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My DH and I would love your opinions on this... after having looked at just about everything currently on the market in our area and in our price range, we've finally been shown a lovely piece of property that offers most of the features on our wish list, but it has a few drawbacks we are concerned about. Not sure how concerned we should be, we thought we'd ask for some feedback from ya'll. Sorry in advance for the length, but I want to give you some details.

On the plus side, it is a beautiful 47-acre cove, very secluded, with excellent southern exposure, a few acres of grassy area with plenty room for a homesite and large garden. There's a bold creek running through the property which is nicely placed and has a couple mini-falls on it, some fruit trees, an old overgrown former sheep pasture, and many acres of woods. Some of the land is steep, as in a ridge around three sides of the land, but a large part is gentle. There is a ten year-old DW on a stone foundation that seems to be in okay shape, if a little damp and musty. The adjoining 100-acre parcel over the north ridge is owned by the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy.

Of course we would get the well tested, but the seller claims it provides about 5 gallons per minute, and is not too deep, I don't have the figure in front of me but I think it was around 175 ft.

On the minus side, the access is a little tough, with almost two miles of 4WD-type private road that crosses three other private properties. Only the first of these properties is currently lived on by the owner, and he has a gate across the road which must be closed and locked at all times. There is a legal easement for our access, but the gate is part of the deal. Also, the seller gave an access easement through the property to the Conservancy when they bought the adjoining land. They have not used it but maybe once a year so far, but of course that may change. I think it is safe to assume that since no one lives on any of the five adjoining parcels, we would end up responsible for most all of the road improvements and maintenance costs for the whole road. There are also three places where semi-shallow creeks cross this road, no bridge or anything, they just drive on thru.

The other thing is, on my visits out to the property I noticed a strange, unpleasant odor wafting on the wind a few times...couldn't trace it but it wasn't a normal country smell. Out of the five times I've been out there, I smelled it twice. Just a strong whiff, now and then, on the breeze. After inquiring around a little I believe we have discovered the source... a paper mill in a neighboring town, maybe 10-15 miles south-west of the property. Apparently this employee-owned mill has made some good efforts to clean up their emissions, but still, it's a paper mill. How concerned should I be about possible health hazards from air pollution? We plan to raise children out there, in the future.

Would you all still consider this place, keep looking, or run screaming? :haha:

I'm not too worried about the price, we'll do our best to negotiate that if the time comes, right now just trying to decide if we should bid on this at all.

Did I mention it's beautiful? :D Yeah, I said that. I do have pictures, not sure tho where to post them.

Okay, what do you think?
 

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Hmmm. The access road can be improved but that locked gate would be a real consideration for me. How would I ever have company drop by or UPS deliver anything? With kids in the future, living behind a locked gate that is not near enough to the house to hear a horn honking is an issue. Why does the gate have to be locked and is this spelled out in the easment record?

Is the conservancy's easment on the same road through the parcel? I assume this is along one edge of the parcel?
 

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.............Given the fact that the Bush Adm. is is trying to undermine both the spirit and intent of the Clean Water Act I would BE very cautious about both the Current and Future of the quality of the Water in your geographic area. The...ONLY...thing that impresses this administration is the amount of money that the Lobbyists are pumping into the Relect Bush campaign. I, would be very thourgh in my research into any and all testing that has been done by both the EPA and the State Regulatory authorities in your area. In addition , I would atleast try to determine the future plans of the Mine that is generating the "smell". It maybe that they are required to File documents with the fed\state water quality authorities thaT REVEALS their Future plans and any anticipated potentially harmful effects of their mining activities and any Mitigating Strategies that they plan to implement to offset those activities that will create harmful effects to the Potable water supply ....which may include..... YOUR stream and your water well........fordy :eek: :)
 

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Have you ever been to Terre Haute, Indiana? It stinks. The local government claims to not be able to track down the odor, but everyone who lives there knows exactly what it is....the paper mill. The smell is oppressive on those hot, humid airless days. There seems to be a high incidence of sinus trouble and allergies in that town.

If you smelled that stench two out of five visits, I would think that it is a fairly common occurance. Did you notice which way the wind was blowing those days? How often does that happen? How about the level of temperature, rain, etc. All those factors can effect how much of the smell reaches you. If you are in a hollow or valley, you can expect that at times the smell will just settle right in on top of you. You might not smell it all winter, then summer will be awful, or vice versa. You won't know until you live there and then it will be too late.

When I lived in Terre Haute, I lived at the end of town that was more smell free than the rest, yet when the stench decended, it ended all enjoyment of outside activities. Windows were shut, A/C turned on. It could be irritating to my allergies, give me a headache and make my kids' noses get stuffed up.

Forget the easements and all that. I don't see that as a big deal, but the stink will be. Move on.

