Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Decision Making Process

Now that we had found piece of ground we really like, we had to figure out whether or not to go for it. We really don’t need another house, but had been looking and pondering for years and, if we were going to make the leap, this seemed to be the right opportunity.

I looked into potential construction costs, insurance, taxes, flood zones, permitting constraints, etc. The septic system was to be an expensive denitrification system and, due to recently enacted building codes, the windows would be much more expensive since we would be within one mile of the coast. The new codes require more anchorage and bracing, which makes ultimate sense to me. Impact resistant windows right at the seaside can make sense too. New England has the occasional hurricane, but not like the southern coastal states. Those storms, though, have triggered the insurance and code writing institutions to issue more stringent codes. One of the ironies I found, though, is that local insurance agents weren’t quite sure if the better and more expensive construction would result in lower rates. We could use conventional windows as long as we had pieces of plywood and fasteners ready in case of a storm. This would be cheaper, but what if we weren’t there to close up? And what would it be like living in a dark bunker with the plywood in place? Hurricane shutters are another option, but the total cost would be nearly as much as the impact windows. We decided on impact windows because, among other reasons, they offer more protection from intrusion.

I found that, although other permits had some time left before they expired, the septic permit would expire in February 2010. The variances had already expired, but since a permit was taken out, the variances would continue with the permit until expiration. Also, if we started construction before November 1, 2009, turtle sweeps would need to be performed by an NHESP (Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program) approved wetland biologist. That meant that we couldn’t buy the lot and delay construction for several years. We would risk ending up with an unbuildable lot.

Here are early drafts of the Site Plan and Floor Plans.

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