Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Back To The Front

Things are moving right along on the front porch.  Yep, moving right along at a snail's pace. I finally got the last of the demolition debris off the front porch, so I was ready to start building the new porch about five minutes after that.  And then Mare said he's going to Montana and Wyoming for two weeks.  Also, there's the tiny problem of not having a building permit yet.  Remember way back in March, when I said I didn't want to be building the new porch in the blazing heat of July and August?  Well, it looks like that's exactly what we'll be doing.

The process to obtain a building permit in one of Lexington's historic districts is...um...interesting.  First I have to apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness (a name which never fails to crack me up) from the Historic Preservation Commission.  They have to approve any exterior work on a building in a historic district, including paint colors.  Once I have a COA in hand, then I have to apply for a Building Permit.  It's possible to get the approval for one and not the other--it's rare, but it happens.  I went before the HPC back in March when this whole thing started and my COA is a two-for-one deal: it gave me both permission to demolish the old front porch, and permission to build the new one, provided the new one looks substantially like the house's original porch.  The President of HPC is my neighbor, and as he put it the other day, "It would be very unfortunate if you don't get a building permit, now that you've demolished the front porch."  Indeed.

So on Wednesday I'll fill out the Building Permit Application and attach the COA to it.  The prior Building Inspector and Codes Enforcement Officer (she who famously said "Continue on!", giving me her permission to do something which I knew I already had permission for, ahem) told me back in April that my building permit would have to have a detailed drawing of the planned construction including exact dimensions and a plan for attaching the porch to the house.  She's since moved on to another job (and I can't say I'm unhappy about that) so Mare decided to go with a minimalist approach to the paperwork accompanying the building permit.

The little squares mark the placement of the porch posts.  The L-shaped area around them is the concrete slab, which will stay.  The porch posts are set in a ways from the edge of the slab, but that's where the posts were originally, based on witness marks on the sides of the house.  We know from photos of the house that there were originally three posts at the corner of the porch, so we're duplicating that.
The posts will actually be turned posts (I think Home Depot calls them "Colonial"), although Mare drew them straight because he said, "I don't wanna mess with all the squiggly lines."  Fair enough.  

We'll see if this paperwork passes muster.  If not, it'll be back to the drawing board.  Literally.

6 comments:

  1. Is the concrete slab original?

    Maybe you want to note on the application that the posts will be turned.

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    1. No, the slab isn't original; it would've had a tongue & groove floor originally, and it would've been a bit smaller--about 14-16" shorter on each "leg".

      Good idea about the posts. I'll have to remember to do that. They're far more likely to approve it if the posts are turned and we're doing spandrel, rather than, say, treated lumber which is just square. I think I'll attach photos of the posts, the spindles for the spandrel, and the brackets, just so they know it'll look more historically appropriate.

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  2. I'm both rooting for you and laughing with you, recalling my feeble attempt at filling in details to the "drawing" I took to City Hall last year. I told them, "I'm a writer - not an architect - so this is as good as it gets." :-) Good luck!!!!

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    1. Thanks! I kinda doubt that these drawings, on their own, will be sufficient. But maybe with all the supporting documents...if not, Mare will have to draw something else when he gets back. I really think they'll want a framing plan for the roof and some description of how the porch will be attached to the house.

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  3. I never start anything until it is at least 90 degrees or snow is in the forecast. Nothing like the sense if urgency to make an already unpleasant task even more unpleasant.

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