I wrote about Robin Speronis in December of 2013, I have revived the post and it is here.
The basic story is, she is living in a house that is not connected to any utilities. No electricity, no municipal water or sewage, no gas. The city of Cape Coral, FL is fighting tooth-and-nail to either force her to connect utilities or evict her. The latest chapter has her with a "partial victory." I put that in quotes because most of the stories out there about this are not news stories, they're press releases. I found multiple sites, usually having some focus in "living off-the-grid" with the same, exact article, word-for-word. Even the Russian Times has published the press release. What raised my antennae was the lack of any link for the original news article or the court's decision. I did find the original news article for the latest chapter, Cape Coral off-the-grid woman remains defiant, and a Bloomberg Businessweek article (starting on page 50) giving you an overview of the whole story. If you read the links, notice how the News-Press doesn't say what the press release says it says?
I support the cause that this woman is fighting for. It's about freedom. If you don't want to be dependent on the local utility monopoly, I'm right there with you. I do not support her personally because I detail in my original post about how she swindled people out of large sums of money.
Just to give a taste of what is probably in your own municipal code, this is based off the 1988 Standard Housing Code (the link goes to a 94 version, close enough), as published by the Southern Building Code Congress International, Inc., part of the International Code Council. The following code is from the Lee County Land Development Code, Chapter 6 - Buildings and Building Regulations, Article II - Codes and Standards, Division 5 - Minimum Standard Housing Code, Section 6-222(3). The "section 302.4" is from the parent document:
Delete section 302.4 and replace with new section 302.4 as follows:
Every dwelling unit shall have water-heating facilities which are properly installed, maintained in a safe and good working condition, and capable of heating water to such temperature as to permit an adequate amount of water to be drawn at every required kitchen sink, lavatory basin, bathtub or shower at a temperature not less than 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Minimum storage capacity of the water heater shall be 10 gallons. Such water-heating facilities shall be capable of meeting the requirements of this subsection when the dwelling or dwelling unit heating facilities required under the provisions of this code are not in operation. Apartment houses may use a centralized water-heating facility capable of heating an adequate amount of water as required by the plumbing code, adopted herein at section 6-131, to not less than 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
So Cape Coral, FL requires that you have (among other things) a minimum of a 10 gallon hot water tank, able to deliver 110 Degree water to any faucet in the house. What if you have one of those new tankless water heaters? I guess you're in violation of city code.
Don't get me wrong, I love modern conveniences like electricity, running water, cool air in the summer and heat in the winter. That being said, if I desire to eschew some or all of said municipal utilities, that should be my choice. Quite frankly if I desire to cover my roof in Elon Musk's solar powered roof tiles, use a wood-fired stove to cook and heat my house and dig my own water well, then I should be able to. If the local utility monopoly and municipality does not like that, then they can go screw themselves. Of course, a full divestiture of utility services would entail me properly disposing of wastewater so it does not contaminate my own well, plus disposal of my solid waste. Perhaps an ala carte type of arrangement where I can pick what services I want to use.
Remember stores and struggles like this the next time you invoke that magic word of "freedom."