Saturday, December 27, 2008

It's not meant to be ease-y!

I now finally have my survey and my soils report, and predictably there's some good news and some bad news. The good news is that it's 'feasible' to build my LV Home on the lot - there's about three feet of topsoil, and under that is bedrock. The house will require either pier and grade beam foundations or, if we bury the basement into the hillside (which is what I intend to do), spread footings, which I assume would be less costly. So far, so good.

The not so good news is that our surveyor found out PG&E own an easement for the aerial power lines that hover above our lot. The upshot is that, instead of placing the front (south) corner of the house at the 15 foot front setback line, we will have to move the entire house 10 feet further down the hill, to a PG&E 25 foot setback line. It's a tight squeeze as it is, so that means we'd need to either rotate the house back about 12ยบ away from the optimal view of the ocean; or get a variance for the rear 20 foot setback from Pacifica's planning department, so that we can encroach around 6 feet; or get permission from PG&E to ignore their easement; or chop a little off the corner of the house!

Of these options, the first is our least favorite, because we want to keep the view - that's the whole point of this site! The second is apparently very unlikely, and is also very expensive: the Pacifica Planning Department will charge us $4000 just to apply for the variance, which they won't support, and which they think we are unlikely to get. Choice number 3 is our favorite, although as you can imagine, dealing with PG&E will no doubt require the patience of a saint and several valium. Option 4 is a last resort, but I think it's doable, and it might look OK if we make it a feature rather than a bug!


dar said...

Steve: You might want to consider preformed concrete walls for your foundation. Superior walls ( if they have a franchise in your area ) are great. They require no footers , just compacted sand. I wish now I had used them. They are familiar with the LV home, and the cost should be the same as poured , or block. Dar.

steve said...

Thanks Dar, but I don't think they have Superior Walls here in the Bay Area.