Sunday, January 31, 2010

Little place on the water

There's a small piece of land along the Androscoggin river that just came up for sale again. I'm not sure what the price is now, but last year it went for less than $4000.

Now that sounds like a good price for a piece of land with water frontage, but this place had some major shortcomings. Picture a slice of land roughly triangle shaped. The base, the wide part of the property, is 60 feet long. The other two sides are about 200 feet long. One side of the triangle is a major two lane road, the other side's the river.

There's not enough room to build a conventional house. It's right on the water, so a conventional septic system is out. What could someone do with such an odd piece of land?

One example is the place just south of this parcel. It's wider, but lower and prone to seasonal flooding from the river. The owner put a small shed up on blocks on the highest point of land. They also occasionally keep an old vehicle or two parked there. The cleverest thing they did on that property was to park a trailer with a house built on it. It looks something similar to one of the houses at: Since it's on wheels, no building permit is required. Legally it's a travel trailer. If it looks like the property is going to flood, they can move the house to a new location until the river goes down again.

Something like could be done on that $4000 strip of land, but I had other ideas. Picture a flat bottomed house boat. During the warm months, it roams the river or is docked. There's plenty of room for a shed and place to park a few cars. When the river starts to freeze, it's winched up on land, but can still be lived in.

Plant a few fruit and nut trees on the land. Put in a small garden, Go fishing as much as you'd like. It wouldn't be a bad life, and would certainly cost a lot less than conventional housing. The houseboat would be a bit cramped, but much better than living in a trailer in a park. Plus, remember you own the land.

The houseboat could be built right on your property. It's even in the delivery range of the local building supply companies. You wouldn't even need a car or truck to haul materials.

Let's face it. The suburban model of living has failed a lot of people. Ask anyone who's house has been foreclosed on. It makes a lot of sense to think outside the box.


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