Riverfrontage, pros and cons?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by CJ, Oct 20, 2005.

  1. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When we find that next piece of land, we plan on it being our last. We've ruled out Maine because we feel that the overall tax base will be too expensive when we're no longer working.

    WV and TN are still in our thoughts, but we're beginning to think that taking everything from scenic pleasure to cost of living into account, the Ozarks (our former home) may still be the best place to be.

    I found a 54 acre property in a fairly remote area of AR that has 1800 feet of river front. I haven't seen this property yet, so I really don't know anything about it, could be bluff, could be bottom land.

    All my life I've wanted a year round creek or river running through our land, but I wonder if anyone has that, and could point out the good and bad things about having frontage? I know there's stuff I'll never think of!
     
  2. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We have a half mile of river frontage and I can't honestly think of anything really bad about it. We do have people cutting thru our place to get to the river to fish or raft but that is petering out after a few years of us living here. We have river rafters in the summer, but they don't really bother us much. When you are sitting on your porch watching moose or elk cross the river or a bald eagle soaring down it, you just count your blessings. We built our cabin on a bluff overlooking the river with a narrow strip of bottom land just below. The bottom land is part of the hundred year flood plain, but our cabin is well out of it. You might have more"wetlands" if you're building on a river so that is one thing to consider.
     

  3. whiterock

    whiterock Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Seems to me the pros and cons would be one and the same - the river.
     
  4. bachelorb

    bachelorb Well-Known Member

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    We have a year round creek running through our 60 acres. There is both good and bad with it (mostly good).

    The good is its a good watering source for the animals, and a good cooling of source for the farmer.

    The bad is some times of the year its hard to cross with a tractor or on foot because of the high water, and when there is heavy rain a lot of stuff gets washed down stream. We get lawn chairs every year, this year though we hit the jackpot and got a sofa :clap: We also get a lot of other peoples trash that washes down and gets caught in the tree branches.

    Overall though, I really like having a running water source.
     
  5. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Access. How do you get to the other 1/2 of your property? Bridges cost money.

    Flooding. All water bodies have a flood plain, be sure you understand yours & don't ever want to build anything on low ground. Be sure you have the low water area, and a high suitable building area.

    Fencing. Very hard to fence across moving water if you want livestock, and new laws are forcing us to fence the water stream _out_ of the pasture areas - much expense. This limits your livestock watering 'advantage' as well.

    Bugs. Here in MN water equals more bugs in summer. Depends on local conditions. 'Tis perhaps the _worst_ thing locally.

    Ducks. We have a dug ditch, can't keep ducks, they float down-stream & are gone.

    Ownership. Most moving bodies of water are publicly owned, and thus you can't keep people off of them or the shoreline. As well, you often can't use the water or change the flow of the water - restrictions on that. So, don't plan on being able to do a pond, or stick a 5 inch irrigation hose into the water. Unless you are prepared for a lot of paperwork first.

    The positives should be pretty obvious. If the negatives don't bother you, you'll be happy with it. :)

    --->Paul
     
  6. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Pro's: Nice senic river, place to fish, boat.
    con: Floods, crap comming downstream ends up on your land. Flood take away part of your land.


    You raid river going through the property, How big is it, is it a river, stream, creak? Whatever it is you need to know your rights. They vary by state but generally you CANT own the water, You cant stop people from going down the river. You may or may not be able to dam the river. You may be subject to EPA regulations on what you can use on your land if the river is a historic river.

    As with any land purchase, know your rights, what you can and cant do. Find out what the flood plain looks like, take to people and know how much of your land will be under water each year and how long it stays wet.
     
