Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Bomb Diggity

You know that adage about home projects taking twice as long and costing twice as much? I think that's going to be our patio. The last time we talked about our brick patio, John and I were waiting to hear about our building permit. Well....it took a few tries to get approved.

Attempt #1: We didn't include three full copies of our plat of survey in our application. We only included a drawing of the patio plan on a close-up of where the patio would be installed. Turns out, they needed to see that the plat was legit. And that it included all the needed measurements and scale to calculate the impervious surfaces of our lot.

Attempt #2: With the full plat of survey submitted, it turns out our design didn't meet zoning requirements. In our defense, the zoning rules are not easily found. Or were they directly communicated to us. According to current zoning rules in our 'burb, no greater than 50% of our lot can be covered by impervious surfaces. In other words, the square footage of our house, garage, driveway, patio, and anything else solid cannot be greater than 50% of the square footage of our property. This is to ensure proper storm water management. And for property prettiness.

It turns out the impervious surfaces of our property before the patio were already at 53%! Our property was probably to code at some point, but obviously is not in compliance with current standards. Fortunately, our impervious surface count is grandfathered in so we can install a patio as long as we maintain the 53%. Which meant a new design.

Good thing there's such a thing as permeable pavers. They're installed slightly apart with pea gravel in between the joints to let water absorb into the ground instead of letting it wash into the sewer. We're really happy that we hired a pro because the gravel base needs to be 18 inches deep vs. 6 to 8 inches deep in a standard brick patio.

But...permeable pavers are still included in the impervious surface calculation. Just as 50%. So if the patio is 200 sf, it only counts as 100 sf. Which means however big we make the patio, 50% of that square footage needs to be removed somewhere else. That somewhere else is going to be part of our driveway.

Attempt #3: To make sure everything was covered, we had a meeting of the minds wth the building inspector, our patio guy, and us. Everyone verbally agreed to the new design and where the driveway would be removed.

With the new design submitted, we were sure we'd be approved! Nope, the building department wanted to get more of the design specifics in writing. Particularly, how deep the layers of gravel and sand would be, the materials to be included, etc. Thank goodness our patio guy was able to submit the design so quickly.

Because after paying our application fees and getting the license for our builder.....WE HAVE OUR BUILDING PERMIT!!!

I seriously think angels were singing.

Now we wait to get on the schedule...
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