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Small Cabin Forum / Properties / Building a cabin in ontario (permits and fees)
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spee
# Posted: 18 Jan 2011 11:55
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Hi all,

Just bought a place north of bracebridge in ontario.

I called the town and they said there is a 10 000 Development fee and a 500 building permit to get start. + multiple other permits along the way. INSANE !!

They also said I couldnt build a shed until there is a primary residence.

Is there anyway I can get away with building a small 8x12 place in the woods? My property is 7 acres and most areas are very remote from the road.

Multiple people have said just get a travel trailer and use it on the weekends and vacation time.
Any ideas would be appreciated.

SmlTxCabin
Member
# Posted: 18 Jan 2011 14:59
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Wow that is ridiculous. It is insane how the government thinks that they need to get paid so that you can do something on YOUR own land. Crappola if you ask me.

spee
# Posted: 18 Jan 2011 15:17
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yup, very sad.

The best line was the building inspector telling me, " we cant stop you from pitching a tent" ...WoW thanks ! :(

MikeOnBike
Member
# Posted: 18 Jan 2011 15:24
Reply 


Is the $10000 so you can connect to the municipal utilities? What if you don't?

Gary O
Member
# Posted: 19 Jan 2011 22:57
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Quoting: spee
They also said I couldnt build a shed until there is a primary residence.

Is there anyway I can get away with building a small 8x12 place in the woods? My property is 7 acres and most areas are very remote from the road.


Not knowing your area, but what has worked for me, and others around my area;

1) See what type of places are around you
If they are rustic and a development is not in the area, or coming soon, you might be able to remain under the radar

2) Talk to the neighbors about it
If they don't care, then the county usually doesn't care (don't ask don't tell)

3) Putting your small structure on skids makes it a 'temporary' structure in some cases (like a trailer)

Quoting: spee
I called the town and they said there is a 10 000 Development fee and a 500 building permit to get start. + multiple other permits along the way.


Oftentimes, when calling the city or county, you can get an unimaginative clerk that just reads a city ordinance to you, and it may not even apply to your area. Or you can get an administrator with a power trip agenda, of which I did when I inquired about a composting toilet. They flat out denied me, but after further review (on my part) I found that the feds over ruled, and composting toilets are encouraged.

30 years ago I trudged into the county office, and spilled my guts as to what I wanted to do
Luckily the county guy I talked to was cool. He clued me in, and told me to 'get outta heah...whatzamattah witcha?'


This is all just my opinion, but talking to your neighbors is a major key...............

Gary O'

MtnDon
Member
# Posted: 20 Jan 2011 00:07 - Edited by: MtnDon
Reply 


I have heard of places with exorbitant fees. Sometimes it is because the locals who already live there have made it clear they do not want further development. If they have made that clear to the elected officials that could be the reason.

Could be lots of other reasons too.

Do they give any breakdown what the $10K goes towards?


And not being allowed to build a shed or garage before the residence is also common. That doesn't make it right but it is an unfortunate fact of life in some places.

farfromhome
Member
# Posted: 20 Jan 2011 08:59
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Spee (new Bracebridge resident)

As a fellow Ontario resident, I sympathize with your dilemma. The first thing you need to do is find out the exact zoning designation for your property. This is important as the restrictions will vary by how your property is zoned. eg. Is it zoned recreation, RU1 (rural residential) or farmland. The planning restrictions will then give you an idea of the different possibilities. eg. farmland allows for a number of outbuildings without a principle residence. Note: RU3 designation gives you a lot of flexibility. eg. house, B & B, greenhouse, kennel, out buildings, migrant worker accommodation buildings.

Is there an existing structure on the property. Anything? This opens up other possibilities under "Change of Use" and renovation. Please update the members with your research

teakboat
Member
# Posted: 20 Jan 2011 10:39 - Edited by: teakboat
Reply 


It seems like the effect of that tax or fee would be to reduce property values per acre by a huge amount. Seems that the reduction in value would be harmful to the existing property owners property values (the people who are trying to discourage new building). Does Ontario not respect ownership rights? That is incredibly sad for you, good luck.

