to hear if my other preferences mostly apply!
I know that it might seem contradictory, to not want many neighbors yet care about where I live but, again, it's for my family's safety so merely existing in a city that I know may be slightly more tolerant is crucial. I really appreciate all these responses. A lot of these such as Guerneville and Felton were on my list of places to look. Thank you all so much!
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Old 02-08-2021, 04:24 PM
Location: Richmond, CA
1,052 posts, read 838,255 times
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Guerneville and Felton, as mentioned previously, as well as Ojai. Usually the more liberally minded, the more strict the development controls, so you'll want to find a happy balance. Also consider the Central Coast. A town like Cambria might be to your liking, but it's not as well known for its LGBTQ community compared to a town like Guerneville. But this is California, so you should be fine, especially the closer to LA, the Bay Area, or the Pacific Ocean you go. Do keep in mind that Felton has a higher risk of fire than Guerneville, and pretty much anything in So Cal has fire risk too. I'm not as familiar with it, but perhaps Idyllwild? It's not that far from Palm Springs, which is very LGBTQ friendly.
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Old 02-09-2021, 09:10 AM
Location: NW Nevada - and the world
796 posts, read 301,314 times
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I agree about the smaller communities in the Coachella Valley/Palm Springs area, much different ecosystem than northern California but very LGBTQ friendly as mentioned. Pricey unless you want a house trailer or a small apartment, though. I am familiar with Santa Cruz County having property there for many years, it is a nice area, not super liberal (outside of Santa Cruz) sure but very accepting; the problem is cost again, though outside the city limits of Capitola, Aptos, Santa Cruz the building requirements are slightly more relaxed than some other places in the greater Bay Area.
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Old 02-09-2021, 09:17 AM
Location: State of Transition
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OP, when considering Guerneville, be sure to buy (or rent) on high ground. The river floods.
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Old 02-09-2021, 06:41 PM
Location: Northern California
2,241 posts, read 1,165,108 times
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Old 02-11-2021, 10:58 AM
6 posts, read 3,488 times
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Originally Posted by solsisterr View Post
Hoping to move to CA with my significant other.

We prefer a place with forest/trees (not desert), and a small town that is either liberal or fairly close (30ish min) to a large town (like Sacramento). As previously stated, we're gay and POC so feeling safe is very important to us.
We are intending on building a tiny home with little to no neighbors, so zoning restrictions is something we'll look into once we have a couple cities in mind.
Not looking too far north. We prefer warmer climate but I know the more south you go in CA, the more desert there is so we're searching for that perfect middle ground of trees and warmth.
Thanks for reading/any info provided!

Hi! Couple points:

1. You really need to give us a budget or you are wasting all of our times. Don't mean to be harsh, but any place in CA that is within 30 minutes of a big city is going to be expensive for what you get.

2. Much of the advice given so far is mediocre and uninformed. People on this forum often tend to just read one or two sentences from a post and don't process all the things a poster is looking for. Or maybe they just know what I'm about to tell you, and are just nice and still want to help you anyway despite knowing that nothing really matches your list.

-If you are not flexible on the "30 minutes to a city" or the gay-friendly, racially tolerant, and lax zoning laws, then literally none of the suggestions mentioned will work. You will have to compromise on one of those things.

-Many towns listed are in counties with strict zoning rules, and may not be thrilled with a tiny home unless it meets a lot of specifications that it may be expensive to reach. Again, what is your budget for land? Are you comfortable with paying to connect to utilities on an undeveloped lot, or going offgrid? Your budget can't just include land purchase costs and home materials. The fact you are mentioning tiny homes implies to me that you do not have a massive budget. But you may just be interested in that for carbon footprint reasons, which is admirable.

I'll give the negatives on the previously mentioned areas before I hit the positives.


-Scotts Valley: more of a suburb than a real "town" like many of the others listed. Very white, conservative for Santa Cruz County, with a longtime nest of Klan just outside city limits in Lompico and Zayante. Expensive, and nowhere that anyone is building tiny homes. Good place to live if you are white, conservative, and have kids into sports or cheerleading.

-Pine Mountain Club: Beautiful area, not liberal, far from Los Angeles. Middle of nowhere.

-Palm Springs area: you mentioned you don't like desert, that should rule this out. However, Idyllwild is at elevation, forested, and not far from Palm Springs. Not sure how liberal it is, but it is a neat area. PS is one of the most gay-friendly cities in America, but expensive now and not a half hour to LA.

-Arcata: five hours to SF, 3 hours to Redding (not really a big city), very isolated, cold. Town is liberal, but surprisingly expensive for what you get. Massive social problems as well for such a pricey place to live. Very white, but people are fairly tolerant.

Better options, with compromises:

-Nevada City: This is a pretty good suggestion. More affordable land, very liberal town. Not diverse that I know of, but lots of white hippie types who try to be "live and let live". Beautiful scenery. An hour to Sacramento. So outside your 30 minute zone, but if you can compromise on that, this would be a better pick than most.

-Guerneville: 1:30 to SF in good conditions, much further with traffic. However, it is very gay-friendly and beautiful. It is also super-expensive, and even a lot for a tiny home will cost a lot. Not sure of how tight Sonoma zoning is.

Best pick:

Felton: Ruth gave you the best option, in my opinion. A half hour to San Jose, 20 minutes to Santa Cruz. Fairly liberal, though it also has a redneck element. Gorgeous spot in the redwoods, cute shopping area, nice people. I know several nonwhite women who lived there without any racial weirdness of which I'm aware. Santa Cruz County is pretty supportive of tiny homes, but here's the downside. All the real estate in the area is expensive, and that which isn't expensive is difficult to develop.

Summary: A lot of people get sold on a media-fed vision of California that doesn't match reality. The Blue counties are tolerant and diverse, tend to have lots of jobs, but are super-expensive and have tough zoning laws. The Red counties are culturally conservative, mostly white and religious like most of rural America and have fewer jobs, but tend to have more lax zoning laws and cheaper land for developing projects like tiny houses or offgrid housing.

Your vision of a cute, gay-friendly, racially tolerant town within 30 minutes of a major city that ALSO has cheap land for tiny homes with no nearby neighbors just doesn't exist anywhere in California. Sorry to break the news to you, but that is just the way it is. Felton is probably as close as you are going to get, and I would suggest you take a look at the real estate prices there and then come back to chat with us. I think that will help you sort out your thought processes a little bit. If the prices don't work for you, then I would suggest expanding your search to other states.

California, particularly the liberal, tolerant areas, is for rich people now, and not really anyone else.
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Old 02-16-2021, 12:49 PM
3 posts, read 853 times
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The Placerville area is nice. Without knowing your budget, it's also affordable. It also offers just about anything you want. If you want to be away from population, there are areas that are very close that seem like you're off the grid. If you want to have the benefits of suburbia (stores, restaurants, etc.), drive 30 minutes west to Folsom or EDH. If you want cheaper (relatively) then there are many options. There is a lot of undeveloped land. As far as culture, you have everything. I've been here a while and know many couples you describe. Liberal/Tolerant? Plenty of liberals&Plenty of conservatives, and it ends upmaking this place a fairly tolerant area. If you're hoping to find an area that is really culturally homogenous to the left, you might have trouble finding a place like that in foothill towns, but the good part is that people here get along, probably because there are many people from lots of backgrounds in the area. It's very safe here no matter what your background is. Zoning is not crazy, but can't speak to tiny homes. Tahoe is close. If you want to be warmer, drive a few miles down the hill where it hardly ever snows. Like snow, drive 20 minutes east in the winter, and there's often snow. We have a nice Med Center at Marshall but I'm biased!
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