Regulated out of Existence: Off-Gridders Forced back on the Grid, Camping on own land Illegal

It’s something we’ve reported on many times in the past – government agencies trying to regulate Off-Grid living out of existence. Throughout the country, local zoning officials have made it impossible for people to go off the grid, in many cases even threatening them with jail time for not hooking into local utilities.

Because of zoning laws that target the off-grid lifestyle, many off-gridders have moved to areas in the Southwestern United States to escape overzealous zoning officials. But this week, off-gridders were dealt another blow in an area of the country that has become a magnet for people looking to live a more self-reliant lifestyle.

Is Costilla County, Colorado Banning Off-Grid Living?

There is a battle brewing in Costilla County, Colorado

San Luis Valley, Colorado

During the last couple of years, Costilla County, Colorado has seen a huge influx in people moving into the San Luis Valley – must of who have moved there to live off the grid. A combination of cheap land, lax zoning regulations, and a community of self-reliant individuals has brought in a large number of off-grid homesteaders into the area. But that life-style is now being threatened as government officials move to make it illegal — something that is becoming a real problem for those who are looking to buy rural land.

Costilla County, Colorado Bans camping on your own Land; Zoning Officials attempt to make people hook back into the grid.

Costilla County

Last week tensions reached a boiling point, as a scheduled county commissioners’ meeting in San Louis, Colorado, turned into an ugly shouting match between sheriff deputies and off-grid homesteaders. The conflict comes as the county is attempting to ban camping, and force off-grid home owners back on to the grid.

Twenty-year resident Paul Skinner summed it up at the planning commission meeting, “We are residents who have come to live off the grid. It’s all our land.” … “These are harsh economic times. We have nowhere to go.”

“We’ve been regulated out of life,” resident Robin Rutan told CPR. “I came here because I couldn’t live by the codes [in other regions]”

Off Grid Home in Costilla County, Colorado

One of the issues that is causing the biggest outcry is the county’s refusal to issue camping permits, which the county is now requiring residents have if they are living in an RV, or camp-style home. This is a big problem for off-gridders, many of whom either live in RVs, tiny-homes, or tents as they build their permanent homes.

Other changes to the code would require water, sewer, and electricity to be installed prior to building permits being issued – something that local residents say specifically targets those who came here to live off-the-grid.

Local Residents Shares why they moved to the area, and how the county is attempting to move them out.


Self-Reliant Lifestyle Being Targeted for Extinction

Off Grid Land in San Luis Valley

From the White House using race to change national zoning laws and define who can live in certain neighborhoods, to global corporations using eminent domain to steal homes, to the city of Seattle trying to ban single-family homes, there is a war on self-reliance brewing. It’s becoming harder and harder for independent, freedom-minded people to find somewhere to live without having to worry about government intrusion. It seems freedom loving Americans are under attack from every direction.

I’ve covered story after story…

Shirts of Liberty

OFFGRID Survival book



    • We bought land here and told the Assessors office we will have to buy a permit a month and save for the septic even being told the wife is set up for two eye operations and it is unsafe for her to drive they want us out in 10 days. I’m thinking the land will go back on the market we will build our home elsewhere probably in Arizona they want my tax money.

    • exactly. the only thing i can think of is the oceans left. outside 12 nautical miles of us coastlines is international maritime law. however this presents a problem – PIRATES, and the fact that the UN has taken control of the worlds oceans. but its the only place that i can see that still has some freedom left unless you wanna go to mars when they colonize it??

      • Call Leon Musk, he’s planning for mud 2020’s!!! Just, skipping lunar pied a tierre’s and going straight to Mars.

