Sabot L'ours (sabotlours) wrote,
Sabot L'ours

Remodel Blues pt2

I had a fear in the back of my mind that my landscape plan was a little too "radical." There are other examples in the neighborhood for what I was going for, but I was afraid that there was some hidden regulation in the back of an ancient homeowners association covenant that I might be violating. It turns out that there WAS such a thing although it was the City itself that busted me. It started out that there was a requirement for a permit for constructing a wall. A fence is one thing. A wall is another. I thought I dodged a bullet because the wall was under 6' tall. No. That just means a different permit. My contractor didn't have a clue about needing a permit. What pisses me off the most was that it was probably some busy-body neighbor who saw the work being done and called the City. I shouldn't be surprised. I had an aunt and uncle who were Hitlers in their condo. They would literally walk the halls ever day looking for violations. "Wreaths are not allowed on your door at Christmastime! The pot for your plant on your patio is an inch too big!" The webpage provides very clear ways to report potential unauthorized work. Much clearer than the need for a permit and how to get one online. So rather than figure out how to apply for a permit online, I went to the office which is just a few blocks from work. Things started off just fine. I was told exactly who I needed to talk to and went right to him. I told him that I needed a permit and he pulled up a nice Google Earth picture of my property that was in his GIS system. Things then quickly turned Kafka-esque. The wall as currently built is completely illegal. All walls have to be 20' from the property line. It is at the east end of the property, but since I live on a sweeping cul-de-sac, it is not on the west side. Had the wall been a foot taller, I would have had to have had an engineering analysis done. WTF?!? For a wall?!? So now I have to go to the Planning Board to ask for an exemption from the 20' rule. If they say "no" then I can modify the wall with some wrought iron panels which then changes the rule. I would then have to ask for a different type of exemption. If they still say "no" I will then just tear down the wall and install a nice wrought iron fence. When I showed him examples from the neighborhood of essentially the same thing I had done, he just said, "Oh yeah. Those are all in violation." *headdesk* So I'll just enter the bureaucratic morass and plod along. It's an election year and my councilman is running for mayor.
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