The Garage & The City

You know we bought our small lakehouse 2 years ago. The idea was my contractor would do the garage and then do the house (all before we moved in.) Well, there were issues with the city on the garage so we separated out the house from the garage and got the house done first, moving in May of 2016. Then of course I broke my ankle and couldn’t deal with the garage stuff or anything else for two months. ☹FullSizeRender(26)

 MY contractor started in December 2016 to get all the permits needed to do this work. He made 4 all day trips to city hall. They always needed one something extra. Another something from the engineer, etc. They didn’t tell him everything they needed at one time.

James called me last week and said he finally had the permit to rebuild, but they wouldn’t give him the permit to demolish the garage. He didn’t have a demolition license. What he has is much more strenuous than a demolition license, but oh no, that wasn’t going to work.

Now I, as the owner, could go down and get the permit. And that’s what I set out to do Wednesday a week ago. I got to city hall at 9:30. I left city hall at 2:30, but I had my permit! Now I wouldn’t have survived if my sweet SIL, Kevin Strawser hadn’t stopped by with coffee for a little pick-me-up.

IMG_5203  IMG_5204

The inspector was scheduled to come out last Thursday to see just exactly what we’re tearing down. It’s a garage!  But he knocked on our side door rather than coming to the lakeside front door. I didn’t hear him, so it was re-scheduled for Friday.  He showed up early, but I didn’t know he would, and canceled Pilates! ☹

All the inspector did was look at my paperwork. Not the garage. He signed off that I’d gotten the paperwork done properly. Okay.

On that Wednesday I spent 5 hours getting the papers filled out. I did like the system of the text messages:

Status Update from Building Permits: There are now 10 people ahead of you. Your estimated wait is 124 minutes.  The next one said: There are now 8 people ahead of you and your wait time is 132 minutes.

What? I had several like that where I moved up in the order, but the wait time increased.

Then I met with a staff member and she did some stuff and sent me off to see a bunch of other folks including Flood Plane, Urban Forestry, Historical, and Water. Everyone was nice. It just seems that it shouldn’t have taken 5 hours!

The most important thing about this is our garage can now be torn down and a new one put in its place which will allow us to put both cars in there. I can move a bunch of stuff out of our house into the garage and cut down our storage unit to something smaller. The goal is not to have a storage unit at all.

On Monday of this week, James and his crew began.

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Concrete sinking into lake.


Center new wood holding up the garage to make it safe enough for workers to take it down.


It’s gone! We have a temporary fence put up to keep Charley in the backyard. No gate on this fence, so everyone must come through our bedroom door. Not the way I really want folks entering, but for now there’s no alternative.

So now we’re waiting for the concrete folks to come. It’s gonna get messy before we get finished. One of our neighbors offered to let me park in her yard so on days when I’m home for most of the time, I won’t have to leave my car just parked along the street. Our street is small and cars parked along the edge are fair game. So, I’m very grateful.

What’s your experience with remodeling and city permits? Apparently, some cities are easier to work with than ours. Maybe it’s the size of  Fort Worth.

Love to hear from you.

Book Update: I’ve sent VERMONT ESCAPE to my formatter. Should have it up back on Amazon sometime next Month.

10 responses to “The Garage & The City

  1. This is why I detest big government–they’re worse than a prickly, control-freak home owner’s association. And we get to PAY them for all the extra hours they work and force us to wait on them.
    Glad your garage is getting done. I know you’ve waited ever so patiently.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Renee. Boy, I hit your hot button. LOL I think the key word is “big.” I visited with a contractor while I was waiting. He said FW was the only place that operated this way. He could get in an our of other towns much faster. Size brings good things–like all the cultural events we get to enjoy–but also not so good things–much harder to communicate. So far no concrete work yet. Hurry up and wait. You know what I mean. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by. 🙂


  2. Glad you finally got it sorted, Marsha. It’s going to look great when it’s all finished. I haven’t had any problems with building regulations, but I have had big problems with cowboy builders. (We call poor quality builders “cowboys” here. Do you have that term? Maybe not, since you have real cowboys! 🙂 ) They made a complete mess of renovating my elderly aunt’s house, and we’re still trying to sort it out.
    I hope all goes well with your own renovations. Good luck with it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Helena. They actually began to dig up the concrete today. Boy is that fun! LOL Actually the digger the guy is using is pretty cool. The large booms are startling, evening knowing what they are.
      I don’t think we have a term for poor builders, but I love your use of the term “cowboy.” Kind of like some independent guy who does his own thing. Sorry your aunt got taken. Such a shame when that happens. Was talking with my contractor this morning about how important having core values is. His workers all say “yes, sir” to him. Impressive. And they’re very neat and polite. Having good workers is so important. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Tammara. I’m sure this kind of thing varies from place to place. But aside from weather related stuff we really can’t control. LOL, it seems to be the disjoined permitting process. Thanks for stopping by and I hope all your building experiences go well. 🙂


  3. What a hassle. I don t recall having such a rough time for getting permits, but Gardener Ted usually.handled.that kind of job. We have more problems with getting the building inspectors out in a timely manner. Uh oh. Probably shouldn’t t have mentioned that hiccup. Just be forewarned. When the project is finished it will have been worth jumping through the hoops. Can t wait to see the finished garage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, JQ. So far–fingers crossed–the inspectors have come out in a timely fashion. I don’t remember any slowdowns on the house related to inspectors being slow, but it did take forever to get the permits in the first place–just like for the garage. 🙂 You are so correct. When we get through the process, we’ll be so happy. Maybe even more so because of the delays. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.


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