Author Topic: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.  (Read 17980 times)

Offline Doc K

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I wanted to share my vision, largely based on Jack's interviews and podcasts, of creating an intentional community. I have read through the now dead post on Jack's ecovillage. I totally understand that this idea is not for everyone. But it is a viable option for many. I already have quite a few individuals interested in my project.

Please feel free to read through my article. Let me know if you have any questions, and please let me know if you are interested in joining me in this endeavor. I'd love to have a bunch of TSP-ers as part of the community!

http://tcpermaculture.com/site/2013/09/24/my-plan-for-an-intentional-community/

All the best!
Doc K

Offline backwoods_engineer

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Re: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2013, 09:09:16 AM »
 :popcorn: :popcorn:

I want to do something like this myself, except with family.

Offline konaexpress

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Re: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2013, 09:34:00 AM »
That was a fun read I must say. I like your idea and Jacks idea but Texas gets to dang hot! Lived there for a few years many years ago. It would be very hard to live off grid with that kind of heat. Never lived in Tennessee, how is the heat and humidity.


John

Offline Doc K

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Re: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2013, 10:09:07 AM »
Family is the whole reason I am doing this. Come along, and bring the family with you! :)

Tennessee can get hot and humid, but so can many other parts of the country. I lived in Minnesota for 4 years and the summers were almost as bad as when I live in South Florida. However, I think that Tennessee is a more forgiving climate than Texas. Western TN, along the Mississippi can get pretty uncomfortable, but central and easter TN is not bad. I lived just north of Nashville, in Kentucky, for a number of years, and I loved the four distinct seasons. With a properly designed home, a person could easily live off grid there.

Offline Longsnowsm

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Re: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2013, 10:47:14 AM »
We are looking at the community land trust model ourselves for our homestead plans.  We are currently looking in the south west or south central area of MO to do the same things your thinking.  I think this makes far more sense to focus on a community model than to try to do this alone.  There is strength in numbers if planned and executed well.  The challenge is finding like minded people who share your vision for community goals, dreams, aspirations, and land use criteria.

We considered existing intentional communities, but many of those appear to be geared to specific religious, dietary, or other political agendas that are possibly counter to our desire to survive.  So we are considering the idea that we need to start our own and put the land into a community trust.  I would love to hear more about how your plan goes and what you learn as you go through this process.

Take Care,
Longsnowsm

Offline kckndrgn

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Re: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2013, 12:07:58 PM »
I think this is an interesting concept, and one that I am looking into.

I will agree on the weather/climate.  I lived in MN for 20+ years, moved to West TN and have been here 15 years. I have family around the country, and the more I look at things the more I think East TN is the better place to be, climate wise.

Offline fred.greek

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Re: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2013, 12:21:58 PM »
Just posting links for thought, the folks at “Survival and Self Reliance” have had preliminary intentional community creation thoughts posted for awhile. 

http://www.ssrsi.org/Onsite/ConArt/megnewgroup.htm
and
http://www.ssrsi.org/os1/CSRS/summit1.htm

While their posted approach is sort of a mini-version of the “Free State” project, enticing like minded individuals to buy / relocate to the same small town, they do have a “checklist” of resources desired to be near their community.

If nothing else their site has other potentially useful information.
http://www.ssrsi.org/toc.htm

For a lot of people out there, their greatest source of “cash” is their IRA / 401k.  With a cooperative account custodian, funds from these accounts can be used to purchase shares in the central corporation, and the land lease, and even land itself can be owned as an asset within the IRA / 401k.

There are of course restrictions on use of IRA owned real estate, but in an intentional community there would be ways to work it for everyone to live in the same area.

My generic notes related to the aspects of a long term sustainable community are at:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/11849883/Sustainable-Civilization-From-the-Grass-Roots-Up

Food productions specific notes:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/38915649/Micro-Environment-Subsistence-System-Sustainable-Civilization

Offline fred.greek

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Re: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2013, 12:51:13 PM »
Before marketing shares or seeking investors, I would check with qualified legal counsel regarding the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) rule re qualified / accredited investors.  I have read “horror stories” of the SEC stomping on small projects…

Offline OutWestTX

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Re: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2013, 01:19:47 PM »
Fred beat me to it, but definitely get legal counsel and "qualified" is the key word on finding the right attorney.  I know of a project in another state that went horribly wrong because of legal issues that arrose after people were living on the property. 

Offline rdg6pk

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Re: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2013, 03:21:34 PM »
Like the idea and although I am in Central Fl. I am interested. Do you have anyone researching legal ramifications?

