Sorry we’ve been away for the last couple weeks. We even got outta town for a mid-week camping trip week before last. But there’s lot to catch up on.<br />n<br />nOn Monday, 21 May, I took the package down to the county. I didn’t know what I was doing, and the Planning Dept and the Building Dept are right next to each other, on the seventh floor of the county office building; they practically share a counter.<br />n<br />nNot knowing where to begin, I figured that Planning comes before Building, and the Planning counter actually had someone working it. Put my name down and waiting a few minutes for my turn. I have to say, the gentleman who worked with me was very helpful and worked hard to educate me on the process.<br />n<br />nHe wasn’t too terribly creative, though, and almost sent me on a goose chase through the surveyor’s and the assessor’s offices. Reason for that was the book that laid out the parcel had an error, and he couldn’t find my street. What he was trying to check for was if we had something called Building Site Approval. After spending a good 45 minutes working on finding our parcel, I wanted to completely understand the process he was going to send me into, so I repeated my understanding. After acknowledging I had a good grasp of my task, I made mention that the neighbors directly across the street, a couple years ago, and the neighbor directly next door, last year, both went through extensive remodels without issues.<br />n<br />nGlad I said that!<br />n<br />nThe comment must have changed his thought pattern in his head somewhat, and he decided to take a different tact. Specifically, he decided to look in a different (older) book. And therein lied the answer! Turns out, someone had marked in that one book the correct information, exactly what he was looking for. A hurdle was overcome, and it was (mostly) smooth sailing from there.<br />n<br />nThe only issue they Planning Dept folks had was that the driveway wasn’t shown on the site plan, and the measurements of the garage weren’t explicitly called out. The county seems really concerned about parking. Single family residences need to have at least one covered parking spot, either garage or carport. They must be concerned about the long term health of your auto paint job. The property also must have one additional paved parking spot, which is usually the driveway.<br />n<br />nEverything else in the plans looked good, but they recommended I go home and get the plans fixed to show the parking solutions.<br />n<br />nBut, while I was there, I might as well have someone in the Building Dept spot check my plans in case they had issues with the plans. So I moved over to the other end of the counter.<br />n<br />nAt the Building Dept side, I was helped by a guy who seemed to know what he was doing, but didn’t really look like a county employee. More like a 50-something Parrothead/biker. He was willing to answer questions, though, which is good.<br />n<br />nHe pulled out his checklist and we went through it, one by one.<br />n<br />nOne: At least two copies of the plans. Check.<br />n<br />nTwo: Paper size must not be more than 24 by 36 inches. Ruler was pulled from the drawer and revealed we were dealing with 24 by FORTY TWO inches! Egads! As he pointed to a printout sign tacked up to the wall behind him repeating this requirement, he said it’s a new rule and can’t be broken. So that would have to get fixed before we could go further.<br />n<br />nBut, he was kind enough to walk through the rest of the plans, going down the checklist. On the list were things like a framing plan, a roof plan, electrical plan, Title 24 information, truss calculations, engineer’s calculations…. Wait, truss calcs? Uh oh, another one. Put it on the list.<br />n<br />nLet’s see, we have…<br />n- driveway<br />n- garage dimensions<br />n- paper size<br />n- truss calcs<br />n<br />nBut for the most part, these were the only deficiencies. The plans, they remarked, were pretty straightforward and well done, so if these relatively minor infractions could be corrected, things should sail on through the process.<br />n<br />nAfterwards, I called the architect back, and boy, he was not happy about the paper size. Says granted, it’s a custom size, but he’s successfully been using it for twenty years, and for good reason: If there are two stories on the plans, both will fit on a single page while still using the same quarter inch to one foot scale. But, since we got turned down, he would have to redo them, but couldn’t justify charging us for the work since it wasn’t our fault.<br />n<br />nAnother week to get a new set of plans, get them signed/stamped by the engineer, then we try again.<br />n<br />nWe had a great time telling the story of being turned away by the County because of paper size. It’s the perfect government bureaucracy tale, heh heh.