CabinBuilder
Admin
# Posted: 20 Jan 2011 11:01 - Edited by: CabinBuilder
Reply 


This has nothing to do with land ownership - it's just another revenue stream for the local government.
Some US states/jurisdictions have similar building permit pricing - see this post.

spee
# Posted: 20 Jan 2011 11:05
Reply 


Quoting: MikeOnBike

Is the $10000 so you can connect to the municipal utilities? What if you don't?

There are no utilities to hook up too, I could bring in hydro from the road, about 5k to bring it in according to one guy i spoke too BUT i dont want to since id like it to be solar, without hydro cabin

Quoting: MtnDon
Do they give any breakdown what the $10K goes towards?

Attached document, which was confirmed by the building inspector when i called the town.

http://img816.imageshack.us/img816/6297/devfeesdetails.jpg


Quoting: farfromhome
Is there an existing structure on the property. Anything? This opens up other possibilities under "Change of Use" and renovation. Please update the members with your research


Old shed was on the property thats it. I had it moved when i had the driveway /clearing redone a couple weeks back and . 200 tones of gravel later !! heres a video showing the work done.

http://img413.imageshack.us/i/v1y.mp4/

Thanks for the great insight everyone !

MtnDon
Member
# Posted: 20 Jan 2011 11:11 - Edited by: MtnDon
Reply 


Placer County, CA (Lake Tahoe area) has very high fees, even higher than those. I don't believe that will reduce any land values for those who have already built. Those properties will become more valuable. The available vacant lands will be bought by those with mega dollars. They will build large and valuable homes/retreats and the fees will be but a small portion of their total cost. They will pay their taxes to the county. The little guy loses out. Nothing illegal, just "not nice".

spee
# Posted: 20 Jan 2011 11:35
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just so everyone knows, Bracebridge is 2 hours north of Toronto, in Ontario, Canada

teakboat
Member
# Posted: 20 Jan 2011 11:53 - Edited by: teakboat
Reply 


Quoting: CabinBuilder
This has nothing to do with land ownership - it's just another revenue stream for the local government.


Yes CabinBuilder, I know, but I think for the small landowner / cabin builder, it impedes their ability to enjoy their own land, and is a big problem, no? It sure seems to work against the notion of buying some affordable land, building a modest cabin, and enjoying a simple life near nature. If I demand from you a hefty fee for you to use your own property that you have already paid for once, do I not also share with you a financial interest in your land ownership?

By the way this is a terrific website, good job and thank you!

hattie
Member
# Posted: 20 Jan 2011 12:48
Reply 


Bracebridge is beautiful country. My uncle owned in Port Sydney (your neighbour *S*). Nice wild blueberry country - yum!

There probably isn't too much you can do about the regulations and rules (and bills) thrown at you other than pay them. We went through the same thing here in BC. We complained and complained but bottom line was we had to pay. *sigh*

spee
Member
# Posted: 20 Jan 2011 14:20
Reply 


Quoting: hattie
Bracebridge is beautiful country. My uncle owned in Port Sydney (your neighbour *S*). Nice wild blueberry country - yum!


Yup the bears love them :)

We will see how it goes, there is also a 950 sqft min for a house/cabin/building... Crazy !

Maybe pitching a tent is the way to go for now, until I save up 100 grand !

MtnDon
Member
# Posted: 20 Jan 2011 15:18
Reply 


Quoting: spee
there is also a 950 sqft min for a house/cabin/building... Crazy !



Agreed, that's enough for a full time home.

dabones
Member
# Posted: 22 Jan 2011 15:45
Reply 


no wonder why so many people just park a trailer and call it a day..

as long as you leave the wheels and hitch/tongue attahced, then trailers are exempt from any building permits/regulations..

my boss at work has a large trailer out back as a shed, for the simple reason that it didn't require any permits, and doesn't raise the taxes..

