Posted by: greenpinkies | August 21, 2010

Government Permits or “They want us to order a Port-a-Potty!?”

We live outside the city limits of Fayetteville where there are usually no permits for things.  You want a chicken house? No problem, build it. You want a bonfire? No problem, toss the match.  You want a 30X50 barn on a slab? …you get the picture.

Since our retrofit house does lie within Fayetteville city limits, we decided a visit to City Hall might be a good place to start to find out what we can and cannot do with our property.

Basically, our first impression is that there is a permit required for everything.  There’s a Demolition permit, Building permit, Deck building permit, as well as all the subcontractor’s permits. These permits cost money and come with an inspector.

You can imagine our first reaction to being ‘governed’.  However, think about this:  permit fees and rules are good.  Fees, pay for the inspectors and reams of information the government has assembled to help with the project.  In short, fees pay for a lot of people to be ‘at your service’.  When was the last time you paid $50 to have someone be at your beck and call, to come by and offer suggestions or answer questions on the phone, until your project was finished?  We find it comforting to have someone knowledgeable look over our shoulder and make suggestions. Then we feel good about having learned and done the procedure the right way. Dennis, our inspector, might soon now be starting to wish we had not gotten a permit.

First permit: Demolition permit $50.  Among the requirements for Rolloff containers for the trash and other logical requirements, was a requirement for a “portable toilet on site”. We didn’t think we needed this and managed to get this requirement waived since it is just my daughter and me.  Not good.  After the first day of realizing the discomfort of not having a toilet nearby and worrying about mooning our new neighbors from the shrubs, we ordered one.

A note on Portable Toilets.  They are like bird feeders.  The first couple of days there is no activity to speak of.  Within a week, every contractor and service person around knows its location!  Especially since ours is not the “Contractor Model”, but the “Event Model”. We had to put a lock on it.  Special thanks to Ross of for encouraging us girls to consider the “Event” Model. There is a difference…we leave this to the reader’s imagination.

You must fill in all the blanks on the permit application. For the demolition permit the question was asked how much will this cost?  I left it blank because it is my daughter and I doing the work. It won’t cost anything.  No blanks allowed, I was told. Put any number in there. After all, what is your time worth to you?  I thought about it.  Hey, my time is worth a lot, we women always under-rate our time, we never get paid what we’re worth.  O.K. $1,500,000 for demolition.  So, the blank was filled, application accepted, permit issued. (The actual amount I wrote down was actually $5000).

Dennis came by on Tuesday, saw all was “in Ordnung”, (including potty), and signed us off to start tearing the place up.


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