35 Questions to Ask Before Buying Vacant Land ?

Are you interested in buying your own piece of earth?  There’s nothing more fabulous than having a few acres of your own, and building your own place from the ground up.   But, buying land, especially in highly regulated areas like California, can be a lot more risky than buying a home.  These days of real estate disclosure for a home buyer have come a long way from the traditional law of “Caveat Emptor” (meaning buyer beware)!  Land, however, does not have the same rules.  I constantly hear stories like:

Ojai Land for slae
“I thought we were buying 80 acres, it turned out we got 65!”

“We had no idea this area was in an ancient landslide.  Its almost impossible to build here.”

“We thought we got an amazing deal, $1m for 120 acres, but it turns out its going to cost another $1m to get to the pad before we can even think of starting the house.”

“We bought a small lot in town and it turns out we can’t get water service so we can’t build!”

Unfortunately there isn’t one place to get answers.  Many local departments are involved and sometimes have conflicting information.

Here are 35 questions you can ask
Or you can get professional help – call me 310 963 7900.

Planning and Zoning

  1. Is it a legal lot? If not, how do I make it legal?
  2. What is the zoning classification of this lot?
  3. Does the Zoning on the property permit my project?
  4. Does the County General Plan permit what I wish to do?
  5. Are any planning permits required prior to building on the lot?
  6. Are there any zoning violations on the lot?
  7. Are there any special building restrictions in this area?
  8. Are there any cultural heritage sites on the property?

Continue reading “35 Questions to Ask Before Buying Vacant Land ?”

An Easy way to Stop Sending All Ojai’s Fresh Water Down the Drain

In the recently published Ojai Valley News – quoted below – Jeff Palmer almost proposed an excellent solution to a big Ojai problem.

KEEP our water in the valley DON’T  send it to the ocean.

Typical methods (and codes) have previously required all concentrated drainage i.e. from roofs to be piped from gutters through pipes and onto City streets. Once on the street – water flow increases – picking up lots of toxic auto waste from the roads and quickly makes its way to the ocean (simplified version but true).  This is exactly what we do not want  !

Drywell Pit – one solution

Drywell pit

The answer is to slow the water down – redirect the flow and encourage water absorption back into the ground recharging the aquifer with fresh, clean water.

According to the article below – Mr. Palmer did a “windshield survey” noting “numerous downspouts emptying directly into the ground …” were “direct connections” to the sewer system. I am not sure how Mr Palmer knows this, however I do know that emptying the water into the street is exactly what we don’t want.  We don’s want it sent through the water treatment plant or down to the ocean.

There are many simple ways to achieve this: Continue reading “An Easy way to Stop Sending All Ojai’s Fresh Water Down the Drain”