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Old 02-03-2017, 12:18 PM   #21
BillyGr
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Are you ok living in a very small town and driving an hour to the city of Plattsburg to get items once a month or every other month? Best of luck! I wish I couldve made it work!
I suspect that depends on what types of items you need (or perhaps I should say how particular you are) and how comfortable you are with online orders.

At least in terms of everyday stuff that area is probably the best in the region, since you have 2 supermarkets in LP, plus a 3rd chain in Saranac Lake and 2 pharmacy chains as well. Add to that a few other stores (Family$ in the plaza outside Saranac Lake and Tractor Supply between the two towns - they carry quite a few things aside from farm stuff, like to fix a mower or snow removal equipment and a bit of clothing including some winter stuff) and that covers quite a bit of your basic needs.

It's likely that each store has less options than you'd find in a larger town, which is where the how particular comment comes in - for instance you'll have more luck if you are looking for broccoli than if you must have organic artichoke hearts .
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Old 02-03-2017, 02:37 PM   #22
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I suspect that depends on what types of items you need (or perhaps I should say how particular you are) and how comfortable you are with online orders.

At least in terms of everyday stuff that area is probably the best in the region, since you have 2 supermarkets in LP, plus a 3rd chain in Saranac Lake and 2 pharmacy chains as well. Add to that a few other stores (Family$ in the plaza outside Saranac Lake and Tractor Supply between the two towns - they carry quite a few things aside from farm stuff, like to fix a mower or snow removal equipment and a bit of clothing including some winter stuff) and that covers quite a bit of your basic needs.

It's likely that each store has less options than you'd find in a larger town, which is where the how particular comment comes in - for instance you'll have more luck if you are looking for broccoli than if you must have organic artichoke hearts .
You also need to consider the prices, though. I know Adirondack residents who drive 1-2 hours to Walmart once a month to do the majority of their grocery shopping, because even when you factor in the cost of gas, it is still cheaper than shopping at the local grocery stores.

Conversely, one thing that I think has really helped keep the Saranac Lake community relatively stable is that a lot of Saranac Lake residents don't own cars. The small grocery store in Saranac Lake never would've been able to survive otherwise. (The second grocery store is nearly a 2 mile walk from the "downtown" area.)
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Old 02-03-2017, 03:38 PM   #23
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I think the Tops in town is significantly better. I always use that one when I'm in SL.

I miss SL - it's a nice place to live. LP isn't my favorite, but it has its perks. They are close enough together you could really pick one or the other depending on what you are after.

Didn't mean to be so negative on my first post, but I wanted to put out the reality of the situation. I thought the positives were fairly obvious.

WTBS, I really want to move back to that area. Ideally I'd like to live somewhere between SL and Plattsburgh. It puts you in short driving distance to many things, not said, but Montreal and northern Vermont. Both those places are nice to visit.
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Old 03-02-2017, 11:03 AM   #24
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Just reading this thread now, I haven't been getting on these forums with regularity lately. I've been really debating moving to the ADKs someday, since getting divorced a few years ago its really been on my mind and within the last year I've started putting a gameplan together.
One big dilemma is my son is only 11, and I have him 50% of the time, so can't up and move out of state. This does give me plenty of time to plan and maybe even start on my place early if I want to buy just land now maybe. Not sure of course what my son will do when he is out of high school, but I really would like to move in say 7 years. I'm 38 and worked a good job now for 12, so it would be tough to leave it... another option is perhaps just buying land or a camp and staying here in Ohio until I retire (I plan on retiring early, as in 50's if I can).

