Owning the Land & Marking Our Driveway

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Updated April 21, 2020
It's Our Land!

Can you believe it? We are officially land owners! 

We searched for several weeks back in December for a place to build our own sustainable off-grid homestead, and boy did we find a gem. 

We got connected to a realtor in Cochise County and she helped us search all of the RU-4 properties in the area we were interested in. We found some properties that would do just fine, but we weren’t excited about them. It wasn’t until we came across this piece of land that everything just clicked. Except for one major issue. It was not zoned RU-4.

This began our long journey of re-zoning the property with the county. The planning and zoning department of Cochise County have been a huge help to us. They helped us find the correct forms to fill out and we went through the process of submitting our application for re-zoning, paying the fees, waiting, attending the meeting, waiting, and attending the last and final zoning meeting where we were approved for re-zoning.

Shew, we’ve fought hard for this land and it was worth it. Now comes the fun part.

Now that we own the land, what's next?

Well, before we can move out here, we have to get our permits. And before we get our permits, we have to submit our house plans, and before we submit our houseplant we have to have our septic plan and the septic test holes dug.

Well, check, check, and almost check.

We’ve had our septic test holes dug and we’ve created our house plans and submitted them to the county. Now, we wait the allotted 5-10 business days before we have our permits in hand.

It's so nice having Jonathan be able to draw out our land to scale on the computer so we can really begin to picture what will be where. It makes moving things a bit easier as well.

Site Plan

With 11 acres, we knew we wanted our house to be as close to the middle of the land as possible. There are 4 lots attached to ours that we hope to buy eventually, which would give us plenty of room to spread out and lots of room for animals! In the event that we aren’t able to purchase the extra 4 lots, we’ll still be in the middle of our 11 acres which will allow us to have plenty of privacy.

Now that we have the site plan and measurements, we were able to take those plans to the land and start measuring, staking, and putting up line to mark our driveway. Let me tell you, if the stores do not have proper landscaping stakes, DO NOT use shims. HA! We knew it wasn’t the best idea, but they didn’t have any stakes when we needed them. Let’s just say, that didn’t work.

Our second day out at the property we were armed with the proper stakes and twine to lay out the driveway. This worked much better. We also picked up a measuring wheel that was a game changer! This allowed us to walk the length of the driveway and mark where the top of the loop will be. We also were able to measure the width of the driveway much faster with the wheel, as well as double check measurements from our property lines.

We also splurged and purchased a Gorilla Cart

Gorilla Cart

This thing is a beast! It can hold 1200 lbs which will come in handy when we begin building our home! I know we'll be using this thing all the time. From moving rocks and limbs, mixing cement, and even just hauling out all our supplies while we marked the driveway. It was a huge help and worth every penny.

Armed with plenty of stakestwine, and water, we finally finished marking the driveway…after the 4th attempt. We walked it several times checking our measurements, and once we were set on it, we took the twine down and left up the stakes. This way when the free range cattle come back, they won’t be dragging our line and stakes everywhere (again).

After the driveway was finished we marked out where we’ll park the Airstream and where our fresh water tank will go. Eventually we hope to build a massive rainwater catchment system, but for now, we’ll have it hauled in when we need it.

Tiny Shiny Homestead

We don’t have any plans to go back out to the property until our permits are in hand and we have the approval to move the Airstream there. The countdown is on. We should be out there on or before May 1st! Then the real fun begins!

We just want to say thank you, again. So many have reached out and encouraged us and asked us how we're doing with this transition. It means so much to us to have you cheering us on from all over the country. Thank you!

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Ashley Longnecker

About the Author

Ashley Longnecker is the fiercely independent tattooed and dreaded half of Tiny Shiny Home. She's a woodworker, photographer and maker of delicious baked goods. She loathes schedules and makes every day an adventure.

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Posted April 21, 2020

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