When we started the process of designing our house we had a number of conversations - between ourselves and with others - about permitting. I must admit that if we were in a more secluded spot, one where we were not visible from the highway, I would have voted for building without a permit. It just seemed too complicated, confusing and since the house is going to be for us to live in, unnecessary. With the advantage of hind site, I can now say that I'm glad we went through the process. It took a LOT longer than I thought or hoped for but I'm happy we did it.
Why? Well, because we're building with strawbales and doing a rubble/trench foundation we had to have an engineers or architect's stamp. It took us a couple of tries but we finally found someone who was willing to work with us. He was meticulous and found a number of things he wanted us to think about and fix. I feel much more comfortable with the final plans now. It also made getting our building permit pain-free. I had heard many tails about how Planning & Zoning and CID would make folks jump through hoops - go get that, go over there and do this - frankly I was dreading the process. It took CID FOUR hours to approve our plans as opposed to the 5 to 7 days they told us it would take! About 15 minutes after we got home from dropping the plans off at CID, they called us to say we could pick them up!!!
Over the last few years we've heard a lot of horror stories about the inspection process, too. Having never done this before we had no idea what to expect. We requested our first inspection over the weekend - the foundation ditch inspection. The inspector came yesterday and we spent most of the time he was here talking about Youngsville! He's really nice and seems very understanding of the owner/builder and I think the process will be a pretty stress-free one. I expected him to have his tape measure out to make sure the ditch was deep enough but he just sort of glanced over at it and said it was fine.
So I'm starting to get excited! It has been my dream for years to build our house - with our own hands. I know that some of you think I'm nuts but the thought of living in a home where we have put our hands on every square inch of it - one where friends have helped, too - is very appealing to me. What wonderful energy I expect it to have. The next step is to get the perforated pipe (for the bottom of the trench), order gravel and get insulation. Once we have those things we can start on the foundation. Hopefully next week.
This is a picture of the view we will have from our kitchen window. It's looking almost due north.
Here's what will be the view from our front door - looking east.