  7. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We have no bugs arising from moving water. Our ponds, yes. And at least here, we have no problems with using the water to irrigate if it isn't permanently installed. Public access is permitted on "navigable rivers" and they are also permitted legally to the high water line. Most don't choose to fish right in front of a residence, but the ones that do are usually not pleased by the barking Great Pyrenees standing right next to them.
    Here is our river:
    http://www.misty-river-ranch.com/images/Cabin Construction July 2002 016.jpg
    And the cabin under construction 3 plus years ago:
    http://www.misty-river-ranch.com/images/Cabin Construction July 2002 039.jpg
     
  8. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

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    We looked at a peice of property on a river once. One thing to consider is if the river is the property line. This one was, and it moves!! If the river changed course we could have lost a significant amount of property! I guess it could also go the other way, but we didn't want to take the chance. I guess that might also have to do with what sort of substrate the river was running through. Ours was soft, sandy soil that would wash away easily.
     
  9. BeckyW

    BeckyW Well-Known Member

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    Another consideration on riverfront property (or even lakefront) is the level of the watertable. Does the soil perc? Or is the watertable so high that you cannot install a septic system. It means using a tank that has to be pumped at least once a year to the tune of $500-1000 (those are the out-west prices; WV may be much less).

    If I were looking at buying the property, I would put several contingencies in my offer - passing perc test would be one. Building near water isn't like the old days in many states. Is an environmental impact study going to be required? Are there special setbacks to protect native animal/bird habitats? (In Washington along Puget Sound, for example, eagle nesting studies are required to build anywhere near waterfront property. You aren't allowed to build within 300 ft - as I remember - of an eagle's nest. And just like humans, those eagles love the waterfront view! Result, humans often have only the BACK of the property to work with!)

    As a former realtor and developer, I'd definitely put the ultimate get-out contingency on waterfront property AND I'd run a long escrow to give myself time to do all the due-diligence. The contingency: "Purchase of property is subject to architect's approval." You discover ANYTHING outside the other layers of contingencies, that's your all-monies-refunded out. Oh dear, our architect didn't approve this parcel, sorry! As for the due-diligence, go straight to the building department and talk to them. Your realtor may or may not know what the building department will require to pull permits and build waterfront. Also, I'd find a good engineer who has worked in that area to stamp your plans and call out foundation depths. Go talk to a couple engineers - they can be a wealth of information.

    If you can OVERLOOK the river from a bit higher elevation, it can be a homesite that's about as close to heaven as you can get! Happy hunting!

    BW
     
  10. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The duck comment made me laugh... never in a million years would I have thought of that one, and I love keeping ducks! LOL

    This is the Ozarks, the laws are still pretty slack in most things, and remote areas rarely have anyone peeking in on you :). But I will check the laws. I'm married to an engineer, so I'll let him worry about buildings. He wants to build straw bale anyway... we're already going to be way out there!

    I don't mind the river being public access, it's a remote enough area we wouldn't see that many people anyway, but that could be a plus as well, possibilty of a little cash flow there; canoes, camping, worms, whatever.

    I hadn't thought about the trash either. Can't be any worse than the dumping that goes on the back roads.

    Bugs I'm thinking are more of a problem on still/stagnant water? Not so much moving water?
     
  11. Darren

    Darren Still an :censored:

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    We have a creek either running through the property or bordering it. When we first saw the property we had no idea of how high the water level could be if it flooded. The fact that the 150' swinging foot bridge was thirty feet off the ground should have been a warning. A lot of folks have no idea how high a creek can rise if they haven't lived in an area.

    It's not uncommon for the creek water level here to rise 15 to 20'. To have all weather access into our property would require a bridge 250' long. The best thing to do is talk to a resident that has lived in the area since the 50's or someone else who can tell you how high the flood of record was. For small streams or creeks that info can be difficult to find out since a flash flood often wipes out everything and the locals move elsewhere rather than rebuild.
     
