Nick Rosen | |
Dick Thompson "not sanitary"

A landowner in Madison County, Ind. has been told to stop living on his own plot because in doing so he is breaking zoning ordinances.

The case of 72-year-old Dick Thompson is being taken up by net activists, angry that you cannot choose to live harmlessly on your own land in a  rural setting, at least not in Indiana.

Thomson bought 38 acres of farmland from his parents, and lived there in his white trailer — along with his dog, Ace, his horse, Fritz, ad his bird, Sunshine, which likes peppermints.“I’m a country boy,” explains Thompson. “I just want to be left alone.” is co-ordinating a write-in campaign of complaints – and has posted the relevant details here.

Local station, Wish TV, calls it one man’s battle with Big Brother and says Thompson has nowhere to go.  His health violations include no water, and no sewer.  “I’m comfortable here,” he says.

“Its simply not safe and sanitary to live like that,” a county official told Wish TV.

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31 Responses to “Indiana zoning battle”

  1. Chris

    Log Cabin Rule in Indiana Protects the Right of the DIYer to Build Own Home. The State of Indiana allows counties to establish building codes. However, section IC 36-7-8-3 (d) specifically excludes those codes from applying to “private homes that are built by individuals and used for their own occupancy.”

  2. jason dingman

    What is a better question? How did they find him? If he has so much land the only way to find him is either trespassing or flying over his land. He is obviously embedded in the woods pretty well. I would be seeking a pro-bono lawyer if I were him. And we can all start putting a stop to this by forcing our Governor to do something about it. This is the age of social media. We can get anything changed just by complaining enough.

  3. Time_killer

    They let the Amish live like that. Why can’t we?

  4. Randall Sparks

    If I won the Lottery I would immigrate to Canada. Better health insurance and lot better less noisy government.

  5. Randall Sparks

    Well if all of this is true then KOA in the state of Indiana is illegal. And so are county parks that allow primitive camping. It is all you do what your told or move, more big brother watching you.

  6. Randall Sparks

    My Daughter lives North of Bloomfield and it is in Green County very beautiful there.

  7. Randall Sparks

    Indiana is a republican State which goes to show you we are not a free society. We are Slaves to The Cooperate States of America when you retire immigrate to Canada. A true Almost free country.

  8. GreyGirl

    I’m living inGreene county Indiana simply because they are the best county for unconventional living. As long as you buy land without a home owners association you can essentially do whatever you want. There is no building code! Greene is the last county where you can live freely in Indiana. Land is priced right and it’s beautiful:)

  9. Sharon Brown

    We live in Corunna Indiana. Our house is being forclosed on so we got a 12 by 32 lofted barn and made it into a cabin and put it on my son’s 10 acres. The neighbors who lived next door wanted to hunt illegaly on my sons property told the building commition that we were living in a shed. They told us we would have to move. We needed to have a septic tamk and 1200 square foot of living area. I showed him that we had a portapotty and we had solar for electricity. they said we could not live like that. I told him my husband was on disability and I had just recently retired and could not offord to live like they think I should. They didn’t care. It’s all about the taxes. We need to fight against this communisim that is taking place. They can tell us we have to have 1200 feet to live in? That is to much for 2 people not to mention that we can’t do that. Oh, and they said we can only have one residence per property. So someone can not have their family living on their own property. I also told them that my grey water was going into the porta-potty, It didn’t matter. If anyone has any good stories that may help me out, please let me know. I am not dropping this. It is not right!

  10. Regriding

    Jura, self-composting toilets are not allowed in many Indiana counties, nor are incinerating toilets. I have talked to county officials who have adamantly refused to allow me to build any habitable structure without a septic system. I have a number of theories why, but mostly it boils down to “that’s just the way we’ve always done it” and “don’t rock the boat, Sonny.”

  11. John

    Just moved my wife back to IN. We are retired. I am a potter. wife and oil artist.and I am a long time home brewer of beer/wine. Still looking for a good fixer upper to live in. Some have wells and septics. This is good right ? Any problems with the Gov with this ?

  12. Zach Dwiel

    Does anybody know how these laws are written, or who we could talk to about changing them? I am running into the same problem in Bloomington Indiana. We aren’t even allowed to flush our toilets with rainwater, we are required by law to poop in our drinking water!

    It seems though that there are enough of us to start getting some of this stuff changed. I’m still looking for where to start.

  13. Mary

    This reminds me of one of my favorite bumper-snickers:
    Some restrictions apply.
    Void where prohibited

  14. Tim

    Please help us find Mr. Thomson to invite him to a few sustainable communities near him and help him with the relocation. F**K that county in Indiana! Steal all the traditional family land while you can but just come try to do it in CA, NE, TX or AR and you will be met with arms of defense.

  15. Tim

    I am a renewable energy company founder and sustainable living consultant. I have also founded a charity to help great causes like Mr. Thomsons. For those of you reading this whom would like to talk to me about your ideas and how to accomplish them, please look me up on Facebook. (Tim Frentz)

    thank you.

