Need help with a wetland property

Greetings, a couple of months back I bought 1-acre property close by St. Johns River, Saint Augustine, FL. I did check the wetland mapper and it looked like only a part of the land was under wetlands and it still had enough room to build a house. On my realtor’s advice, I did a wetland delineation last week and found that 95% of the land is under wetlands. I disclosed this info to the buyers and none are interested now for obvious reasons. I checked with other realtors in the area who contacted a few builders in the area and none of the builders are interested as well. I bought it for 10k (Cash payment + back taxes). Similar properties sell for 70k. I wanted to minimize the loss and get rid of the property. Can someone please let me know what options I have now? I appreciate it.

Thanks for posting this here @vivdiaa. I’m sorry to hear the outcome of that wetland delineation. I realize this isn’t the news you wanted to hear. For what it’s worth, it helps to see that parcel map that shows which portion of the property isn’t wetlands. Do you know how many square feet this area is and/or what (if anything) could be done with it?

Also, keep in mind, not every buyer will be scared off by wetlands. This may limit its uses, but it could still be usable for recreational purposes (hunting, camping, maybe even RVing - depending on how severe the wetlands are). In the case of RVs, and depending on how accessible it is (and the rules of the municipality), you could even list the thing on hipcamp and make some residual income from it. I know one person who is doing pretty well with this strategy.

You could also put a tiny house there (one that sits on wheels, so it’s not affixed to the ground and doesn’t require any kind of building permit). You can also get tiny A-frame house plans from Den Outdoors and just set it on cinderblocks so it doesn’t mess with the wetlands (and these would be small enough to fit in that space anyway).

Especially right now with the housing shortage, you might actually find some interested parties in that sort of thing (I’m not saying you need to buy/build the tiny house yourself, but you could frame the listing that way so buyers can see what could feasibly be done, assuming the local municipality doesn’t have any issues with it).

You could also donate the property if nothing else works out. This could potentially give you a tax write-off (if you’ve got other income that you’re getting taxed on).


Is there a reason you did the delineation after you bought it instead of before?

@retipsterseth Thank you Seth. I will check out these options. I appreciate it.

Before I bought the land, I checked the wetland maps and it looked like only a portion of the land was under wetlands. The land is in hot area and close by the river and also this was my first deal.
On my realtor’s advice, I did wetland delineation 2 weeks back.

Lots of great out of the box suggestions!

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@vivdiaa if you’re not part of the FB group, you can see some other suggestions that came in from that community as well. Check it out here.

@retipsterseth I didnt know about that website den outdoors. i just spent 30 min looking at all the tiny home plans and dreaming of tiny homes in the middle of nowhere lol .

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@vivdiaa James, i sent you a message.

@ladymarmar2 I’m with you! I wouldn’t be surprised if dreaming about it is more fun than actually owning one.

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@retipsterseth :sweat_smile: you’re probably right.

@retipsterseth Seth, Thank you very much for your valuable suggestions. I truly appreciate it. I find these ideas quite interesting. I will check these out. Have a wonderful day!

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Hi, Have you tried contacting the DEP to see if a certain percentage of the total wetlands can be developed? I’m not sure what it’s like in your State but some allow you can apply for a permit to fill in a limited area.

@jeff-1 Hi Jeff - I didn’t check that with them but I did check with migitation bank and they quoted me around 20k/ 0.5 acres for a low quality wetland. Waiting for them to get back to me.

I checked with state’s real estate dept if they are interested in buying it but unfortunately their program doesn’t cover my area and also the lands around my wetlands are owned by the county and not the state. Checking with neighbors as well if they are interested to buy it.