I am very comfortable with all the 'concerns' folks voice above, none of that really bothers me. I grew up near Adams, got the brunt of lake effect snow, and still pretty bitter cold too (maybe not quite as bad though). I currently live in a rural area with an hour commute each way to the city. Small towns arent my thing, I want to be in no town with trees as my neighbors. So this isn't about Lake Placid but rather rural area somewhere. My biggest possibility if I want to move right away - and maintain a job in my career in the power utility industry is to work in Albany and find a place similar to the hour drive I make now, maybe even further, I've found some places along the blue line in the southern end of the park that I think I could pull off commuting to Albany (like a place around Caroga lake, Bleeker, Northville area). That would hopefully give me a nice country setting yet driveable to the city, and plenty of hiking and paddling in the lower end of the park as well as striking distance to the HPs still. Another option would be to purchase someplace anywhere in the park and have a cheap apartment or something in Albany just for my workdays.

So I guess I still have a few questions on the matter too. Not so much about the living, I think I'm cool with all those concerns. My question is building and homesteading. In some of the rural southern ADK region I have found land for dirt cheap, a small fraction of the cheapest land I've seen around here in Ohio. I could buy the land I want, say 30-50 acres, maybe a little more, probably within a year if I wanted, paying cash. I could do some basic work to it over the next couple years as I have time to visit and put some money into it little by little. Plant some orchards and long term perennials, clear the land and start cutting firewood, maybe throw up a pole barn or inexpensive kit garage. But I worry about the codes and rules and taxes on new builds. I've heard some wild stories but not sure of anything factual. I want to live a simple and modest homesteaders life living as frugal and eco friendly as possible. Cut my own firewood, hunt my own meat, raise chickens and some simple farm animals, garden and grow as much as I can. Maybe even be off grid with solar. But living frugal also includes not paying a fortune in taxes. If I retire as early as I want to I won't have a fortune in the bank. I also really want to build some sort of 'alternative' type home. I've debated on cordwood home, straw bale home, but I think I might just do a pole-barn style home with metal siding, but done nicely like a home on the inside. I'd probably have builders set the poles and do the trusses and roof and I handle all the rest. Nice thing about the pole buildings is the shell goes up quick then I can take my time to finish out the inside. No foundation makes it more economical too. But I am not sure about how much red tape will be involved, and I know NY will be more hassle with inspections and whatnot. I build a pole building here, wired, plumed and all myself without any inspection. Could probably have built it as a home and they'd never know. I am really worried about all the red tape in NY, but I suppose that is something you all cant help me with on the forum lol. I could always buy a fixer upper, that might get around some of the new-build red tape, but I don't think I can afford to buy a nice chunk of land with a home ahead of time, and in the mean time it would be really hard to maintain a whole house so remote. I'd probably just have to wait until I was ready to move, and then who knows what will be available and how much prices may go up in the next 10 years. I'm seeing quite a bit of cheap stuff now, especially land.

Wow that turned out lengthy. But if anyone actually reads all the way through I'd love to have some thoughts on the matter. I totally don;t want to stay in Ohio, it's only while my son is growing up. I know there are other options with cheaper taxes and less red tape like perhaps Kentucky or Tennessee but the hotter summers aren't appealing and I just love the north and NY just seems to have so much to offer to the outdoorsy type people. And also have lots of family still in Northern NY including my aging parents, so it's definitely first choice in my list of places to move.
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Old 03-02-2017, 11:53 AM   #25
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Just my 0.02 having lived in this state all my life and knowing people who do just that and growing up on a small farm myself.

Don't do it within the park.

I'm not saying it can't be done, because it has, but it's much harder on all fronts. Regs, soil, climate, etc...

Best bet is to do what you are thinking in another part of the state. If I had to chose a region based on proximity the the Adirondacks, I'd chose central NY. By CNY I mean the area between the Catskills and the Finger Lakes.

It's largely rural. Private land is easy to buy and not expensive. The climate is much better for farming. The soil is much better. Cost of living is much less. You don't have the same restrictions you do inside the blue lines. Once you get to know your neighbors you'll likely have plenty of land to hunt + your own. Your proximity to the blue line areas for fun and recreation is ideal.

Beyond that there's the Finger Lakes region, which good for that sort of thing as well but it's generally more expensive, more populated and farther away from the park.