  1. I live offgrid in a 5th wheel here in the valley.. sorta. I’m up in the pinons.. i’m seeing both sides of this and although i personally would not piss on a cop or a government employee to save their life, i must say i see the locals point.. most of the folks i meet at the wells are here for 1 thing. Most think they will make their fortune growing grass and dealing it.. hate to tell you folks this.. it aint going to happen.. the valley floor (most of us call it iraqi flats) is starting to look like a dump.. and i’m ashamed of the behavior from the ones that think they’re owed something..
    Water is scarce, you have to haul it.. wells are expensive.. people have to bury their poop (thats just criminal)(and nasty) or hopefully they compost it.. i could rant all night on this..but i won’t.. ADVICE:do NOT move here without an income and have something to offer the community.. and everybody here grows pot.. theres no market for it.. you wont solve your problems at home by becoming a problem here.. good luck.. gun up, man up, shut up..

    • I agree luis valley. Most of the folks coming here don’t have a clue about how to live in the extra harsh conditions here. Too many with good intentions leave their trash when they get cold and hungry, to rot and leak into the ground water, for eternity. Something MUST be done to mitigate and prevent desecration of our land and water. We have rights too.

      • @polluted desert
        Next meeting should be interesting.. think I’ll take my golden retriever and be a fly on the wall.. hope to meet you there..

    • luis valley, I’ve been looking for small acreage in Colorado to leave a camper and maybe build a very small off grid cabin. I’ve looked at this area and the prices make it tempting, but I’d rather be at a higher elevation with greenery. This would be a place to come for a few weeks at a time to relax and hike. Wouldn’t mind growing a few veggies but not interested in pot. Any suggestions?

      • Don’t relocate to costilla county, everyone grows weed and in so ill plants do well like potatoes and carrots and such. They sell cheap property pay by month you go out there with nothing that’s what you have. Campers are considered nuicance the police tell you that you can’t camp more than 15days a year and there’s a 90day permit available but they will not issue you leave man gets property back because your not going to pay for something you can’t use. Win win the property owners sell property over and over he’s happy, the county is happy all that land tax revenue 40,000 lots. No extra people don’t need services etc. you get it.
        If you have 10-20k tie into power 5-15k septic and a well 15-40k and under 35acres can only use it inside no outside watering period.

    • I agree with Luis. Anyone who has camped off grid in a remote area easy access has experienced what swine humans can be with their feces, urine, trash, and liberal attitude. Just tune in, drop out. Be the Gray Man, clean up, and leave no trace!

    • Composting isn’t rocket science. Freedom seems to be a vague thing with many. And it doesn’t take money to clean up after one’s self. I decided long ago,That even with the common sense thinking about pot laws that Co. Has,It has many problems with its thinking,Government wise.

      • @ RN.. I am a retired nurse..☺.. visit first.. get a copy of the costilla county land use regs. Food is hard to grow here.. water is expensive.. if you can abide and get along, then by all means, cmon down.

        • Luis valley, I just bought some land up in the pines. I’d love to have a conversation with you. Anyway we could get in touch?

    • uhm.. burying your poop does compost it.. it will eventually be broken down by plants for nutrients as well as bacteria.. so I guess I don’t see your point.

    • Hi Luis Valley, I am OMW there maybe as soon as next fall a year hence, and I have been looking at the local current conditions to be there. You’re spot on as to how shabby things can get if newbies aren’t asked to try harder. In another historic district I currently live, we were grandfathered in for certain code standards, but not electricity grid grrrrr

    • We have been here 3 months I’m a retired tradesman they have the codes for a reason and need to enforce them but if they run people off that are trying they will not have good people/families that build and respect the land if they would pay more attention to making people keeping their land clean and up to code things would change they want us out not caring we are keeping our land clean and working to deal with their codes If they run people off before they give them a chanch they will be dealing with the trash and delapitaded structures for ever.

  2. This fella should run for Mayor. That’s what Sonny Bono did when he was told he could not put a sign on his Restaurant. Win or lose. This guy is someone I would vote for based on what he said in the video. Just tell the truth. And when they ask you about things that are personal, tell them that you want to bring dignity back to America because that’s what we need. Stick to the issues and good luck. If I had money, I’d send you a check to fund your campaign and the construction of a building on your property, your headquarters. Every person fighting for his rights, fights for the rights of every other American.