Offline Doc K

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Re: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2013, 03:45:56 PM »
Fred - thanks for the links. I'll be reading through those when I get a chance here soon.

I have a number of friends who are lawyers who will be reading through my initial idea and business plan. I will then hire/retain a lawyer who specializes in this area of law to review and help with all of this. I am going to be methodical and above-board on this. I have to be.

If anyone is seriously interested. Please PM me.

Doc K

Offline Cedar

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Re: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2013, 04:24:23 PM »
I soooooo know of a perfect spot on a large bit of land, off the beaten path more than I am, on a salmon river, wells, springs, creek, with houses and cabins, main cook house, a large 'gathering building', barns.. etc.. I seriously want a special person to get this one. I would take it in a heartbeat. The price tag is $500K.

Cedar

Offline FrugalFannie

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Re: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2013, 04:40:40 PM »
tagged.

You can sell 'shares' without SEC involvement. It's called people going into business together.I have a corporation and recently sold a portion of it to my new partner.

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2013, 05:14:07 PM »
MODERATOR'S NOTE:

Discussion of general plans for how one might organize an intentional community are fine here.  The moment it goes over into actually forming a corporation, looking for investors, offering leases, or anything else commercial/financial in nature, it must go in the Swap Meet board.

Thanks.

Offline Samuel Fairlane

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Re: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2013, 05:26:00 PM »
I hope these communities take off everywhere. I would love to come visit, work, teach, learn, or do business with such a community. East Tn could be a retirement possibility, if there is still room in 18 years.

Offline OutWestTX

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Re: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.
« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2013, 06:52:35 PM »
I hope these communities take off everywhere.

They have.  They're called "Subdivisions" with HOAs.  When it boils down to it, that is what most "intentional communities" really are...glorified subdivisions.  The problem is that once people buy into them, things change.  Your job situation changes, you get married or divorced, your health changes, your ideas about how to use your property changes, but due to the restrictions you are stuck.  If the restrictions are "deeded" to the property, forget ever trying to sell it.  Most intentional communities will not allow you to rent out your property if you need to move. I am speaking from first hand experience.  The one I was in finally disolved, but I have two other friends that are still stuck in one.  I don't know of any that have lasted more than 5 or 6 years before falling apart. 

It is much better to recruit like minded people to move into the same area.  That is what SouthernPrepper1 has done in SC and what Rawles is trying to do. 

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.
« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2013, 12:45:22 AM »
I soooooo know of a perfect spot on a large bit of land, off the beaten path more than I am, on a salmon river, wells, springs, creek, with houses and cabins, main cook house, a large 'gathering building', barns.. etc.. I seriously want a special person to get this one. I would take it in a heartbeat. The price tag is $500K.

Cedar

Is that in Oregon, Cedar?  West or east of Cascades?  Would it be large enough for 3 or more families?

Offline Cedar

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Re: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2013, 12:56:24 AM »
Is that in Oregon, Cedar?  West or east of Cascades?  Would it be large enough for 3 or more families?

West and yuppers.

Cedar

Offline Doc K

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Re: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.
« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2013, 07:16:22 AM »
They have.  They're called "Subdivisions" with HOAs.  When it boils down to it, that is what most "intentional communities" really are...glorified subdivisions.  The problem is that once people buy into them, things change.  Your job situation changes, you get married or divorced, your health changes, your ideas about how to use your property changes, but due to the restrictions you are stuck.  If the restrictions are "deeded" to the property, forget ever trying to sell it.  Most intentional communities will not allow you to rent out your property if you need to move. I am speaking from first hand experience.  The one I was in finally disolved, but I have two other friends that are still stuck in one.  I don't know of any that have lasted more than 5 or 6 years before falling apart. 

It is much better to recruit like minded people to move into the same area.  That is what SouthernPrepper1 has done in SC and what Rawles is trying to do.

I appreciate this opinion, but I don't entirely agree... which means I also do agree with some of it. :)

MOST intentional communities are places I would never, ever want to live. Not just for the reason you outline above, but for many other reasons as well. The community I am planning is going to be a place I really want to live. This is the whole reason I am working on it. I searched for years and years to find the "ideal" place. I can't find it. First, a "perfect" place doesn't exist. Second, anything that is close to "perfect", based on my criteria, has multiple, very large detractors... too much money, too rural, too urban, too whatever... So I decided to make my own community. I have been sharing my thoughts and ideas on community and Permaculture for years on my website. I have nothing of the fan source that Jack has, by any means, but what I have seen is that my "ideal" place is not very unique to me. There are a bunch of people out there that want to live in a similar way to how I want to live. Within 24 hours of posting my article, I already have two very interested investors; and I have yet to apporach the people I thought would be my investors!