  16. billyjac

    This is exactly the type of thing I was thinking about when I saw the video Off the grid, when a U.S veteran was talking about ONLY in America can you live the type of life he had chosen to live, and about how “Free” America was. My immediate thought was, If America was so free, he wouldnt have had to go so far out in the middle of nowhere to live off grid.
    Fact is that Everything and Every process in America is owned by somone. the people that dont think so are generally conventional types that havent tried to do anything different from what society considers normal.

    I myself am a retired Air force vet, and often smile when I hear people tell me “Thank you for protecting our freedom”. fact is Im stymied by the number of things that I cannot do… even when making plans for and with my own property.

  17. evolowe

    I have a question? Just asking. What’s the difference between human and live stock waste? Its not like one person is producing more biological waste than a field with 300 cattle on them. It comes a time when you wonder, when will this country live up to it’s name the land of the free? I know when I in the Kuwait desert and Iraq, we had to burn our waste everyday. There was a make shift port-a-jon made of wood, with just a pot at the bottom. We used gas and diesel fuel to burn it. I hope this guy does get the knowledge and help from other so he may indeed live free.

  18. azzaro2u

    I would certainly recommending reading the book called “Humanure Handbook” avail on the web for free. This will eliminate the problem of septic for this person and any others who are wanting to live off grid.

  19. Roy

    Just what do people have to do to just live on there own land. Alot of people are like sheep and will follow anything. What happened to letting the person that just wants to live his way on the land that can provide shelter and food or just a place to live. Who started the complant that hassles the man in his own home and land. Someone has to much time on there hands. Back in the sticks and back to the land I’m going totally off grid and away from cities and people in 2012.

  20. Abbiegrrl

    I am in Indiana, seriously looking for land to share, guidance, etc., in going off-grid. I’ve never known of any off-gridders, per se, anywhere near here b4. We’re not in Madison Co., but reckon it wouldn’t be too different anywhere in the state…? Any suggestions are encouraged.

  21. earthkeyper

    I would look into the zoning laws for the state and county. Most vary from county to county and refer back to the states standing on it which in turn refers back to international codes and these codes only apply to cooperate or commercial use. Know the laws on use and their position prior to using lands. Don’t let them refer to you as a cooperation. Don’t let them spell your name in all capitals, this is a cooperation and you are a Natural Person. Indiana has had this same issue before and is known for violating rights of their citizen, just as many other states.

  22. Jura

    I am new to this, but cannot he use a self-composting toilet? I would think that most normal places allow that.

  23. AJ

    So, are there any updates?

  24. wayne

    Lisa, your intent is true but the govt is way too cheap to set up KZ camps… that would cost them way too much money!
    The current scam is quite good enough for them. All quite legal and best of all, very little chance of rebellion… we are already in the midst of their ugly little scheme, and have been for decades if not centuries.
    The only good news as far as I can tell… once the petroleum distillates run low, this whole “Disneyland for Dummies” as Kurt Saxon termed it comes to a screeching halt.
    Then… real people and honest solutions to life become the norm.
    Food is the real wealth.

  25. Lisa

    I see the code enforcement Nazis are at it again.You pay for your property and they tax you on it forever ,tell you what you cannot do just to keep sucking the life out of you.You never really own your own home or land and then there is emminent domain.If someone wants your property and you refuse to sell it they can take it from you with the help of corrupt,greedy officials. We are losing more and more of our rights everyday.If you speak out against the government you are put on their watch list,harrassed,threatened,intimidated.Look at Jesse ventura and what he has gone through because he speaks the truth and now he is followed,threatened,intimidated.Lol the government searches through his mail.Won’t be much longer,in the next year or two before the president signs the orders to confiscate all you own,have you arrested and taken against your will to concentration camps where you will be a slave,killed,tortured,experimented on, and more.These camps are set all over the world,under airports,government buildings,on fenced in land.People need to wake up because it is coming soon.Most believe our government would never do that to their own people.Well they have done it in the past,continue to do so now.

  26. Control Freaks

    Did anyone hear the whining of city or county officials back in the days of the outhouses? No.

    Leave this man alone and let him live his friggin’ life. Go bother people that are running drug houses and safe houses for ILLEGAL ALIENS.

  27. Len

    Most places would accept a porta pottie and bottled water so long as you could show the effluent is dumped at a proper rv dump. Sometimes being too stubborn to drive to the rv sewage dump once a week causes more trouble than it is worth.

  28. Cabinman

    This is exactly the kind of thing that really pisses me off. Property rights are a big issue for me and my libertarian brothers and sisters. I encourage everyone to help fight this encroachment on liberty at every opportunity.

  29. steven quick

    Maybe the easy way out is to get some funding to put in a well and a septic system so the damn government will leave him alone. Yeah, I know, that’s a big chunk-o-change, but hopefully a church group or an environmentalist organization can take up some collections to let this man live free. … SQ

  30. mainah

    I suspect it’s more an issue about property taxes. The more a property is improved, the more the powers that be can milk you for the pleasure of living on your land.