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June -- There's something Happening!

Wednesday, 6 June
Call from the architect: the city has rescinded the building permit. Can they do that? Yes, of course. Apparently a building permit really doesn't mean you can build, it means maybe you can build. The city can revoke it for any (or no reason) at any time. What I'm told is the main retaining wall, around which the entire project hinges, is illegal and though we can continue to work the city will not provide any more inspections. The city wants us to apply for a variance. That's 2 - 3 months, assuming it is OK'd.

I stop hyperventalating in the early afternoon & pay a visit to the building department to find out exactly what's happening (remember, I don't really know just yet). Turns out there are four issues, all minor.

  1. the fence above the main retaining wall needs a variance. The retaining wall, being under 6' tall doesn't. The neighbors below want the fence, but since the total height (fence + retaining wall) is greater that 6' we need to go to public review. Two to three months, but this will not stop work!
  2. the fence on the opposite side of the yard is too tall. We listed 6' (since that's what everyone else has facing the same road), we're told it must be 3'6''.
  3. the back retaining wall needs a variance because it's 4', not 3'6''. Since this wall is less than 8' we do not need to go through public review. I've no idea how long it will take though. The city doesn't seem too concerned.
  4. this is the big one: we wanted the front yard raised to the height of the road to the north, which required a retaining wall about 5' tall. This has been in the plans for months, but apparently someone didn't sign off on it. The error was caught & our permit pulled. Since we cannot afford to postpone the project (the construction loan would probably expire before the paperwork was pushed, costing us at least another $10,000 - $15,000) we agreed to remove the wall.
Friday, 15 June
Concrete for the footing of the retaining wall is being poured today! We'll also be applying for the two variances, and showing new plans without any retaining wall around the yard. Thus far, everyone seems happy. My job it to keep as many people happy as possible for as long as possible. It's going to be a long year.
Wednesday, 20 June
Looks like the retaining wall can be finished before the footing is curing, so work will continue at least a bit. The footings will take 28 days to cure.

Applied for the fence today. The application was $1970. The public hearing probably won't happen for two months.

Sunday, 24 June
The camera is finally in place and working! The picture is updated every minute from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., but the only interesting bits are usually from about 7:00a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Monday, 25 June --- Video: MPEG
Work has begun on the three walls.
Tuesday, 26 June --- Video: MPEG
Wednesday, 27 June --- Video: MPEG
Thursday, 28 June --- Video: MPEG
Friday, 29 June --- Video: MPEG
Our first bill from the Hogan & Pinckney! It probably doesn't sound nearly as exciting to anyone else, but after this long it's actually nice to see a bill for physical work done at the site. The previous bills (architect, engineers, etc.) were all for paper. Let me tell you, it's tough to pay many $1000 for yet more paper.
Saturday, 30 June
Got streaming media up & running. As for actual work, this is just my guess from looking around:

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