Just
Member
# Posted: 22 Jan 2011 20:18
Reply 


I HAVE BUILT A 108 SQ. FT CABIN IN ONTARIO . A NEIGHBOR COMPLAINED , THE TOWNSHIP CAME AND SAID WE WERE OK ALONG AS IT WAS UNDER 10 SQ. METERS OR 108 SQ. FEET . THERE WAS HOWEVER A SMALL COTTAGE ON THE LOT !!NOT SURE IF THAT IS WY IT WAS OK .THE CABIN HAD SOLAR POWER RUINING WATER 60 IN. KITCHEN AND A TWO BEDROOM LOFT. THERE WAS ROOM FOR A PULLOUT COUCH ON THE MAIN FLOOR .WE HAVE SINCE SOLD AND BOUGHT ONE CLOSER TO HOME !! TO BAD I MISS IT!!
THE CABIN WAS 8X 13 , 6

SmlTxCabin
Member
# Posted: 23 Jan 2011 15:45
Reply 


I don't understand why nosy neighbors can't mind their own business. I would never complain on a neighbor if they built a little cabin on their land. So dang weird.

Gary O
Member
# Posted: 23 Jan 2011 17:10
Reply 


Neighbors
The key to doing what you'd like to do....
IMO

Gary O'

lcstoronto
# Posted: 23 Jan 2011 18:08
Reply 


Makes me sick that people would complain about a small cabin acres away that does them no harm. Nosy SOBs with no life.

The CDN gov sucks too. Rape us with fees. Why does it cost thousands of dollars just to get a permit. Simply insane. They take our money thru taxes, enjoy their $500 lunches, and screw us over.

I can see why people snap and climb a bell tower.

bugs
Member
# Posted: 23 Jan 2011 18:44
Reply 


Ummm Spee Why are you dealing with the town gov't? Shouldn't you be dealing with the county/municipality? Unless your land is within the town's jurisdiction.

Maybe I am missing something.

Speee
# Posted: 23 Jan 2011 20:04
Reply 


Quoting: bugs
Ummm Spee Why are you dealing with the town gov't? Shouldn't you be dealing with the county/municipality? Unless your land is within the town's jurisdiction.

mine falls under the township of muskoka lakes, all building permits go through them.

I visited the land today again , covered in 3 feet of snow and -28 !!

bushbunkie
Member
# Posted: 24 Jan 2011 17:00
Reply 


Hey Spee,
My wife and I bought a few acres up around the Bruce Peninsula last August and had the same problem. We looked around and became friends with the neighbors, etc and got a general feel for things.
We also found that many neighbors who had built a cottage...started with a bunkie (100 sq. ft) and still had the bunkie on there lots...
We went ahead and built one with our neighbors blessing...you can"t see our property clearing from the road...we also put in a well this year as well.
We're hoping that as long as you're good neighbors, which seems to be what people are really concerned about (and rightly so), you have a good chance of staying under the radar.
If you build your bunkie on a 2 x 6 or 2 x 8 frame....the very worst scenario would be you just get it loaded onto a flat bed trailer with a forklift and move it.
A pic of my bunkie is on the forum.
Goodn luck, buddy...it is a little frustrating but sometimes you just need to go for it.
What I can tell you is donot drop a trailer onto your property...folks who live around the area don't like it.

teakboat
Member
# Posted: 24 Jan 2011 17:19
Reply 


Once again though, such a shame that you need to worry about keeping your neighbors blessing on an ongoing basis over many years, to use your own land in a modest way. That is Canada for ya...

