Special Extortion brought up again

Two things of major import yesterday:

1. We had our meeting with County Supervisor. And County Official 3. And another guy. And a woman. And another woman. From the start they began talking “special exception.” You remember, right? No? I’ll refresh your memory: basically a sheet of paper saying we can do something contrary to their regulations and they are ok with it. We’ve been quoted anywhere from 3 months to a year and $3k-$30k for the ordeal.

While effusing warm and fuzzy goodness, they all but managed to ignore our pleas and logic that it may be the case that a special exception wasn’t needed, and perhaps their underlings were being a bit over-zealous in thier enforcement of the regulations. Norm said that bringing attorneys into it would only slow things down and be more expensive, while an “SE” would be “quick.” How quick? “The sooner you get it in, the faster you will get a public hearing date.” When is the soonest date? “November.” Gee, so quick means five months? And another building season lost.

And the cost? $2900 fee for the county, man-hours to our Civil engineer, probably another $2k. Fortunately we can have the Civil Engineer do the SE, which is less expensive than the attorney. We simply can’t afford the legal fees.

Needless to say, we aren’t thrilled. We’re pursuing the SE anyway, concurrently with Land Use Lawyer’s efforts (as the county advised us to). That leads me to point two:

2. From Land Use Lawyer on her belief that the county is enforcing the regulations a bit over-zealously:

FEMA has officially confirmed my interpretation of the Code of Federal Regulations, i.e. the National Flood Insurance Program has no requirement that access to a structure be out of the floodplain.

So now we pursue this option as well. Hopefully it will be less than five months.

Now let’s all step back a minute and think about this. Distilled, the County wanting us to do the SE it would mean the past two years have gone as such:

* Nov. 2000: Ed & Jean buy land.

* Dec. 2000-July 2002: Ed & Jean attempt to build on land (foolish mortals!! ha ha ha)

* July 2002: County comes around that they are being idiots, but have to save face and suggest an SE

* July 2002-Nov. 2002: SE process

* Nov.2002: SE approved

* Nov.2002-April. 2003: Ed & Jean build

Has anyone questioned why we have to do an SE so we can USE OUR DRIVEWAY? It’s not like we are adding fill, or even adding FREAKING GRAVEL!!! It’s already there!!! I jog that thing EVERY DAY. The County, in its infinite wisdom and grace, is chopping my arm off with a sharp sword instead of using a rusty spoon. Thank you. So now we’ve got a bunch of old County officials saying “they’re young, what’s a few months?” It’s not a few months, it will have been two years of our mid twenties. Two years we should have been hiking, gardening, HAVING KIDS, growing together, becoming local activists, having parties at OUR HOUSE, learning the joys and pitfalls of construction, unpacking our stuff that’s been in storage for TWO YEARS, feeling like real people, not mooching off our parents, enjoying the turning of the seasons AT HEARTHWOOD, and LIVING AT HOME.

Jean and I have reached a new level of Zen consciousness.