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How to build a house on agricultural land

Updated July 20, 2017

Agricultural land offers a number of benefits to the prospective homeowner. It is often much cheaper than land specifically zoned or subdivided for residential use. It also provides the possibility of more peace and quiet in a secluded, rural setting. In most respects, it seems building a house on agricultural land is no different from building a house anywhere else. Then you look at the few aspects of the building process that require special consideration.

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  1. Contact your local building or planning department to determine if a zoning change is required to build a residence on your land. There may be a fee associated with rezoning the land or removing it from a Conservation Reserve Program.

  2. Investigate the options for supplying water to your new home. Agricultural land is often far from city or rural water supplies. If so, a well is often the best option. If groundwater is scarce or unpredictable, you need to consider collecting rainwater or hauling water in and storing it on your property.

  3. Measure the distance from the road to your proposed building site. This will allow you to get installation information and cost estimates for electric lines, a phone line and a driveway.

  4. Contact your local planning department or building inspector to initiate the building permit process. Residential construction on agricultural land may require additional permitting information such as erosion control measures, runoff control and soil tests for approving the septic system.

  5. Install the driveway, electric supply and any other services that your contractor will need to access your building site and proceed with the normal construction process.

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About the Author

Joseph West has been writing about engineering, agriculture and religion since 2006. He is actively involved in the science and practice of sustainable agriculture and now writes primarily on these topics. He completed his copy-editing certificate in 2009 and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California-San Diego.

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