  12. stirfamily

    stirfamily Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We live on the high banks of the Maumee River in Indiana.
    Pros-it's awfully pretty, the river is fairly shallow so we're not bothered by motor boats and the bank is covered with poison ivy so that rules out most fishermen too! Since we're on the high bank we're outside the 200 year flood plain.
    Cons-the wind coming off it in the winter is freezing
    one time we had a dead pig wash up on the low bank from the Amish farm on the other side.
    We get a lot of fog in the spring and fall.
    karen
     
  13. tobo6

    tobo6 Well-Known Member

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    We have a year round creek on our property. People not from this area, call it a river. :rolleyes: We do have to cross it to go up the hill to our house. Since we are on a hill, there is no danger of flooding damage to the house BUT boy does it flood in the rainy season.

    I honestly can not think of anything negative to say about. I love the flooding, the extra wildlife that visits, heck...I even like the beavers that chew down the little pecker tree's and cause us to break up dams every few months.

    There is nothing more relaxing then hearing water, and sitting back and enjoying the atmosphere. The fish taste great too!

    I know laws are getting tight about waterways, so make sure it's ok to do what you want with the water, and the land surrounding the water.
     
  14. Ramblin Wreck

    Ramblin Wreck Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Check with your prospective neighbors about flooding...and where the flood plain extends too. Overall, having water is much better than the alternative ... provided you don't get flooded all the time.
     
  15. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Our farm back in Missouri had a wet weather creek on it, that was dry all summer, trickled in the winter, but boy in Spring it was a monster! Our house was a long ways up the hill though. We could not leave in the Spring when the creek was up, but it never lasted more than a few days.
     
  16. mtn bluet

    mtn bluet in Illinois

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    Having lived on the river the past 10 years or so, I would say the scenic view can sometimes take your breath away. This year the river has been real low so since July 4th haven't seen any boats but loads of birds from Bald eagles to Common Egrets to Sandhill Cranes to Great Blue and Green Herons to Grebes. (Great summer for waterway birds, ususally they stay away due to the boat traffic.)

    As for critters, beavers will take down any small trees---we lost a young Arbor Vitae that way. It was gone- or rather died in a few weeks. By the time I figured out what was going on--it was too late. Even had the beaver hiss at me after I came upon it at night by accident. Yes, beavers will come close to your house to get at their trees.
    Had to "dam" up all shed underground spaces with sticks and rocks to get rid of living quarters for wood chucks. I watched one once eat plants in a neighbors yard---like a regular lawnmover, except it didn't discriminate between grass, or perennial or garden plants(really liked my black-eyed susan plants. :mad: ) It even started eating my tomatoes until I fenced them in and it out.

    Also the soil next to the river is a very fertile rich black silt that these sweet little brown ants love and they every year come into our house. By and large only Terro ant killer seems to control them. This summer I even tried laying out old fashioned grits. Takes a couple of weeks, but supposedly the ants are supposed to explode. The ants have their cycles so I'm not sure if the grits worked or not. We have lived with the problem as we don't want to use any major chemicals being so close to the river.

    Yes, junk catching on fallen trees can be a problem, but I love it when I accidently scare off a Great Blue Heron sitting on that fallen log a few feet from my yard!

    Spring in April can bring the river up taking 10 feet or more from the shoreline and then I can't really go back there as it is dangerous with the surging water.

    Well, that is my 2 cents----you can probably tell I have loved every minute of it as it has been my calm in the middle of storms of everyday life.
     
  17. JAK

    JAK Well-Known Member

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    I thought this thread was about some seedy red light district.
     
  18. ebarj1098

    ebarj1098 Active Member

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    We had looked at one place with a little creek on it. We were told there were restrictions on bridges and fencing. And I know anyone can go down the middle of it, just not come up on the bank. Those are my cons, but I've always thought the sound of water running would be well worth it.
     
  19. JAK

    JAK Well-Known Member

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    I agree. Riparian rights need to be respected, and are already accounted for in the value of a piece of property. If you have a nice creek or brook or stream running through your land, you essentially have two pieces of property not one, but they are both rather nice I would say, and they both have at least one friendly neighbour.
     
  20. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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