Photo: Photo by David Briggs
David Hoffman, 67, spent the last 40 years transforming his Lagunitas, Calif. home into a model for modern day sustainability.The epic renovation included a 30-foot hand-dug well, an earthworm-powered plumbing system, a fully-equipped tea house and dozens of other structures designed and built by Hoffman himself.
There was just one problem with his vision––he never got the proper building permits.
After a decades-long battle, county officials have given Hoffman until Aug. 1 to level everything down to the bricks and pay a $226,000 fine.
“I never felt like I owned this property,” he told Business Insider. “What I’m building, what my motivation was didn’t really involve me as much as a showcase or model of sustainability.”
We caught up with Hoffman and asked him to take us on a virtual tour of the home that’s stirring up so much controversy.
There are some 30 structures on site, including a hand dug well that uses a solar powered pump to refill itself; a solar-powered shower; a rainwater pond; and an outdoor toilet.
Inside is a treasure trove of teas, including green, black, oolong and his prized collection of aged Pu-ehr. He imports about two 10 x 20 shipping containers of tea each year and sells it domestically in the U.S.
Having a tea house on site comes in handy whenever Hoffman wants to host a tea tasting party. Here, his home-grown apples and pears serve as a backdrop to the imported teas that have made him famous in the tea world.
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