Now, about this being a subdivision with an HOA. Yeah, it is sort of like that, but I will be able to set the rules (which will be few), and I will be able to set the rules about how rules are set (which will make it very difficult to change or add new rules). There is one huge benefit to me in this… I get to set it up how I want. Yeah, this sounds selfish a bit. But if you knew me, you would know that I truly have the best interests of my family and the land in mind. People have joked about Jack wanting to be a benevolent dictator. Well, that is possible, really. There were amazing kings and queens throughout history. The reason they were great is that they were servants to their people. While they may have had a title and a crown, they felt they were given a mission from God to care for their people. I don’t want to be melodramatic by any means. I am not a king, and I have not been spoken to by God, but I know that for this community to be successful, I need to be a servant leader. Jack has another way of saying it… the CEO is beholden to the consumers. This is why the lease/business model is a brilliant way to run this.

In addition, if you don’t like the ground rules, then you do not have to join. You don’t have to move there. Again, it’s the free market.

Finally, yet another great benefit to this lease model, you can walk away whenever you wish. You always have the ability to sell your lease option at market value. But in the worst case scenario, where no one wants to buy it, well then, you still walk away. You have no investment in the land. You may have an investment in whatever improvements you have put into the land, for sure. But you will not be sitting on a mortgage. You will not be sitting on a house payment. And if you built a temporary house or have a mobile home or mobile tiny house, then you can even take that with you. You will owe no one.

If you know a lot of people who have enough money to buy land and houses right next to each other in a town, then do that by all means. This is another option to build a community. Based on the huge increase in emails to me over the last 2 days, I know it is an option people are excited about.

Hope that helps.
Doc K

Offline Doc K

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Re: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.
« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2013, 07:19:29 AM »
MODERATOR'S NOTE:

Discussion of general plans for how one might organize an intentional community are fine here.  The moment it goes over into actually forming a corporation, looking for investors, offering leases, or anything else commercial/financial in nature, it must go in the Swap Meet board.

Thanks.

Not a problem. If anyone is interested in any of that stuff, just PM me. I am mainly trying to show what, how, and why I am doing what I am doing. I love the TSP community. I think it could benefit a lot of people.

Doc K

Offline konaexpress

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Re: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.
« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2013, 08:38:10 AM »

It is much better to recruit like minded people to move into the same area.  That is what SouthernPrepper1 has done in SC and what Rawles is trying to do.

I could see this working out a lot better than the commune thing. The problem is finding a town that does not  have a ton of laws on the books and how would the small town feel about prep peers invading their small town?

John

Offline Doc K

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Re: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.
« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2013, 01:23:40 AM »
I could see this working out a lot better than the commune thing. The problem is finding a town that does not  have a ton of laws on the books and how would the small town feel about prep peers invading their small town?

John

This is exactly the reason for starting this community. It is not a commune, and we get to set the rules (in large part).

Offline kckndrgn

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Re: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.
« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2013, 04:52:35 AM »
I could see this working out a lot better than the commune thing. The problem is finding a town that does not  have a ton of laws on the books and how would the small town feel about prep peers invading their small town?

John

Simple really, you don't start this in a "town", you find an area that is outside of a township or city city boundary so you are in a county only.  That is the way my BOL is.  While the address is "in the city", I'm outside of their jurisdiction and in a "county only" area, one less layer of government.  Now that does not mean that if the city grows it can't annex the area (that is what the city of Memphis has been doing for years, annexing the "county" areas that are not part of a city)

Offline Doc K

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Re: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.
« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2013, 10:30:22 AM »
I had someone post this to my website today... fantastic!

Joel Salatin explaining that you don't have to own the land to be a farmer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sifJyvFiP_o

Doc K

Offline Skunkeye

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Re: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.
« Reply #24 on: September 28, 2013, 04:13:59 AM »
The problem with the "benevolent dictator" model is that a single leader, no matter how great, eventually retires from the lead or dies.  Most of the great monarchs throughout history were followed up by an incompetent or corrupt regime that squandered everything the "good guy" built.  How many great companies have been pissed away into bankruptcy or irrelevance by incompetent CEOs once the founders are out of the picture?

