Lake Pentenwell is the second largest freshwater inland lake in Wisconsin.

Lake Pentenwell is the second largest freshwater inland lake in Wisconsin.

The following comment left by a reader got me thinking about publishing a few blog posts about areas in the US with few or no building codes that allow do-it-yourself alternative building with earthbags, straw bales and local wood, and homesteading. As we’ve said many times here, building in areas with codes can skyrocket the construction costs ten-fold, which essentially wipes out the savings of using alternative materials. That probably explains why our blog page Counties with Few or No Building Codes has always been our most popular page.

Hunter Rose: “Look into Adams County WI, which is located in central WI near Lake Pentenwell (the second largest freshwater inland lake in the state). There are many unincorporated townships and building codes may vary but most have little to NO codes. Our friend has 3 acres in the Big Flats township and there are no codes. We are in the process of buying acres in the same area through Landman.Com (or Landman.Net?). There are ATV and snowmobile trails (over 200 miles!), within an hour commute to various larger towns (Wisconsin Dells!!) Great area for families.”

Image source: Adams County Wisconsin Parks
Note how it’s easy nowadays to search for areas like Adams County. You can find county websites with code info and population stats, cruise Google Earth, search online images and real estate sites, look for jobs in the area, etc. Adams county looks particularly appealing to me because of the large amount of public space for hiking and camping.


Area in Wisconsin with Few or No Codes — 8 Comments

  1. Adams county has a ton of codes and what doesn’t have codes is in farmland preservation. Adams county is beautiful but it’s not what you’re looking for in this case.

  2. Please fact check! Adams county has extremely strict building codes in addition to the rigid DNR waterfront setback codes. I live in Adams Cty and have been fighting zoning and building issues for 5years!

  3. Ive got 5acres of AG land in Washburn county ,Wisconsin. I’m looking into sandbag in ground home. Weve got a camper already. Has anyone done this around that area? I know university if Wisconsin did cob homes and they’re showing people how to. Really need to know if anyone build around Haywood.

  4. anyone has an idea if you need a permit to build a tiny house on a trailer in Adams county WI?
    its only for camping NOT a permanent living.
    Let me know please. thanks

    • In general, building codes do not apply to mobile structures on a trailer. Just follow standard recommendations for height and width to meet highway regulations.

    • Has anyone here read the details and care to report? Often the building department is mostly concerned about septic systems, electrical and, of course, collecting their fees. Sometimes codes are loosely worded. Sometimes codes are not strictly enforced, etc. Some people skirt the codes by getting a tiny cabin approved and then later adding on to it. Some people get a little motor home hooked up to the grid and a sceptic tank and then later build ‘outbuildings’ (wink, wink) with natural materials.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.