Call from the architect: the city has rescinded the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.
- 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!
- 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''.
- 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.
- 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,
someone didn't sign off on it. The error was caught & our
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.