If you're looking to build a community, one assumes you want it to last for future generations.  So how do you guarantee that the next leader is as service-minded as you? 

Finally, yet another great benefit to this lease model, you can walk away whenever you wish.

Isn't that a pretty big negative for the group as a whole, though?  By making it (relatively) easy for members to just pick up and leave, isn't there a risk that they'll feel less anchored in the community, and more likely to bolt at the first difficulty?  Also, it seems like it could make finances a little dicey - what happens to the remaining leaseholders if enough people jump ship all at once that you can't cover real estate taxes or something? 

...and how would the small town feel about prep peers invading their small town?

Many small towns in America are slowly dying.  The younger generations are moving away, especially in more rural places.  So I would suspect it wouldn't be too hard to find lots of places that would welcome some "new blood", especially if those people were of the DIY, self-sufficient, get-er-done mindset that most preppers are, and were interested in actually being part of the community.

I'll admit I haven't studied a lot of intentional communities in depth, so I could be wrong about this, but there must be a reason that they have such an abysmal success rate.  A lot of it might be that many of them are set up by folks with pie-in-the-sky ideals, and such utopian fantasies don't translate well to the real world.  But I suspect some of it is human nature, and unless you get really lucky to have just the right mix of personalities, trying to get a large group of people to work toward a common goal 24/7 is just really difficult.  Some of it might also be stagnation - after the first flush of settlement, most such communities don't have a lot of new folks coming in.  Hopefully these new "liberty" communities will overcome these problems by steering away from the "hippie commune" model, so I will be eagerly watching and rooting for these experiments.  I think there's possibly a place for such communities, and that they might be just right for some people.  But personally, I much prefer owning my own place.

Offline Doc K

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Re: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.
« Reply #25 on: September 28, 2013, 05:25:51 AM »
The problem with the "benevolent dictator" model is that a single leader, no matter how great, eventually retires from the lead or dies.  Most of the great monarchs throughout history were followed up by an incompetent or corrupt regime that squandered everything the "good guy" built.  How many great companies have been pissed away into bankruptcy or irrelevance by incompetent CEOs once the founders are out of the picture?

If you're looking to build a community, one assumes you want it to last for future generations.  So how do you guarantee that the next leader is as service-minded as you? 

Skunkeye - I totally agree. I actually think this is one of the biggest hurdles. There will have to be some specific criteria and probably a vote from the board and the community. Also, the corporation bylaws will need to be very strict. It cannot just be a heritable position (ie, my sons)... That is a huge problem with the monarchs you spoke of.

Isn't that a pretty big negative for the group as a whole, though?  By making it (relatively) easy for members to just pick up and leave, isn't there a risk that they'll feel less anchored in the community, and more likely to bolt at the first difficulty?  Also, it seems like it could make finances a little dicey - what happens to the remaining leaseholders if enough people jump ship all at once that you can't cover real estate taxes or something? 

Of course that is a risk (people being able to easily walk away). But I don't think it makes people feel less part of the community. Also, one members start to work and develop their land, they will be anchored to the land. I have moved a lot during my time in the military, and my biggest regret in leaving each time was abandoning my garden!

I'll admit I haven't studied a lot of intentional communities in depth, so I could be wrong about this, but there must be a reason that they have such an abysmal success rate.  A lot of it might be that many of them are set up by folks with pie-in-the-sky ideals, and such utopian fantasies don't translate well to the real world.  But I suspect some of it is human nature, and unless you get really lucky to have just the right mix of personalities, trying to get a large group of people to work toward a common goal 24/7 is just really difficult.  Some of it might also be stagnation - after the first flush of settlement, most such communities don't have a lot of new folks coming in.  Hopefully these new "liberty" communities will overcome these problems by steering away from the "hippie commune" model, so I will be eagerly watching and rooting for these experiments.  I think there's possibly a place for such communities, and that they might be just right for some people.  But personally, I much prefer owning my own place.

The benefit in this arrangement is that the community development is funded by the monthly lease fee, not by people working together. Of course, I imagine many people moving here would be the type that want to help build the community, and it will occur faster with their help (which will also anchor people to the place more), but it will not be required to be part of the community.

Doc K

Offline Mortblanc

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Re: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.
« Reply #26 on: September 28, 2013, 10:20:55 AM »
I escaped from Tennessee ten years ago and I will never go back!  I lived there for 50 years.

No one has yet considered the fact that Tennessee has some very specific and strict statewide zoning laws that specify exactly what one may do with their land, even in the rural areas.

