Is Florida a Good State to go Off the Grid?
Recently Florida has been in the news as having forced a person who was living off the grid in a self-sustaining life-style to connect to the grid. Additionally, it has been reported that people who have had front yard gardens have had to pull up all their vegetables in order to comply with zoning laws. So is Florida a good state to go off the grid? On the face of it, it would appear that Florida is not a very good state to go off the grid, however, there are other categories to consider that makes answering this question a bit more complicated.
Florida is considered as having a humid subtropical climate. The summer is hot and wet while winters are warm and mild. Key west is the only frost-free region in the United States.
2. Precipitation and Snowfall:
The average annual precipitation in Florida is 54.5 inches. Florida has the 5th highest amount of rainfall in the country. It rarely snows in Florida.
3. Building Codes Alternative Housing Materials:
I could only find vague references to alternative building materials and whether the municipalities will let you build with them in Florida. I can only assume, like the rest of the country, if you are in the country rather than in a city that they might allow it. Having said that, due to the humidity in Florida using straw-bale building materials is not advised, cob is recommended as are other building materials like earth bags. Moreover, due to the bureaucratic nature of the state of Florida it is highly recommended that you check with local municipalities to make sure you can build. I did read where a man built a “tree-house” without the proper permits and he was forced to remove it..so builder beware in Florida!
4. Cottage Businesses:
Cottage food laws in Florida require a permit to operate a food processing operation in their homes. The foods must be non-potentially hazardous foods and have a broad list of allowed foods sold direct to the consumer. Cottage businesses must be direct to consumer sales only. Florida does not require a license, registration and/or a permit to sell cottage foods but does limit total sales from $500 to $1,5000. dollars. Also, there are labeling requirements in Florida.
5. Homeschooling laws:
Florida has moderate regulation when it comes to homeschooling children. The state requires parents to send notification, test scores and/or professional evaluation of a student's progress.
6. Rainwater Harvesting:
The laws are difficult to interpret but for the most part Florida seems to be Okay with rainwater harvesting. If anyone has any information to the contrary please contact me and I will update this article.
- Florida has no income tax at all.
- There is a small retirement credit available to some tax-payers. Most pensions are taxable and Utah taxes social security income.
- Sales Tax is 6% which is on the high side when compared with other states.
- Florida law caps increases in a homeowner's assessed value at 3% per year for full-time residents. However, local communities can change mill rates at will. Florida is ranked 16th highest in per-capita property tax collections.
- Florida has no estate or inheritance tax.
8. Gay Marriage:
Same sex marriage is illegal in Florida and is banned by the state Constitution and by law.
9. Gun Laws:
Permit to Purchase Rifles, Shotguns and Handguns: NO
Registration of Rifles, Shotguns and Handguns: NO
Licensing of Rifles, Shotguns and Handguns: NO
Permit to Carry Rifles and Shotguns NO, Permit to Carry Handguns: YES
Florida is ranked 12th out of 50 in the best state for gun owners poll (#1 being the best). No open carry is allowed except when hunting or fishing. Florida was made famous by the Trayvon Martin case in which their “stand your ground” law came under national scrutiny. Only 25 percent of Floridians are gun owners.
10. Garden and Food Laws:
Sale of Raw Milk is illegal for human consumption and is only sold to be used for pet food.
Florida is an interesting state to have a front yard garden. There are numerous instances of people being forced to uproot gardens that they have had for years due to some archaic zoning laws. In cities like Orlando and Miami residents have had to fight to continue to plant vegetables in their front yard. In the cases I have researched the residents have won their cases, however, it was not without a huge fight that garnered national attention from the press. Therefore, I would be cautious about Florida when it comes to growing vegetables in a city.
11. Raising farm animals:
Farm animals can graze year round in Florida which can save a lot of money since you don't have to buy extra feed.
12. Property Prices and Cost of Living:
Cost of Living
The United States
Our cost of living indices are based on a US average of 100. An amount below 100 means Florida, FL is chea/;/per than the US average. A cost of living index above 100 means Florida, FL is more expensive.
The cost of living is less expensive in Florida, in general, than in most parts of the United States. The median cost of a home in Florida as of this writing is $120,000, in 2012, while the median average across the United States is $170,100. All areas related to the cost of living are lower than the rest of the United States with the exception of groceries, health and transportation.
According to people who track these things Florida scores a 98.7 compared with the average across the United States of 100. The score is based on the U.S. Average. A score above 100 means that the state is more expensive than the average in the United States and a score under means that the state is less expensive than the average.
13. Growing Season:
Produce can be grown year round in Florida and animals can graze year round. You will save money on feed and producing your own food due to the long growing season in this state!
Should you seek out Florida as a potential destination if you want to go off the grid? Boy, this state is a hard call. On the one hand you have a high degree of bureaucracy that has recently forced someone to connect to the grid as well as forcing residents to have to fight to maintain front-yard gardens, while on the other hand the weather is fabulous, the property prices are low and there is no income tax. I think if you already live in Florida, it is definitely a state that is doable off the grid. However, because of the anti-off-grid sentimentality I don't think that I would relocate to this state as other options are more appealing.
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