bunkie
# Posted: 24 Jan 2011 18:10
Reply 


Yes, it is a shame...I can see why they need some rules to keep out the "yahoos" who want to turn a nice piece of property into a dumping ground for old trailers and cars , etc....which we saw a few of while we were scoping out our property originally...unfortunately though these same rules blanket everyone...including those responsible cabin owners who take care of their cabins and property and have pride in maintaining them.
Unfortunately, these rules now keep the "dream" out of reach for the average guy who has a family and is not in a $$ position to build, maintain and pay taxes on another home...which is basically what they ask you to build when you consider the minimum square footage (1000sq.ft), septic systems, etc.

bugs
Member
# Posted: 24 Jan 2011 19:02 - Edited by: bugs
Reply 


Spee -28!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A balmy winter day in old SK. We are enjoying hearing about TO residents having to bring in their brass monkeys in out of the cold in case of future reproductive failure and hi pitched singing!

It is too bad about the regulations. But as others have said it is the "blanket."

Our municipality has some strange rules too. Grass must be cut to less than 6 cm, a permit is required for construction of a fence or out building, buildings must be kept "up", only one unlicensed vehicle is allowed on a property. There are a few other interesting ones but you get the drift.

The reason is because the municipality we are in is sparsely populated (less than 0.8/square km in the last census and going down) and has had to take over a number of the hamlets and villages within it. I think the largest community in the municipality (850 square km or ???square miles) is less than 30 people and there are at least six that are essentially ghost towns. Such is the urban migration in SK.

We decided to ignore all of these requirements as our land is listed as agricultural and we do rent a portion out to our neighbouring farmer. (Our shed is on skids so that makes it mobile and temporary.) And as we drive out to out place we see many derelict buildings, yard sites and impromptu agricultural museums on our way.

Sometimes neighbours are great to have..... They have bobcats and horses and friendly dogs! Other times not. For us, most of the people around are curious about what our plans are as we have found out in conversations. Both the lady wife and I can talk "farmeeeze" so it does not take long to fit in..... Just have to complain about wheat/canola prices, cattle prices and the gov't!

We often see the quintessential SK pickup (Ford 150 or larger) stop for minutes on end on the road when we are at our shed. The only view of our little shed and yard site is from a road 3/4 of a mile away across our little pond. I suspect the yellow towel blowing in the breeze catches their attention. Probably checking us out through the scope of their rifle.... Registered long gun of course!!!

Anyway maybe you can track down some land that is more easily converted to your vision of paradise. Hope you can cause, paradise can be a lot of fun as you can read on the forum.

All the best

bugs

spee
Member
# Posted: 25 Jan 2011 11:49
Reply 


Ill hope for the best this spring when i do my rounds to the neighbors.

Until then sledding to the clearing site was nice !!
weekend.jpg
weekend.jpg


bugs
Member
# Posted: 25 Jan 2011 12:12
Reply 


Spee great pic. You guys do have a lot of snow! We are more self propelled types: snow shoeing and x-skiing. Usually there is enough outdoors for everyone to enjoy.

One of the "ghost" towns near us has an annual snowmobile poker rally in Mar. They use a back road that goes behind our place for a fuel stop. On that day the place sounds like a race track from late morning to late afternoon. All the wildlife just hunkers down. So far that is the only day we have had an issue and we just avoid the place that day now that we know. Most of the time it is silence with normal farm noises and machinery working the fields.

Please keep us posted on your progress. Maybe your neighbours will be able to provide some helpful suggestions such as a movable cabin on skids/wheels or something to get around the issues you are facing.

bushbunkie
Member
# Posted: 26 Jan 2011 06:56
Reply 


Good Luck, Spee.....I feel your frustration and we just went for it.
Here's what we put up last summer on the Bruce Penninsula and now have just had a well installed.
The bunkie is wired and insulated and we have a 2000 watt king generator.
Having the water and electricity...only when you nee it...has made it a lot more comfortable.
I also went on line to the "luvable loo" website and built a compost toilet...even my wife loves it! This summer's project is an outdoor shower!
Good luck on your little piece of heaven!
Bunkie
Bunkie
The Loo
The Loo
Outhouse
Outhouse
well
well


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