Those laws do not line up with the anticipated action I read on the OP.

If you build anything larger than 10x12 it must be up to codes and be inspected.  No residences built without perk testing and septic tanks ($10,000 for septic and another $10,000 to dig a well in the Tennessee limestone, on a leased lot!  No thanks!).  I do love that "walk away from it any time you desire" clause!  You can not take $20,000 investment with you no matter how ticked off you are.

There are also zoning restrictions on placement of buildings on the property.

The law even specifies how long one can live in a tent on their own property in Tennessee.

Just because the land is there and the op has never seen enforcement of those laws does not mean they are not on the books and can not be enforced. 

If you tick off the wrong neighbor you will be facing stop work injunctions, fines for zoning infractions, deputies taking pictures of everything you do, and evection from the property. 

If you have children and are breaking zoning laws the children can be and often are removed from your custody.  Tennessee is one of the national test states for pushing the boundaries of child protective services to see what the Supreme Court will allow.

I have seen new structures bulldozed for zoning noncompliance in the general area the OP is suggesting as a location.

These laws were specifically designed to stop the infiltration of religious cults and survivalist training centers/communities into the state.  

The laws exist to give the state control over,and ability to end exactly what you wish to be!  That is why they were written.

There is already one Islamic training center 30 miles south of Nashville that got in under the wire and is now grandfathered.  It has been there since the mid '80s.  There were also several cults that moved in during the '70s.  There has always been the lingering fear that Charles Manson would get parole and move his cult into Mid-TN, which is his original home. 

Climate?

Summer starts in May with temps topping 90f.  After July 4 expect temps above 95f daily and occasionally topping 100.  Unbearable humidity.  I was right at home in SE Asia when I was deployed.

Winter is actually mild.  Temps seldom stay below freezing for more than a week but it is hovering around freezing for most of January and February.  I have seen it rain for 3 straight weeks without letup in November and December.  Spring is nice and lasts for about 2 weeks.

Add these things to the other problems of living under the rule of a war-lord/self appointed dictator and I will have to pass.


Offline fred.greek

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Re: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.
« Reply #27 on: September 28, 2013, 11:27:28 AM »
Awhile back, Michael Reynolds set up an off-grid community outside of Taos, New Mexico, the homes (supposedly) all being earthships.

His third earthship book has what seems to be a draft of the community agreement, which starts on book page 148.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/105685235/Earthship-Vol-3-Evolution-Beyond-Economics

Garbage Warrior – A video on Mr. Reynolds "struggle" to get approval for his non-traditional housing development.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7h1eRiJwow

Just sent for info.

Offline AlanB

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Re: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.
« Reply #28 on: September 28, 2013, 12:08:59 PM »
While I disagree with Mortblanc about many things he stated, there are some good points there to be aware of.  At least in my county, you would want the lots to be 1.5 acres at least. and possibly bigger depending on how the land percs.  I realize it is a nitpicky point in some respects, but I saw the size mentioned many times so wanted to address it earlier rather than later.

Also, what was said about neighbors can really play into your plans.  Look at what is going on with the Barefoot Gardeners place right now.

Interesting thoughts, not something per se I would like to do for myself, but interesting.

Keep us posted.

Offline Doc K

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Re: My plan for an intentional community in central to eastern Tennessee.
« Reply #29 on: September 28, 2013, 12:31:37 PM »
Mortblanc - I am curious where you can live, with a group of like-minded people, where you have no building codes to follow at all. There are a large number of places in the country where you can build under the radar, for sure. Many people do. I know of a few in KY who have done just that. But they are running the risk of being "discovered" and facing whatever consequences come up from that action.

I can see no way of building a community under the radar. We need to be above board all the way. Now, I also know of people building cob homes (one example) in central TN, WITH building permits and full county support. It is all in how you present yourself and the plans to the local government. I don't like it, but that is the system we live under, and we need to work with that system.

There are communes that are doing this, even in TN right now. What I am proposing is not a commune at all. It is basically a special type of subdivision.

Weather - I am from south Florida and lived all over the world. I love the weather in TN.

Islamic Training Center - Not sure what exactly you mean by this. Militant? I doubt it. Religious? Freedom of religion. There are a number of Christian retreats and at least one Jewish one that I know if in TN.

Manson, War-Lord... I'll let that alone.

Obviously, this is not a place for all people. That is completely fine with me. The interest I have so far, in less than a week of publishing my article, shows that this is going to happen. I appreciate the critique. You brought up some good things I need to examine further.

Doc K