Southern NY (south of the Finger lakes) has good opportunities as well. It's mainly like CNY in terms of topology. Again sparsely populated, rural, relatively low cost. Disadvantage is proximity to the parks. The advantage is perhaps you are close to the PA wilds and Allegheny NF.

I'd say Southern NY would give you the best balance between Ohio and the Adirondacks. You could pretty much plant yourself right in between your two travel locales.
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Old 03-02-2017, 04:12 PM   #26
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But....There are not many things better than driving from Saranac to Plattsburg along the river. Or..driving through the Wilmington Notch. Or best of all, cresting the hill between Jay and Wilmington to see Whiteface in all her glory.
There are a myriad of easier places to live.
But few give the same quality of life.
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Old 03-05-2017, 11:19 AM   #27
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I'd say Southern NY would give you the best balance between Ohio and the Adirondacks. You could pretty much plant yourself right in between your two travel locales.
Thanks for the advice! I don't need any 'balance' with Ohio I'd like to leave that completely behind lol! Well of course depends on my son, that would be one tie to Ohio but no idea what he may do when he grows up, I for one hope maybe he wants to come to NY. I suppose the big advantage of staying within driving distance of Albany is I can maintain a job in my career (assuming I could get the job of course). I don't think there is anything else similar in NY, but not for certain. I'm thinking any other area would be a change of carers and might make it difficult to retire early, especially if I end up spending a fortune on my sons college. But perhaps not impossible. Just a disadvantage of being rather specific in my career all these years (generation dispatcher for 12 years so far, though I did go to college for electronics engineering but never finished my degree). That doesn't rule out just having an apartment in Albany and starting on my retirement home a couple hours away, or waiting until I retire to move from here, but I really would like to say I'll buy land maybe soon and move entirely in ~7 years.
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Old 03-05-2017, 05:54 PM   #28
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It's never too soon to plan for your retirement home in the ADK's.
Land prices are only going to rise.
Choose carefully because some areas in the park require minimum acreage for residences.
Kids have a way of doing their own thing, we love them but someday they'll fly away.
They have a habit of coming back eventually and they'll have a nice place to visit Dad in his cabin in the woods.
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Old 03-07-2017, 08:37 PM   #29
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Hard Scrabble I think we're in agreement there. They ain't making any more land really, so probably only going up from here. Worst case i decide not to go through with it after having bought land, can always sell it later. I'm not sure what minimum acreages are but I assume I'll be good as I'm really wanting maybe 30-50 acres - enough to cut my own firewood (sustainably) as my primary heat source, some for lumber (chainsaw mill), and also have enough land to hunt deer. I may not be 100% homesteader but I'd like to be pretty darn close living off my own land.

Does anyone have any experience with composting toilets and running just greywater leach field / french drain out of curiosity? I've heard in some places it is illegal, not sure about NYS or the areas around the park.
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Old 03-08-2017, 08:38 AM   #30
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Does anyone have any experience with composting toilets and running just greywater leach field / french drain out of curiosity? I've heard in some places it is illegal, not sure about NYS or the areas around the park.
I've studied this extensively and also talked with some off-the-grid hunters who have camps.

Lots of people just dump the greywater. Not sure that it is really legal, but it's done.

There are simple catch tanks for greywater systems that solve the real issue, and that is dumping soluble waste into the ground. They catch it, let is form into residue and leach off the water. A much more eco-friendly system for dealing with greywater. Legality, to my knowledge is not an issue. The only think you need to do is periodically open the tank and clean out the sludge and make sure the system is designed to be under the freeze line for cold weather use.

Composting toilets. Not an issue. All the commercial systems are self-contained. In fact you can legally dig a pit for an outhouse which is far more of an impact than is a composter.

Issues with the compost toilet are many though. You really need a good vent system or it will stink. It needs to be kept warm to work. That's not to say you can't let it go in the winter, but it won't actually process the waste unless you are at the proper temp for the composting process to work, and I believe that involves liquid water, so def above freezing. In a heated cabin with 1-2 people using, should not be an issue as far as I've researched. I'd plan some kind of good break and forced ventilation for the "chamber" though to keep it from stinking up the rest of the cabin.