Jena
 

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You are smelling the smell of money, Or that is what it was called in it's heyday. Go to exit 31 on I-40 and head south, there you will find the source of your smell. It was called Champion Paper when I lived there, I think it's changed names since then. The Pigeon river used to look like root beer as it flowed with a big frothy head on it.


The paper mill isn't really that big of a deal anymore. where is this property? If it is in Leicester or in that area the smell wafts through Newfound Gap when the wind is right. When I first moved there they had plans to build an underground nuclear storage facility in that area.
I'm not trying to tell you what to do but it sounds like you are looking at property with your heart and not your head. It's very common in that area as it is very beautiful and you get taken up by it. Roads are very expensive. Right of ways and easments are dirty words.
 

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It sure would get tiring opening and locking that gate EVERY time you wanted to go anywhere...

Plus what happens if the creeks you ford rise while you aren't there?

We looked at a property in KY that required fording a 20'+ creek-easy enough at the time but what about in the rainy season....

Hmmm,it sounds GREAT but there are concerns.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the responses and the advice.

Yes, there is apparently legal deeded access through all of the private properties we would cross. Of course that would be thoroughly verified before closing.

The locked gate is spelled out in the easment record. I'm not sure why they feel that is necessary. The sellers previously installed an automatic gate opener, but it no longer functions. I guess there would definitely be no company stopping by, (not really a big concern for me), but I have no idea how they handle UPS...couldn't get up that road with a UPS truck anyway. Maybe they hold stuff for you at the post office...?...I don't know but I have to check into that.

fordy, it's actually not a mine, but a paper mill...and any offer we might make would have to be contingent on having the water tested.

I'm going to have to go out there a few more times and see what I can smell, plus talk to some folks in the area about the regularity and severity of it and so forth, and also ask the seller directly about it, though I know I can't rely on that answer as truthful...still it will be interesting to see how she responds.

Beeman, yes it's in Leicester...your old stomping grounds, eh? Check your PM's and I'll send you more specifics. Guilty as charged of looking with my heart, a little, but my head usually wins in the end. ;)
 

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You can find a better property. The access is not acceptable and the smell from the paper mill in Canton is too much. Try Ashe county.
 

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"but I have no idea how they handle UPS...couldn't get up that road with a UPS truck anyway. Maybe they hold stuff for you at the post office...?...I don't know but I have to check into that."



Emergency vehicle access might be a consideration also.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Brad said:
"but I have no idea how they handle UPS...couldn't get up that road with a UPS truck anyway. Maybe they hold stuff for you at the post office...?...I don't know but I have to check into that."



Emergency vehicle access might be a consideration also.

Yeah, I'm sure it would be a problem...it's pretty obvious we would have to improve the road once we had a house built and moved there full-time.
 
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If UPS is like the post office (they are two different businesses--you cannot pick up UPS packages at the post office in any case), they will not be going up your driveway in any case, as from what you write you are more than 1/4 mile off the main street, which also means you should rent a PO box and not get street delivery since you can't keep an eye on a street box.

The owner may want the gate closed so animals don't get out, and it is his right to request that (if the seller were smart, he'd install a new automatic gate as part of the deal and be able to write it off as a selling expense). A lot of hiking trails through private property have signs up saying "close the gate"--common courtesy. We had a gate at the end of a short driveway at one house we owned, and keeping the gate closed both when home and not cut down on unwanted visitors.

The DW should also be gotten rid of by the seller--it will just become blight after a while, and why should you have to deal with it?

As to the maintenance of the remainder of the road, even though no one is living on those parcels, they are OWNED by someone, and they should share some percentage in maintaining the road. If this is not spelled out in writing in the deed, so that you could conceivably go after them for noncompliance, not good.

It sounds like a nice property, but there are lots of "issues" with it, which may be more trouble than they're worth, especially the creeks and the paper mill smell.
 

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It sounds like an almost perfect place if you are serious homesteaders and didn't plan on going somewhere every day.

The paper mill, depending how close and what kind of paper might be a problem. I don't see how anyone could survive near a Xerox mill. Even a cardboard box mill 10 miles away caused me to check the baby's diaper when the breeze shifted.
 

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If you are going to have a house built, how are the workment and supplies going to get through a locked gate?

BlueRidgeBabe said:
Yeah, I'm sure it would be a problem...it's pretty obvious we would have to improve the road once we had a house built and moved there full-time.
 
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Combination lock. Change the combination after the workman leave if security is an issue -- my dad has a rural cabin and has an industrial type combination lock on the front door (push the buttons and turn the knob) so workmen and whatnot can get in when he's not there to do repairs.

GeorgeK said:
If you are going to have a house built, how are the workment and supplies going to get through a locked gate?
 

