McAllister Pond area VT

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by pcdreams, Jul 26, 2004.

  1. pcdreams

    pcdreams Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,735
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Location:
    Missouri, Springfield
    Does anyone know much about this area? We are looking at a parcel near there and it's rather cheap so I'm kind of leary.

    It is on class 4 road and no electric, so I know I'd have to plow and have solar (not a big problem as we'd planned this anyway).

    I'm in the process of trying to find out about water, and what(if any) regulations exist.

    The lady at the city clerks office wasn't able to give me much info (I have to find out the name of the owner from the real estate lady).

    taxes are cheap too. Besides the water,perc, flood zone is there anything else I should ask?

    It shouldn't be in a flood zone as its on top of the hill but doesn't hurt to check
     
  2. LizMovingNorth

    LizMovingNorth Member

    Messages:
    24
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
    Location:
    NJ (hopefully VT soon)
    Hi, I'm going to stick my nose in here since no one else has replied yet. I don't know anything about that area specifically, but in general the law in VT on building codes and such is very loose at the state level (e.g. you can do your own wiring when building a house) but can be very restrictive at the town/city level, especially in municipalities with recent yuppie influxes.

    I grew up in NH, and after 7 years away have just relocated back (was actually looking in VT, but that's a long story for another day). Do you know much about VT? I ask because here in NH our growing season is about 90 days. We had frosts at night into the middle of June, and we expect them as early as Labor Day. We usually have a week or ten days in Jan or Feb where the temp doesn't get above -10. I don't mean to scare you off, but if you haven't spent time here in the winter you might want to try it before you buy.

    I love northern New England, fall foliage is great, the winter snowscapes are beautiful, the countryside is filled with ponds and lakes for summer swimming. If you're aware of the short growing season and the winters, you'll love it here.

    Liz

    P.S. Its a good idea to visit before you buy...I saw one lot in southeastern VT that was 3/4 under water in the spring...not great on a 5 acre lot!
     

  3. pcdreams

    pcdreams Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,735
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Location:
    Missouri, Springfield
    We haven't been in the winter but we do realize these things.

    Thanks for the reply though.

    I am going to check flood maps etc. unfortunatly a trip up there is out of the question right now. I think the parcel should be ok though its on top of a mountain :)
     
  4. SRSLADE

    SRSLADE Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    327
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Location:
    VERMONT
    In nov 04 the septic codes will change and this may mean you will need a mound system.This is being done on the state level to keep control out of the hands of the people. I can tell you our hills consist of clay and rock with a little top soil. Not a great soil when it comes to septic systems.These mounds can be very pricey.Cheap land is no way to buy realestate as your cost of building may be much higher than if you purchace better land at higher prices.Put your money into land not clearing,bull dozers, pricey septics, rock, clay,etc,etc,etc.
     
  5. cchapman84

    cchapman84 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    434
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2003
    What town is it in? How far out on a Class IV road is it? Last winter between the end of October and the end of December, we got a ton of snow. Having to plow a road when you're getting 2-4' of snow overnight, and then a day later get another 2-4', can get pretty rough, especially if you're plowing uphill at all. Not trying to discourage you, but if you don't live in an area with hard winters, it can be a bit of a shock.

    Also, as for solar power, I know there are people around here who have solar only, but we don't get that many hours of sunlight here, and we often have a couple of weeks or longer where we get no sunshine, primarily in winter, but I've seen it happen in summer too. I'd suggest getting a back-up generator along with the solar, just in case.

    Let me know what town this is in, and I might be able to give you a bit more location-specific info.
     
  6. McAllister Pond is listed as being in Orleans County (which borders on Canada) but also at Latitude: 44.828611 N* Longitude: 72.482500 W... which puts it at the southernmost tip of VT.. down by MA!

    Two entirely different places!

    I live here (have, if you count back, 7 generations... 200+ years, etc etc) all my life and there is a substantial difference from the southernmost tip of Vermont to the Canadian border! Since Vermont often reuses a good place name, where is your McAllister Pond? There could very well be more than one of them.

    The warning on the septic should be stared and in bold text. HEADS UP ANYONE LOOKING TO BUILD IN VERMONT... THE SEPTIC DISPOSAL LAWS ARE CHANGING IN NOVEMBER!! In fact, property is now being sold with a notation that if you get the septic in before November 1st you are not subject to the new regulations. Talk about a rush!