Another thing to look into is freeze-proof wells. I had always had the idea to build the cabin right over said well to minimize piping that could freeze. And for them to work properly you can't have a long head of pipe to pump up. The units are expensive but it's well worth having a well that can work anytime without heat and not freeze up. They are quite popular for off-the-grid cabins in Canada.

As far as land, the Adirondacks have gone through great booms and busts so to speak. My grandfather bought land in the park in the early 80s and it was very, very cheap. This was waterfront too. Now that same land is very, very expensive.

Big plots can be outrageous now, or pretty reasonable. Location matters a lot as does whether or not it has been logged, if it has reasonable access, if it borders state land (a huge plus for many reasons), and whether it is easy to get electric to the site.

Lots of good, relatively cheap options in the Southern Adirondacks where land is cheaper anyway and non-electric access sites off dirt roads.

Also hunting and harvesting firewood is not necessarily the same level of homesteading as is having orchards, livestock, and gardens. You can definitely do so small scale versions of that in the park, but land is pretty harsh. If I was going to garden I'd build formed terraces and "import" the soil rather than to try to till big areas. Animals can be a challenge because of the temps.

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Old 03-09-2017, 08:46 AM   #31
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Thanks for all the insight montcalm! I've been thinking about these things for the past couple years but never really talked to anyone in the know except for an occasional post on a facebook homesteaders group. Composting toilets come up now and then, I remember some comments made once about a neighbor who got fined heavily and lost his house and land. I think there was a lot more going on than just composting toilets, but many of the fines were about illegal waste disposal (not in NY though). The other tricky thing I've read is that kitchen sink usually counts as blackwater, not greywater. I suppose because many allow food particles through, organic waste. In reality as long as you have proper strainer in place and good habits I don't see this as any problem going out into a greywater leach system but legally I don't know. I fear if building a new, all this is going to be heavily scrutinized and could be problematic. But then again you say outhouses are still legal so not sure if all this is a big deal or not. What do they do with kitchen sink water when outhouses or composting toilets are used? This conversation is probably a bit to soon to be having, but it does all factor in to my decision to buy and plan, maybe the choice between bare land now or buying a place with an old house and septic already in place. I could just go for the full septic, depends on my finances at the time and how much stuff costs, my goal here is to build without taking a loan. Besides the extra bank and interest costs, then the mortgage company has there own rules about what you can and can't do (it's basically there house anyways) and I don't want to deal with that at all, and most wont loan for non traditional homes period. I definitely want a working well, I could deal with a composting toilet, I'm only one person and don't generate a ton of waste, but don't want to be hauling water all the time.

I hear you on the land quality though. I definitely want to be able to grow most of my own food. But I could have years to work and improve the soil before I actually move in so that is a plus. Yes terrace or even making all the gardens in dedicated beds if need be. Here the land is very rich plus my neighbor has an unlimited supply of horse manure I can utilize. Even my smallish 60x20 garden I have now really offsets a lot of groceries. But yes to orchards and all sorts of perennial bushes and veggies. Will take some work for sure. I don't plan on livestock other than chickens, I do eat a ton of eggs and they seem perhaps a little easier to deal with (maybe ducks, turkeys too). I still want to be able to go hiking for a few days at a time fairly regularly. Hunting makes up for that a little. I would have chickens now but my neighbor put some kind of deed restriction against free range and I really hate to keep them 100% confined. I do a lot of gardening, canning, freezing, as well as put 100+ lbs of meat in the freezer from hunting each year, and have cut all my own firewood for years for free, so I got a decent head start on some degree of homesteading though I have a good job in the city I drive an hour to get to each day.

