Saturday, May 6

Plans Are Afoot

Reminded by Chicago Two-Flat, I should let you know that yesterday we submitted our application for approval to build a fence. Yes, a fence!

Specifications: 6-feet high, 48-feet long
Materials: Pressure-treated lumber (gack, isn't that horrible? But that's what the other wood in our yard is, and we just can't afford to replace it all with cedar.)
Style: Shadowbox or "good neighbor"

Location: Along property line between our yard and neighbor's

So, have we moaned bitterly here about the lack of privacy from the neighbors? Well, if we haven't, just imagine that we did. And imagine that we desperately need a fence in order to enjoy our hard-won and well-loved backyard.

Here's the thing: we live in the Historic District. So before we can apply for a permit, we have to get approval of the Historic District Review Board. Which, in principle, we are in favor of. I used to work in preservation organizations, and we generally believe in maintaining historic appearances of buildings.'s pretty big step from theory to reality. 1) I really have had the knee-jerk reaction of "Hey, this is my property! How can they tell me what to do with it?" 2) Apparently, this board is the fiefdom of a long-entrenched and self-important public official. While I don't have the impression that they actually reject reasonable proposals, I have heard that the head can be mean and condescending, if he thinks he can treat you that way. In fact, there has been a whole controversy abrew, covered in the Hometown Times, about how a lot of citizens are upset with the HDRB because it infringes on their rights.

So, in 10 days, I have to go attend the Board meeting and defend our projects.

I'm not so worried about the fence, because hey, it's a fence. But I am concerned about the second project we want to do: remove the roof and one lattice wall of the shed.

There are a couple of reasons for my insecurity. 1) We don't really know what we're doing. We just know that we hate the shed. 2) We don't understand the structural implications of what we're doing. When I called the municipal office and chatted with the code enforcement officer (the same woman who sent us a letter on our first day in the house, telling us our weeds were too overgrown), she seemed to think, based only on my very vague and indecisive descriptions of our plans, that the shed would deteriorate and fall down without a roof. Which, in fact, wouldn't be such a bad thing to us.

Anyway, fence and contractor selected (no, we're not DIYing like lots of other housebloggers, for which I feel endlessly inadequate. I'm just not enthusiastic about posthole digging and concrete)). Application submitted. Meeting scheduled.

I'll keep you posted on the developments.


At 5:24 PM, Blogger Jocelyn said...

good luck- you have a nice backyard! We will be doing a fence probably next year so i'll be interested to see what you end up with.


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