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Old 10-02-2013, 03:56 PM   #1
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Is there a forum here dedicated to living full-time on a permanent rural site?

I'm helping my step-father get set up with a fifth-wheel on a rural site which we hope will be comfortable as a permanent retirement residence for him. I have a lot of beginner-type questions about everything from code issues to site-preparation to selecting the most appropriate fifth-wheel RV. (We already know that either a fifth-wheel or travel-trailer will be our only options and to maximize space and other reasons it appears we must choose the former.)

I've got some good information from searching the IRV2.com old threads but in some cases the answers were either not sufficiently complete and so I've not always found archive searches productive. (I'm hoping that over the years this website has grown and that a question posted today will perhaps get more answers than in the past? Is that the case?)
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Old 10-02-2013, 04:21 PM   #2
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5th wheel questions can go in the 5th wheel forum.

Site preparation and code questions can go in iRV2 General Discussion.
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Old 10-02-2013, 04:30 PM   #3
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Hi and welcome to the forum.

As Dirk indicated, your questions will most likely best be posted in those two forums. We don't have a great deal of traffic regarding fivers being set up permanently in rural sites but our membership does have a wealth of experience and knowledge and I think you'll be able to tap into that.

Best of luck.

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Old 10-02-2013, 04:37 PM   #4
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Thank you all for your advice.
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Helping my disabled father and my care-giver sister in getting their fifth-wheels for a long-term, rural Texas site. I hope to do likewise within a year or two so...just trying to learn all that I can. Any & all advice is appreciated!
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Old 10-02-2013, 04:47 PM   #5
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Before you buy a unit check with the local authorities to make sure this arrangement is allowed by local codes. It may not.
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Old 10-02-2013, 07:30 PM   #6
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I'd think you'd have to follow same building codes as setting up a mobile home or manufactured housing since that's your intentions. According to location it might require block foundations, skirting, septic system, storm anchoring, etc.
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Old 10-02-2013, 08:04 PM   #7
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I've seen both 5vers and travel trailers set up in rural areas here in Florida. Do not know the codes though.

Mobile home parks around here often allow campers to be set up on their larger than campground lots. 2 different places within 8 miles here. Just something for you to look into.
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Old 10-02-2013, 08:05 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post
I'd think you'd have to follow same building codes as setting up a mobile home or manufactured housing since that's your intentions. According to location it might require block foundations, skirting, septic system, storm anchoring, etc.
Way ahead of ya. :-) Been there, done that. (Long ago.)

Reading the reams of state and county regulations was an interesting experience in itself and even turned up some fascinating contradictions between the two. But it was well worth the process and led to some very pleasant surprises. (In fact, I wouldn't want to publicly post our conclusions because if many others took advantage of the same grand-fathered exceptions and waivers, bureaucrats and politicians would most likely "update" them and ruin it for everybody.)

That is precisely why the plan now is to hook to the electrical grid but nothing else. (There is a grand-fathered, largely unused structure within a few yards distance so we plan to take showers and set up washer-dryer there, although we could have avoided that if we wished to build a more sophisticated rainwater system than we already have. We can legally connect the RV water systems to the rainwater reservoirs but by doing so only a "temporary basis", we save a lot of expense and hassles. It is all a delicate dance. Indeed, now that we know the legal definitions of "temporary" versus "permanent" in the relevant code, it is not a difficult situation at all.)

Even the official "eco-friendly" gray-water processing requirements for full-time water hookup were onerous because State law requires an "emergency bypass for system failure" that automatically diverts to a full-fledged blackwater system---that wiped out every advantage and cost saving of going with the most nature-friendly, rainwater-saving solutions. (If we had hooked into the primitive but legally-grandfathered old-style septic system on the site, it would nullify the grandfather status unless we spent major dollars on various changes. And after reading the regulations, we decided that jeopardizing even one grandfathered waiver could overturn the others like a tower of cards. Just not worth it. And we figure that every time a county inspector is drawn to the property to re-approve something, it runs the risk of losing the legal waiver or grandfather permission on something else.)

So as it is, we are 100% legal and plan to stay that way. Figuring out the details took a few hours of reading but it was well worth it. The only sad part is that some of the official code requirements are actually less friendly to the environment than doing things the "right" way. [Advice: If someone doesn't like wading through codes and regulations in all of their gory details, I wouldn't recommend all of this. But for us it turned into a kind of game. In retrospect, it hasn't been as complicated as I originally feared. But I'm quite content to grab my towels, put on my slippers, and walk a short path to a locked private shower where I remotely turned on the room's heat some 20 minutes before if a cold front has come through in January. And in August that may also mean dodging some mosquitoes on the way if we've had rain a few days before. But the cost savings and location pays off. And no more $1,000/month property taxes to pay! Its no fun making a lot of money if maintaining one's lifestyle and paying taxes eats up much of what one earns. [Losing 53cents in taxes to each extra dollar of marginal income is for the birds.] So why not retire and live somewhere where one needs far less money to live? We are all looking forward to it.]
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Helping my disabled father and my care-giver sister in getting their fifth-wheels for a long-term, rural Texas site. I hope to do likewise within a year or two so...just trying to learn all that I can. Any & all advice is appreciated!
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Old 10-02-2013, 09:43 PM   #9
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Sounds like you've got it covered. Good luck to you, your step-father and sister!
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Old 10-02-2013, 10:04 PM   #10
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If you have not yet purchased might I suggest the step up to the bedroom in a fiver could be a challenge to anyone with a a handicap. I am presently dealing with a wheel chair bound wife so I am always looking out for the hazzards. Believe me I did not know so many existed. The wood work looks like I walked through the house with an axe.

Don G.
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