Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Constraints

The current owners had gone through an extensive and drawn out process to gain approval to build on this lot. Variances from both the Board of Health and the Conservation Commission were needed and, of course, each board has their own agenda and requirements. As is typical in New England, several neighbors were opposed and attended most every meeting. They were concerned with, among other things, protecting the eastern box turtles they claimed were on site.

The permitting process took more than a year. We were looking at a lot with a building permit in place for a 24’x38’ house with the living, dining and kitchen on the first floor and two bedrooms on the second floor. After living in a house with multiple levels, we would really like a house with the main living spaces and the master bedroom on the first floor. After having gone through the wringer during the permitting process, the contractor who had shepherded the process thought it would be inadvisable to go back and ask for more.

We could live with a 38’ long house, but first drafts of the plan showed that squeezing everything we want on the first floor would be a little tight. Two more feet of length would make a substantial difference. The driveway would be very steep because they had shown it going around a fire hydrant and up the slope on top of the septic tank, and the deck would have, as shown, become the entrance to the house. We really wanted to make several changes to the existing site plan.

I contacted the consultants involved in the previous process to try to determine the feasibility of gaining approval for these changes. It seemed possible.

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