Anything can change though, and I have just recently met someone finally with similar interest in the homesteading type things! But she is definitely more into the animals, she has chickens, ducks, turkeys, had one cow and two pigs before and wants more soon. Not bad for a single girl ~30 years old I don't think! I didn't think such a person existed lol, and to be cute and with a good job to boot. She hasn't done much hiking but a little bit in the Adirondacks (and canoeing) but really wants to do more so that is promising. From northern NY too (my home town) but it's long distance for me still living in Ohio and realistically neither of us will be able to move for ~7 years at least so not sure if that is going to work out. We'll see. So for now my plans are based on being single occupancy lol. If anything it's really fun to think about and plan, even if things change later.
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Old 03-09-2017, 08:54 AM   #32
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Oh and sorry for the hijacking jkauff73 don't let me stop you if you have more discussion! I just didn't want to start another similar looking to move thread. maybe I should have. I just noticed you were here in Ohio too! I love traveling up that way in 'Amish country' though I don't get to very often. I'm down near Mt Vernon, between there and Columbus. While I live in the middle of nowhere with neighbors barely in sight and beautiful views of sunrises and sunsets across farm fields with no man made structures in sight (well almost) I still take the long drive and work downtown in Columbus.
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Old 03-09-2017, 06:04 PM   #33
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I guess it depends on it's a camp or a full-time residence.

The guys I've talked with and know are just camps, so perhaps they can get away with more. If you are going to use at as a full-time residence, you may need to cross your i's and dot your t's

I think straining sink water and composting is acceptable, I think the most harm you may do is to your own catch tank, so I'd encourage that. Commercial systems are available that make cleanout easier, but I'm sure one could design and build your own using pcv pipe and and a plastic barrel and some other misc items.

You do need to empty the compost toilet, but when it has composted, it is perfectly safe (supposedly). It's no different than leaf litter at that point. Dump it in a compost pile with the rest of your compost waste.

There are regs on the outhouse, and I don't recall them exactly but they are easy to get (all these regs should be easy to get from the town through and then APA - I'd go town first, then APA). As I recall, they were all pretty sensible and were in regards to distance from water and not being above grade from your residence, water supplies or neighbors supplies. If you have a good bit of land, should be no issue to find a safe space. I'd have an outhouse even if I had a composter as a backup. If you have company you may want to use the outhouse yourself and take some strain off it. Depending on the size of the system you use, they can only handle so much use per week. I doubt you'd want to shell out the dough for a big tank system for a small cabin. Digging a pit is cheap insurance.

Depending on what you want to do will depend on whether you go new or buy an existing structure. The great thing about buying land with a house is the bank will usually finance it. Buying land is tough to finance, and usually if you can, the terms are short. Construction finance can be tough too. But if you want to design a modern, highly functional and efficient space to use minimal resources, going new is the way. Retrofitting existing structures will always be a compromise.

I'm looking to do something like this myself and I'm not sure whether I'll buy an existing structure and land and build separately then rent out or remove the old structure, or if I just go land + new structure. Most depends on budget but having an existing place you can either live in, or use until the other place is built is nice as well.
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Old 03-11-2017, 09:07 AM   #34
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I guess it depends on it's a camp or a full-time residence.

The guys I've talked with and know are just camps, so perhaps they can get away with more. If you are going to use at as a full-time residence, you may need to cross your i's and dot your t's
Yes I am planning a home more or less. It just might be 'camp' during the time I am still on Ohio (~7years, or until my son is on his own and my ex and I aren't sharing parenting time 50%, I don't think she wants to up and leave her home state of Ohio and we both still live very close so its convenient).

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Depending on what you want to do will depend on whether you go new or buy an existing structure. The great thing about buying land with a house is the bank will usually finance it. Buying land is tough to finance, and usually if you can, the terms are short. Construction finance can be tough too. But if you want to design a modern, highly functional and efficient space to use minimal resources, going new is the way. Retrofitting existing structures will always be a compromise.
I would prefer to do cash, not only to save money in interest buit all the hassle and when you need to involve a bank then the bank has rules whether its existing or a new build. Things like wood stove primary they usually wont allow, for example. I would worry too about alternative construction, as I have no intention of building a traditional stick build. Buying a fixer upper would still be on the table though, but like you say is a compromise.

