reno chronicles #9

So…I’ve recovered from “sticker-shock” on the cost of my little reno project. And I’ve reviewed the quote with wonderful contractor to come up with a few ideas on what to change to bring the cost more in line with what I was expecting. He’s putting the revised quote down on paper right now.

I had a great meeting with the bank, and all is well on that end. They are just waiting for me to give the final “go-ahead” to process the re-financed mortgage. (Silver lining? I’m actually getting a better rate on the entire mortgage because the rates have dropped since I first got my original mortgage). Relieved to know I can afford this little reno and not be house poor. Phew.

Then, I submitted all the paper work required to apply for a building permit. Along with a $300 cheque to go along with it. Three copies of everything – lot plan, architect drawings, contractor info — and pictures to show my backyard along with that of my neighbor’s backyard (because I’m asking to do the exact same thing as they have already done).

I was feeling good. Things were moving along nicely.

And then….

A phone call from the development office (permits…etc) today who tell me that there are three areas in which my renovation plans do not meet the bylaw requirements. Setback, GFA (Gross floor area) and lot coverage.

And that my permit will not be approved.

Interestingly, since my house was built before the Halifax Explosion in 1917, it does not meet current bylaw requirements on it’s own. Never mind about the little addition. The setback needs to be 20 ft…and it’s 18ft. The GFA states that my house is only allowed to be 714 square feet (!). It’s currently 950 sq ft and I’m hoping to add a measly 126 sq ft. The total lot coverage of my house is only supposed to 35% of the lot. It’s already 55% and I’m hoping to add another 10%.

But, I can submit a variance application. Which is pretty much the exact same thing as what I just submitted, but with a paragraph as to why I am requesting a variance. And a $500 cheque, of course.

Then, every neighbor within 30 meters of my property will get written notice of what I am applying for and they have 14 days to respond, should they have any concerns. (I can’t imagine what they could possibly be…!?) Next, the permit office reviews any feedback and makes their decision. If they deny my application, I can appeal it – where I would have to do so at City Council.

[insert giant rant about how bylaws are there for a reason, but should not be applied above all logic and common sense. Especially since most of our city was built a very long time ago. And because the city follks all say they want a healthy, vibrant downtown, but actually make it quite difficult for people to live here in an astounding number of ways…]

So anyway…moving on.

Tomorrow the application for a variance will be submitted. Because really, what choice do I have?

And I guess I’m just going to have to hope for the best…hoping, hoping, hoping…

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