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Random thoughts:

The pulp mill odor is going to be there. Nothing you can do about it. Either accept it or go elsewhere. However, do take that into consideration by lowering your offer substantially. May be why the last folks left.

Sit down with a meeting with the person who owns the gate. Try to find out their specific reason for keeping it locked. Is it for cattle or perhaps they just don't want people going across their land and this is their way to keep the property from being sold. Can you offer some type of compromise, such as a cattle crossing? To me, this is almost a deal killer in itself. Remember, the smart cowboy is the one in the middle. Also, think what it would be like to have a family emergency and then have to drive down to the gate to meet the emergency vehicle there. If you can even get fire insurance, it is likely to be expenses also.

Get an estimate on what it would cost to have 4" to 6" of crushed blue gravel with fines 10' wide put on the road from your garage (or whatever) to the road, plus a permanent poured concrete crossing over the fords except for when water is the highest. Basically culverts put side by side and concrete poured over them. Dry for all but the highest water. Factor out the cost for you land, some for your future usage of the road and then put the remainder as a contingency option* in your offer to the seller. They will say they shouldn't have to pay for a road across someone else's property so tell them to negotiate with those owners as it is an improvement for them also. Once a road like this is in place it can be kept graded with a pull blade behind a tractor when needed.

(* Once the new road is in place to your satisfaction your attorney releases this money to the seller. The property would increase in value with good access so you should bear some of the cost. Same concept as it increasing the value of the other properties as well.)

Otherwise drop your offer amount by your having to have 4-wheel drive vehicles and the resulting wear and tear even on them.

Locally it would run about $3,000 to have a doublewide hauled off for disposals. I understand in some states the cost would be significantly higher. They have almost no resale value. Well-built ones can be about like stick built houses. Lower-qualify ones are just that.

On mail you can use a dual address such as J.M. Smith, 2344 Highway To Nowhere, P.O. Box 304, Smalltown, XX (Zip). At least locally UPS doesn't delivery to some remote addresses. They drop the package off at the local post office and pay them to delivery it.

I'm not sure this would be a good deal even if the seller gave it to you free.

Ken S. in WC TN

(P.S. Another thought. Locally the county will take over a road which includes three or more properties. It basically becomes a county road - but public access must be allowed.)
 

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Hey, does anyone know what exactly that smell is? We have a big Georgia-Pacific mill in Old Town and every time we drive out that way we have to zip up the windows in the Jeep – The smell gags you!!! Is it caustic? Sounds like you might be breathing that air for a long time!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
You've all given us a lot to think about, and confirmed that our concerns are pretty serious. I wish the property had been better located, all the features are there, and the lay of the land is SO nice. If it were just us, I might go for it, but with the possibility of kids on the horizon.... :(
FYI, the neighbor's gate is not used to keep animals in, just to keep people out. Must be due to the fact there is so much land back there with nobody living on it... attracts trespassers of all kinds I'm sure (ATV's?).
Anyway, gonna keep looking for now...(sigh). Trying to remind myself to "enjoy the journey".


"Are we there yet? ...Are we there yet?" :haha:
-Blue
 

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Jena said:
Have you ever been to Terre Haute, Indiana? It stinks. The local government claims to not be able to track down the odor, but everyone who lives there knows exactly what it is....the paper mill. The smell is oppressive on those hot, humid airless days. There seems to be a high incidence of sinus trouble and allergies in that town.

If you smelled that stench two out of five visits, I would think that it is a fairly common occurance. Did you notice which way the wind was blowing those days? How often does that happen? How about the level of temperature, rain, etc. All those factors can effect how much of the smell reaches you. If you are in a hollow or valley, you can expect that at times the smell will just settle right in on top of you. You might not smell it all winter, then summer will be awful, or vice versa. You won't know until you live there and then it will be too late.

When I lived in Terre Haute, I lived at the end of town that was more smell free than the rest, yet when the stench decended, it ended all enjoyment of outside activities. Windows were shut, A/C turned on. It could be irritating to my allergies, give me a headache and make my kids' noses get stuffed up.

Forget the easements and all that. I don't see that as a big deal, but the stink will be. Move on.

Jena

I am 180 degrees in difference on this. 10-15 miles away, should be a pretty minor smell or you are just way too fussy a person & can't exsist anywhere! :)

On the other hand, is it even legal to live in a house behind a locked gate that has several water crossings & is too rugged for anything but a 2wd? Could not be done in _my_ state. Forget UPS, what do you do for fire trucks, ambulance, sheriff?

THOSE are the concerns, esp if you want kids back in there. Forget about a little smell in the air or some scare stories about pollution - when you can't get emergency personel in to say your kid's life because of a locked gate or a too-steep road.

Would not be allowed to live there, and for good reason. Can't see any insurance company carrying you either.

--->Paul
 
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