building a cottage on STT  

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amanda4882
(@amanda4882)
Advanced Member

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!

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Posted : June 17, 2015 4:04 pm
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Trusted Member

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.

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Posted : June 17, 2015 4:33 pm
Alana33
(@Alana33)
Expert

You need drawings and a permit to build.
http://building-permits.digmeonline.com/pages/permit-forms-137

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.

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Posted : June 17, 2015 4:34 pm
amanda4882
(@amanda4882)
Advanced Member

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?

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Posted : June 17, 2015 7:53 pm
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert

"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.

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Posted : June 17, 2015 8:33 pm
Alana33
(@Alana33)
Expert

"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.

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Posted : June 17, 2015 8:39 pm
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Trusted Member

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.

http://smallhousebliss.com/category/small-prefab-and-modular-houses/

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Posted : June 17, 2015 8:44 pm
OldTart
(@OldTart)
Expert

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

http://smallhousebliss.com/category/small-prefab-and-modular-houses/

That's a really neat site!

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Posted : June 17, 2015 9:00 pm
amanda4882
(@amanda4882)
Advanced Member

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.

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Posted : June 17, 2015 9:50 pm
Alana33
(@Alana33)
Expert

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.

http://www.frenchheritagemuseum.com/

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Posted : June 17, 2015 10:32 pm
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

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

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Posted : June 18, 2015 11:50 am
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

exit zero-great website

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Posted : June 18, 2015 1:21 pm
cre
 cre
(@cre)
Advanced Member

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.

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Posted : June 18, 2015 4:46 pm
FL Barrier Islander
(@FL_Barrier_Islander)
Trusted Member

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.

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Posted : June 18, 2015 6:32 pm
xenna
(@xenna)
Advanced Member

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?

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Posted : June 18, 2015 11:52 pm
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