  3. So it’s 7 in the morning, I can’t sleep and instead of watching infomercials I choose to watch Dog the Bounty Hunter.I find it ironic that people are allowed to squat in tents,old campers etc on public beaches that tax payers pay for.Supposedly Hawaii is Obama’s home state and yet people who work, save, and pay for their land are being kicked off for the same thing except they paid out of their own pocket. But he gave 150 billion for a terrorist state to make nukes.Me and my conservative friends agree,hard working, people who show up everyday and earn what they have or want,IT’S OVER. Laying with my dying dog at 9;13 had hopes of letting him live free on an acre or 2 in the Blue Ridge or Appalachian’s off grid. I guess I let him down.

  4. I used to live in and love Colorado.I am disgusted by people like this who want to “bum” off the land–contributing no skills, planning to be an “old hippie”. These bums are ruining Colorado.

    • Stef:

      May be you should listen to the tape.

      This man wants to build a house on his own land.
      He is being refused permits.

      • It is because 90% or more of the iraqi flats land owners can be seen from hwy. 160. And it looks like a public dump on most of these 5 acre pieces of sand.. buy up in the pinons or even higher if you can..

    • Lived in Colorado 10 years, sadly I left because the armpit of colorado (Denver) where the bulk of the pantywaists reside and dictate policy to the rest of the state has bred, invited, and nourished the current Obama way of liberalism to thrive. So seeing what was coming I voted with my feet and Colorado has reaped exactly what has been allowed to happen…..failed liberalism and now like locusts they will want to move on to another feed lot…..Such a shame, They live, they bred, and they vote.

      • I lived in Denver, CO back between 1980 – 1985 and it was very conservative back in those days, but I remember big city libs from California and other big city states like Mich and Wis were moving there in droves. I remember when Colorado had that cowboy toughness about it but I guess that mentality is gone. What a shame. Libs are like a cancer. They just spread their disease wherever they go. After Colorado is destroyed completely by failed lib policies then they will move on to spread their sickness somewher else.

    • I currently live in a Colorado historic gold Camp district, and the locals here 3 generations were Rocky Mountain High hippies 1960’s – 70’s. It’s taken us 2 decades to turn the area around and old hippies put in a Hell of A Lot of Work, still doing so.

  5. I find this to be despicable. Its a money grab, I applaud anyone who is knowledgeable enough to provide and live in a home without said utilities. Good for you. There should be no reason to change this zoning. Its actually a good thing not to have so many people drawing on an already overdrawn power grid. These people should be getting incentives to upgrade their properties to this kind of lifestyle. I understand if the property is unsightly like any other property , to need to clean it up, but to force people to live a certain way, is reprehensible.

  6. They should talk with Maine, the off griders. Get Maine to give them land with a real title or atleast provisions to allow them to live off grid on land they buy/rent, in exchange, the land is then developed to meet the new standards, with UN style dense population, then they can send Maine Muslim population there(land is given to Maine, and Maine can sit back, collect section 8 from the development, and get rid of their islamic population). Colorado has a more generous welfare system, and the overly Hispanic town can get some lovely diversity!

    This would take less then 6 months to do!

  7. I am not sure of all the dinamics of your situations but this I know. We should be able to live free on our own land as we please. Private property is one the of the foundational rocks that our Republic is built upon. Having said that, freedom comes with responsibilities; both to the land which we have been blessed with and to your neighbors. My 7th grade history teacher told me that my freedom ends where the other guys nose begins. So I would say, do to your neighbor as you would have them do to you.
    I hope it works out where justice is best served.
    God bless you all in your trials.

  8. Check counties in Missouri many countiesns do not have building codes or permits or zoning… Texas has building codes but no county permits nor inspections I am looking right now

  9. West Virginia has many areas with NO zoning. Great folks, mostly Scot/Irish and German. Due to war on coal, lots of poverty, BUT it varies by county. Many live in the hollows, HUNT and fish, know how to survive, though there are drugs and the crime rate is not as low as it used to be. People usually MIND THEIR OWN BUSINESS, but if you are friendly and helpful most will help you. Beautiful state, and forgotten by most, which why it is mostly unspoiled! LOW property taxes.

