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building a cottage on STT

amanda4882
June 17, 2015 01:04PM

Registered: 10 years ago
Posts: 82

hi,
Im wondering what the rules are when it comes to building a small cottage on STT. want to build something while we plan and build a larger home in the future. i see all these small wooden cottages all over STT and STJ. whos building them, the owners?
Does anyone have any advice or some contacr info for a builder?

Thanks everyone and have a blessed day!

Re: building a cottage on STT
avatar

Exit Zero
June 17, 2015 01:33PM

Registered: 9 years ago
Posts: 2,209

Certainly possible -- after the cost of land your biggest expense will be the cistern and sewage infrastructure - make sure the plot is zoned properly for your future plans - most of the smaller homes like you describe are owner built - strength, hurricane resilience and wood rot and termites will be a valid concern for you with a wooden structure - windstorm insurance will be expensive too if you have any bank loans that require it - I have seen some prefabricated cottages in the last few years being shipped and assembled on site - check with DPNR if you commit to one to make sure it will be acceptable.
Unless you really enjoy the construction work and have some skills it may be to your financial and mental advantage to try and find an existing home.

Re: building a cottage on STT

Alana33
June 17, 2015 01:34PM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,584

You need drawings and a permit to build.
[building-permits.digmeonline.com]

There are many good licensed contractors on St. Thomas.
Call DPNR to find out requirements. Then find a contractor.
Happy to give you a referral if you PM me but do your homework, first.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/17/2015 01:37PM by Alana33.

Re: building a cottage on STT

amanda4882
June 17, 2015 04:53PM

Registered: 10 years ago
Posts: 82

Thanks for the replies.
We have been researching for a while. I have the gone through the whole process from buying a lot, getting it surveyed, getting a land change permit, I even have a set of approved and stamped plans! But all that is in preparation for the "Big House".
What I need is a interim cottage I can live in so I can be close to the action while we build.
Our lot is large and zoned for multiple structures. I figure I can live in the cottage while we build then just keep it as a artist studio after. I dont care if its permitted because I dont plan on it ever being used long term and wont get a CO.

I wonder where these prefab cottages are coming from?

Re: building a cottage on STT

East Ender
June 17, 2015 05:33PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 4,853

"I dont care if its permitted because I dont plan on it ever being used long term and wont get a CO"

You may not care, but if you don't have a building permit posted, your neighbors may care.

Re: building a cottage on STT

Alana33
June 17, 2015 05:39PM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,584

Quote
East Ender
"I dont care if its permitted because I dont plan on it ever being used long term and wont get a CO"

You may not care, but if you don't have a building permit posted, your neighbors may care.

East Ender is correct. You can get fined for building without a permit and frankly, if you were my neighbor and attempted to do so, I'd report it.

Do it the right way. Down the road you may wish to use it for rental income.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/17/2015 05:43PM by Alana33.

Re: building a cottage on STT
avatar

Exit Zero
June 17, 2015 05:44PM

Registered: 9 years ago
Posts: 2,209

3 pages of them on the 1st site I looked at. If you do some serious searching you may well find one that can be shipped here in a 40' container -or 2.
Having the roof area to collect enough water may be problematic or maybe build the cistern and sewage system for the big house 1st off and use that to supply a cottage.

[smallhousebliss.com]

Re: building a cottage on STT

OldTart
June 17, 2015 06:00PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 6,524

Quote
Exit Zero
3 pages of them on the 1st site I looked at.

[smallhousebliss.com]

That's a really neat site!

Re: building a cottage on STT

amanda4882
June 17, 2015 06:50PM

Registered: 10 years ago
Posts: 82

I understand what you mean about doing it right. I dont want to ruffle any feathers at DPNR or with my neighbors.
A lot of the houses on that site look pretty cool.

I would prefer to have a house built with material already on the island instead of importing more stuff. Would be cool if I could find some way of building a West Indian style cottage.
I cant find any plans online. Maybe its a lost art form.

Re: building a cottage on STT

Alana33
June 17, 2015 07:32PM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,584

Check with the STT Historical Society or maybe the Frenctown Museum in front of the ball park. They're not open all day, every day but only certain hours.

[www.frenchheritagemuseum.com]

Re: building a cottage on STT

speee1dy
June 18, 2015 08:50AM

Registered: 9 years ago
Posts: 8,258

not just ruffling feathers-fines i am sure would be the bigger problem if not done right

Re: building a cottage on STT

speee1dy
June 18, 2015 10:21AM

Registered: 9 years ago
Posts: 8,258

exit zero-great website

Re: building a cottage on STT

cre
June 18, 2015 01:46PM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 67

My mother has two wooden houses in her yard that she built before she finished building her main house. One is now rented for extra income and one is a workshop. She built small and instead of a cistern she has a black tank to store the water similar to this. You're only concern may be the water/bathroom waste in which you may need a septic tank.

Re: building a cottage on STT

FL Barrier Islander
June 18, 2015 03:32PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 500

Well......I can imagine this suggestion is going to get me pummeled but have you considered buying a container? I know a few folks who have cut holes to make windows/doors, insulated, window air conditioning, etc. then painted. Of course, I don't know what they do about bathroom....toilet, showering, etc. ok....it's just an outside of the box (pardon my pun) idea.

Re: building a cottage on STT

xenna
June 18, 2015 08:52PM

Registered: 4 years ago
Posts: 41

I saw several houses with the above ground water storage tanks on St Croix. They did look a little strange but some of the homes had nice landscaping around it. So my question is what are the pros and cons of having a underground cistern or using one of the above ground storage tanks. What would be wrong with the above ground one except for how it looks? Are they more expensive or harder to maintain? Does anyone here on the forum has a above ground storage water tank?

Re: building a cottage on STT
avatar

Exit Zero
June 18, 2015 11:33PM

Registered: 9 years ago
Posts: 2,209

My concrete cistern which is part of the house foundation is totally aboveground - the other half of the foundation is a 1 bdrm apt..

Rarely are the cisterns below ground in my experience.

Re: building a cottage on STT

OldTart
June 19, 2015 07:42AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 6,524

Quote
Exit Zero
My concrete cistern which is part of the house foundation is totally aboveground - the other half of the foundation is a 1 bdrm apt..

Rarely are the cisterns below ground in my experience.

A very good point! I think the true "underground" cisterns are more common (at least on STT) on flatter ground at lower levels (such as in town). My Smith Bay restaurant's cistern was underground as was common in most of the older buildings in that area. But it's logical that if you're building on/into a mountain the excavation is way less going sideways than digging deep into the volcanic rock. I've lived in several lower level apartments here where one wall abutted the cistern as you describe - and one nice perl of that is that that "cistern wall" is very cool and keeps the interior comfortable on the hottest days!

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