Many Costilla County, Colorado citizens living off the grid and homesteading on their land have faced recent attacks from government in recent days in the form of permit regulations.
Because of cheap property, residents buy pieces of land and move onto it with campers or other "camp" style homes and go off-grid. They build solar infrastructure and collect rainwater. The state, however, doesn't want people to "camp" more than 14 days every three months without a 90-day permit, which they are now denying people.
Chloe Everhart, for instance, performed the due diligence before moving onto her newly purchased land where she will be building her house. As she arrived and prepared to get her 90 day camping pass, the board of commissioners instructed the planning and zoning commission to no longer issue camping permits. “They started enforcing the changes before they were actually made,” she said. She is now an outlaw.
Other residents have spoken out.
“We’ve been regulated out of life,” homesteader Robin Rutan told Colorado Public Radio. “I came here because I couldn’t live by the codes [in other regions]."
“We are residents who have come to live off the grid. It’s all our land.” … “These are harsh economic times. We have nowhere to go,” twenty-year resident Paul Skinner said.
After recent pushback from the community, county commissioners shelved an Oct. 1 plan to require water, septic tanks and electricity for building permits. This will allow residents that have purchased land to follow through and build their homes.
County land use administrator Matt Valdez disputes the claims that the county is trying to regulate people’s lifestyles out of existence. He says that his office has discretion to deny camping permits under existing code and claims that too many new residents were habitually renewing permits meant to be temporary.
“We’re not trying to drive people off their property,” Valdez said.
Regardless of what they're "trying" to do, the codes have become disruptive and common sense is taking presidence.
Here is one Colorado native sharing his story of life as a homesteader.
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