    Vermont does not permit grey water systems, so deciding to go with a composting toilet and grey water disposal system is not an option either. You seriously, very, very seriously, have to budget big bucks for waste disposal. Now, while someone else sees this as big government the fact is that my neighbor, as an example, has an outhouse. Which sits a very short distance from his neighbor's well. As mentioned, the soils are not optimal for waste disposal, and errors can result in tainted wells or groundwater systems. But he's right about one thing: waste disposal is going to get very expensive and cumbersome, since an engineer is required to sign off on each and every new system, unlike the good old days when Charlie down the road with some experience in these things slapped a septic system and leach field into place after the grounds passed the perk test.

    The lifestyle in the very north of Vermont and the very south are going to be absolutely different. The very north has quite high unemployment and is the "last gasp" of old Vermont. You may find yourself living next to people like us, who routinely site in guns by blasting through a case of ammo for amusement, have cars in various states of disassembly in the side yard, keep stock and butcher it in our yard, like to snowmobile in the winter (snowmobiles, to people who hate them, sound like a vicious swarm of angry bees het up on steriods) etc. While we can make ourselves presentable for weddings and funerals, northern VT has the highest rates of unemployment and alcoholism, breast cancer and illiteracy rates, of any part of VT. It also has some amazing writers, artists, and a Buddist retreat.

    Southern Vermont is closer to "civilization." Which means more traffic, higher land prices, and other things that go along with more people. There are, however, more jobs. At either end of the state, expect to drive a not inconsiderable distance to find shopping.

    We went and looked at a 220 acre sheep farm this weekend (we're looking to expand) in the Corinth area of Orange county. I was honestly surprised to drive for hours without once seeing a grocery store. Nor a drug store. Nor a building supply house... nothing. Lots of trees and fields. Maybe everyone shops on Ebay? As for jobs... forget it. We calculate my husband would be driving at least 3 hours and 8 gallons of gas a day to get to work.

    Someone who has been there and done this and advises people how to relocate to Vermont is part of the http://www.DreamVermont.com writers team. Check out the site for tips on moving to VT.

    T
    http://www.woolandfeathers.com
     
  7. pcdreams

    pcdreams Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,735
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Location:
    Missouri, Springfield
    McAllister pond is in Orleans co. It is north of Lowell a bit.

    someone ask how far on the Class 4. Just over 1/2 mile


    Thanks for all the info and the websites. I'm looking foward to looking at them.


    on a side note someone mentioned not buying cheap land. That is good advice, however sometimes you must do what you have to. We'd prefer to live in the southern part of the state due to longer growing seasons but we aren't made of money either. Just saw 15 acres for $80k. Needless to say unless we win the powerball that is well out of our range.
    The whole reason we are moving to VT is to get away from the rat race and live a more basic life, not to be in debt up to our ears for the next 30 years.

    The one thing we have on our side is time. If we do end up purchasing this parcel we can pay it off before we move and perhaps even have our home built (by us) before we leave here.

    I don't mean to step on anyones toes. Just giving you a look from our vantage point.
     
  8. owhn

    owhn Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    248
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2003
    Location:
    Vermont
    Good luck and be careful.

    I think you ought to get a clear view of what a class iv road is (or really, what it is NOT.)

    Secondly, be aware that permits permit permits are the bane of development in VT. Keeps out bad and good development alike. (There is a strong anti-development bias in the state... they relabel it "sprawl" and are categorically against it.)

    On a mountain top? What elevation is it? I believe state law forbids construction above a certain elevation. Check this out. Gotta have them pristine views from afar.

    Also, check into what it could take to get a road cutin. Basically, by regualtion, an access road has to get a cut in approval, and a tiny few feet of apron of say blacktop as the your road intersects the other (normal) road. Since you will need a building permit, the access to the site is checked and must be configure to the updated laws. This includes both good and reasonable sight distance rules as well as complaints by locals ..... which can cause your permit to be denied ... or compliance with unreasonably expensive.

    owhn
     
  9. Ok, you're up in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont... but Lowell is also interestingly close to the Jay Peak ski area and an "reasonable" commute to the Morrisville/Stowe area. Add an hour and you're in the city of Burlington (think "Home Depot and Walmart" or my personal favorite: Cheese Traders, which is a private business with HUGE deals on food).

    Before you buy you will need to verify that you can, in fact, build on this lot. I can't emphasize enough (the previous poster is much too mild for my taste... !) you absolutely need to make sure, get in writing, that you can build on this lot. My neighbor with the outhouse? Paid $75,000 (!) for a 1/4 acre lot with a hunting camp on it (and outhouse). No water. Because the lot was grandfathered (existing structure means he can build on it) and it was in the resort town of Stowe. He did think to get a perk test, but that's as far as he went because (!!!) he wasn't planning on building in a few years. IF he'd had the engineering study done he would have found out that the lot next to him has 4 (!) wells on it because of the limited underground water. You can't site a septic system within X feet of a well... and there is now nowhere on his site to put a septic system. Effectively making the lot worthless, unless you want a little camp to come to in the summer that has no water, no electricity, no solar power, and an outhouse. Which is not what this guy wanted at all.