I've thought about the idea of buying a nice chunk of land and existing house and then building new elsewhere on the property and renting, would be nice to have a small bit of income, then again unless it's a really big place I kind of like to have my peace and quiet without any neighbors.

I guess the big thing is, if I just start with bare land, I can start soon and cash only (well I can borrow a bit against my 401k too, and have that paid off soon). As I get some funds and time I can do some work over the enxt few years. Then when comes time to move I should have a good chunk of equity in my current home that should handle a good chunk of the building expense of putting up a modest and frugal home. I'm not going to be able to afford a second home now, and wouldn't be able to maintain it anyhow. If I go the route of existing home it'll have to wait those 7 years, then I won't have a head start on my orchards and other stuff around the land, but not the end of the world.

We'll have to compare notes down the road, seems like we have some similar ideas.
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Old 03-11-2017, 10:41 AM   #35
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Ha - I've been looking for the last ohhhh 5 years or so. I've seen some nice stuff here and there, but nothing that has made me jump.

My plan is just a rustic camp for now, but maybe to be a retirement/partial retirement residence in the future. My wife (and kids) have summers off, so they'd probably be able to stay all summer with me coming up on weekends, holidays and vacation time for now. We also ski, and spend a fair deal of money on overnight accommodations in the winter. Having a place to stay is nice (although not so sure about plowing and all that - may cost more in the end).

I don't really have much aspiration for the homestead, like I say, if I did, I'd do it in the places I mentioned above. But I would like to make it low impact and low cost.

I've lived in the park year round, as I mentioned earlier in the thread... it's not easy. Life is much easier in the rural areas to the south and southwest of NY. Although, no place other in NY is like the Adirondacks... so, it's tough to stay away.

Also, I'm not sure a lot of land is really necessary if you get the right piece of land. 5 acres can be plenty if you are adjoining state land. You then have the say on who accesses through your property, so as far as hunting, it's not like you are going to have massive competition. As far as wood, that's cheap and easy to get in the North Country. I would just buy it from a full-time individual and save yourself the time and hassle.
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Old 03-11-2017, 04:19 PM   #36
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Just a quick thought.
The APA requires a minimum quantity of acreage when building a home outside of a township in the park.
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Old 03-12-2017, 04:45 PM   #37
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For those interested, check out the APA guidelines for residences in the park.
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Old 03-16-2017, 07:44 PM   #38
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Does anyone know if taxes differ significantly in the park or out? I know it may vary from town to town I guess, just wondering if there is some kind of average. I'm most likely looking just outside the park line but who knows where I'll end up. Sometimes it seems really hard to find the tax info.
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Old 03-17-2017, 03:51 PM   #39
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Does anyone know if taxes differ significantly in the park or out? I know it may vary from town to town I guess, just wondering if there is some kind of average. I'm most likely looking just outside the park line but who knows where I'll end up. Sometimes it seems really hard to find the tax info.
School and property taxes vary, depending on the county and the township.
The APA has nothing to do with taxes, only their requirements of lot size and location.
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Old 03-26-2017, 11:47 PM   #40
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The worst is going to be the weather. Even if you love skiing/snowmobiling and all of that, it gets to a point where you just want to be able to go outside without wearing 5 layers of clothing. The constant feeling of being cold gets old around February. DST helps, but even in the southern adirondacks it is a good 10 degrees colder than Albany at all times. And then there's that wind...

Technology helps to stay connected, but social interaction is important, especially during the winter months. Keep busy and avoid cabin fever.

There's going to be stores to get groceries and those kind of items. Order what you can online. I've never understood why people make trips to WalMart to save money. It costs 54 cents a mile to drive an average car when factoring in all expenses, so you're really not saving much by making that extra trip.
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