  10. Unless some serious time is spent repealing some of the the hundreds of thousands of laws as a sign that Government recognizes it’s over reaching grabs on liberty, it’s Just a matter of time, before this all comes to a head.

  11. Good article,Thanks for your effort.Do you live off grid.Here in N.Y.The city reminds me more and more of the film “Soylent Green”.I want to move to an unincorporated county but now that Agenda 21 is now updated to 2030 the challenge has just increased.

  12. Welcome to Agenda 21!

    This same problem is playing out everywhere – every city, state and county is under assault using the same tactics. Permits and statutory codes are being used as weapons against humanity, to drive people off of the land and into dense pack-n-stack urban cities. Fire permits, water rights, wetlands all used to deny people rights to live.

    No permit? One less ‘useless eater’ taking up space the elites would rather have for themselves.

    See the miniscule green spots on this map, to see where they will let you live. Red is completely off limits to humans, and yellow will be ‘highly regulated’, meaning regulated out of existence.

    It’s a full-frontal assault on humanity. Nowhere left to live free.

  13. Time to stop believing the zoning board has the authority to tell you what you can do with your own land. Do what you will. If men with guns come to your land, defend yourself. Make mutual defense pacts with your neighbors. While you’re at it, stop paying property tax, too.

    • You can’t do that until you declare your independence from the nanny government and publish it for the public record. Only then will the statutory laws no longer apply.

  14. I lived off-grid in the high country of Costilla county for about 4 years a few seasons back. Loved it! I highly recommend it as a lifestyle. Lived for free, no utilities and a small tax footprint.

    This is about money. The county wants the permitting fees (at the time about $2400 per site), the inspectors want the inspection fees and the contractors want paid to put in your power, well and septic. It’s a small community and they are all related, well inspector is cousin to the land-use administrator whose wife’s uncle owns a backhoe to install septic systems. The above picture may not be completely accurate but you get the idea.

    A well will run you $20,000 add another $5,000 for a septic system. Grid attached power, if you can get it in your area, will cost roughly $10,000 per mile to run the lines. Plus, as I mentioned above, roughly $2400 in permitting fees.

    Glad I got out when I did.

    • Costilla County has +/- less than 5000 residents, with tens of thousands MORE absentee landowners, paying taxes, not around to cause issues!!

  15. Claim your status as an uunenfranchisement freeman at common law and in Sui Juris, then make then prove that you are not. You have the right to request that the government prove its jurisdiction, and if they proceed against you without having first proven their jurisdiction, then they’re guilty of fraud and you can seek for recovery of damages. It’s in the law! The Founding Father established this country with the intention that we all be free people under the Common Law, where everyone is free to do what they want as long as they don’t damage somebody else. If we don’t have that now then one of 3 things must be true:
    1. The Constitution has been rescinded and the Common Law is dead, and they have NOT told us.
    2. There is some other jurisdiction that they are using against us that is not indicated in the Constitution that seems genuine, but is really is not; and if that is the case, then how are we, as free people, under that jurisdiction, or
    3. We, as a free person, have each one individually entered into some agreement with the government knowingly, willingly, and intentionally whereby we have agreed to perform as they say. If that is the case then the agreement must be produced and its validity determined.

    We are still free people if we will just claim it and stand on it. The Law is on our side. They are the lawbreakers.

  16. I see a push for for living Green.But try to live it?
    And people are all over you. Agenda 21,A must read as to what kind of future is really being pushed for into the future. Land rights and freedoms keep on disappearing. Affordable housing is a big problem.Sad when people want to have the freedom to build their own paid for housing and officials come after them. I see no problem with compost toilets and solar power.Small houses are more earth friendly and easier to heat and cool. Common sense is lacking by our “representatives?

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