The Way of the Buddha:
Develop Sanctuary With Working Utilities.

Essential to worker effectiveness are ease of movement, information, communication, drink, food, rest and comfort. These in turn require water, electricity, signal reception, gas, resting, cooking and eating facilities. Utilities support life. Here is wisdom.

A quote from my book, Grasshopper StickieNotes, version 9.9.2, which can be found only in the dark moist recesses of my frontal lobes.

September 14th to 16th 2010: Our first 'worker comfort' was a tent, a portable folding table from our car and a cooler for the beverages and food. This served our needs for three days and two nights. While I like camping, it was not a long-term solution for our needs.

Our initial planning focused on the necessity of getting an approved percolation test for a septic system. A successful wet-weather percolation test had been done by George Ebejer and paid for by the seller before we bought the land. But, we still had to prove there was sufficient water to support our planned home before the County would issue a building permit.

Drilling a well was a huge investment with NO promise of success. The first risk was in not findng sufficient water in the hole we drilled. You will need at least 3 gallons per minute (GPM). Five GPM is the pumping rate of most deep-well pumps. A 5 GPM pumpout rate with a 3 GPM refresh rate means your pump will suck air and burn out. And if the well had a 'flow rate' of five gallons per minute (GPM), or less, then we'd have to dig deeper and/or create a backup storage system. There were risks that the required water laboratory test might prove there was too much arsenic and or other harmful chemicals in our water.

We had paid $12,000 for the land, plus closing costs (another $670) and the money spent on searching for the land (estimated at $6,000), about $18,670 total so far. Now, toss on the costs of drilling a well. Pretty soon you're talking serious money!

If we got a bad well, then it would be ALL FOR NAUGHT! That's like going to Las Vegas and tossing $30,000 on a single roll of the dice! A good roll (good water) means, "We Win!" A bad roll (bad water) means, "Here's Your Sign (L)!" Depending on the driller and the general topography of the land, our odds were somewhat better than 50/50.

I spent a while on the phone talking with Realtors, neighbors and well drillers for advice. If we were lucky with the well then we still would have to spend lots of money to get the water and septic systems installed. We got rough estimates of $10,000 to $30,000 for the well system and $4,000 to $8,000 for the septic system.

Electricity, whether by solar power or by Pacific Power and Light (PPL), was estimated between $12,000 and $25,000.

Installing propane gas pipe was estimated at $1,000+/-. Propane tank rental was from $75 to $150 per year.

Temporary 'housing' and toilet were another matter. A Port-A-Potty could be rented for $65-120 per month. We could rent a trailer in the KRCE campground for a few dollars per day (about half the cost of a Motel 6), BUT we could only stay up to 60 days.... Not very helpful. Local rents were $600 per month, for an unfurnished apartment, or $400 per month for a furnished single room... Not very good either. We could camp on the land for up to 30 days (TOTAL) per 'rolling' calendar year.

A helpful woman in the Building and Health Department said, "Well, that's all true, but....." and then she went on to explain that there was a fairly 'nice' loophole we could take advantage of. If we had an RV we could stay in it for temporary shelter during the construction period. We'd have a toilet and could dump the sewage at an RV dumping site. No harm, no foul. We had no RV at the time so I rented a room from a lady living near Unit #1 so I could have shelter.

Loopholes have a nasty way of disappearing. I recommend that you check with the County folks to be sure of the current rules before you try to do this. And, the KRCE CC&Rs have a restriction against camping on our land. The County folks said an RV is NOT camping. KRCE Board of Directors, beg to differ on this point. BUYER BEWARE! We need a change to the CC&Rs.


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