    That said... we very much like the Lowell area. There is a great restaurant up there.. name escapes me.. Oh "Hidden Acres" you must check out. You will want to make sure you've got southern exposure, which will extend your growing season by as much as 4 weeks, and you'll want to invest in a good wood stove... it gets a bit nippy in the winter. But I don't think there is a substantial difference in growing seasons from southern to northern VT if you're in the hills. On the shores of lake Champlain a friend of mine gets her peas in a full month before I do, but that's the lake effect and my elevation working against me.

    You'll also want to explore the shopping opportunities in Canada, just across the border. You can get some good deals with the currency exchange if you're willing to head up that way and have a smattering of French to work with.

    T
     
  10. pcdreams

    pcdreams Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,735
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Location:
    Missouri, Springfield
    you guys are starting to worry me now.

    I have talked with the city clerk and she said the parcel is zoned rural/agricultural. There are no restrictions and the only zoning that I'm aware of is septic(who would I need to ask about this)

    there is already a road(old town road) that goes past the parcel (this is the class 4 road).

    the parcel sits at either 12 or 1400 feet(I can't remember off the top of my head but I've got a topo of it.)
     
  11. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

    Messages:
    3,736
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    VT
    I have talked with the city clerk and she said the parcel is zoned rural/agricultural. There are no restrictions and the only zoning that I'm aware of is septic(who would I need to ask about this)

    I think this is an issue for the town manager, select board, or a lawyer. PLEASE do not take what the nice clerk says as accurate. We just had a major storm up by my way. Down in the valley is a little house by the creek. Anyone who has been here for more than 5 years or two good storms knows that that creek floods and that little house is under water more often than not. Usually just the basement. Which would explain the unfinished basement when it was sold. New owners went to the town offices and asked about that creek... should they get flood insurance? Well, I don't know who they talked to, but they were told "heck no.. that little creek never floods." They even pulled out the flood maps and, for some unknown reason, that creek isn't on it. So guess who got wiped out? Fortunately for this retired couple they have a large family and a lot of them are in the trades. So they're going to be able to dry out and rebuild. Do NOT trust the nice clerk. Go talk to potential neighbors. Hang out at a coffee shop. And most importantly... track down somebody on the road crew and buy him a cup of coffee.

    there is already a road(old town road) that goes past the parcel (this is the class 4 road).

    Has the road been thrown up? Class 4 generally means unplowed and unmaintained. These roads are often used as snowmobile trails. If you're not a snowmobiler yourself, you really need to think about how happy you'll be to hear the whine of engines past midnight. If you're on a class 4, even if you plow it yourself, it isn't likely they'll lose access to the road even if you petition.

    Class 4 may mean "not maintained at all and don't intend to because it will cost the town too much money." Something you really want to know before the snow flies. We live on a class 3 and that is quite exciting enough, thank you.

    the parcel sits at either 12 or 1400 feet(I can't remember off the top of my head but I've got a topo of it.)

    We're at 2300 I think and we're here... so I think you're ok as far as the height restrictions go, but I'm not sure and I would certainly consult someone who knows not only the current zoning restrictions.. but what is coming on down the pike. In 2001, for example, my town cut off all "ridgeline" development to preserve the views. One or two very wealthy people had built huge mansions which jut out of the mountains like, as one local put it, "puss colored carbunkles." (People were a bit peeved). Overnight great swaths of property which once fell under the 5 acre or 10 acre zoning suddenly became "unbuildable." If you'd been holding 100 acres of prime mountain property planning on building your dream home with 360 degree views... you'd still be able to build on a lot that size, but not at all in the way you'd imagined.

    You'll also want to be aware of our property tax system, and Act 68. If you aren't aware of it, you want to educate yourself about its implications for your property and how you hold your property (either as a homestead or as a second home, the taxes are different). Act 68 drove my taxes up 42% this year, on top of two 25% increases over the previous 2 years, and we're anticipating another increase of between 25-35% next year. I'm almost certain Lowell is not impacted the same way I am.. but you'd sure want to make certain of that! What once was a nice little family hill farm has become a year long slog of paying property taxes just to stay here. Not the average homesteader's longed for experience.

    T