Slopes are $teep

A geotechnical firm was brought in to assess the slope stability and give recommendations for building on the existing foundation. After some test bores for soil conditions the news came back and it wasn’t great. We are required to install pin piles for the existing foundation and for any new work (more on the pin piles in a future post). This gave us enough info to go back to the drawing board and reconfigure the plans a bit.

After some consultation with the city we determined that a Land Use Variance was required to build in or near the steep slope. This is a an extra permit over and above a general construction permit. Our intention was to add an addition to the exiting footprint, expand the deck out over the steep slope and enlarge the exiting carport to become a two car garage. Simple, we would get a Land Use permit and have permission to add the garage, deck and addition. Well not so fast, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. We were faced with the choice of the two car garage or the deck, but not both. In the end the deck won out of course, because it is all about the views and the deck faces the views.

Once again we reconfigured our plans and re-submitted for the variance. There were a couple of rounds of corrections required but we were headed in the right direction. The Land Use Variance was issued and we were on to a construction permit.

The construction permit went mostly as planned. We requested an plan intake appointment and got a date 6 weeks in the future. The Seattle planning department only accepts digital plans and we already had the plans in digital form so it was time to twiddle our thumbs. After intake our plans were assigned to various departments and it was time to wait around again. Reviews trickled in over the next 2 months and there were some requests for revisions to the plans (corrections). On the third cycle the plans were approved and, after payment of fees, a permit was issued. There were plenty of heart pounding moments going through the corrections, assuming all was lost, but in hindsight it was fairly typical. From beginning to end the construction permit took around 6 months. Phew!


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