As of our last post so many weeks ago, Aaron and I were preparing to go before our city’s historic preservation committee to seek approval for some major changes to our backyard landscape. We got dressed all professional-like and I even wore my “It’s-Okay,-I’m-A-Designer glasses” (to quote my friend Anna Schwinn, designer and bicycle heiress). The meeting went down something like this:
All the projects under review were ordered from least-to-most contentious, with ours being second-to-last on the agenda. The only hearing scheduled after ours was deferred until the next meeting, so we were actually the last hearing scheduled to take place. Had we agreed with the staff-level suggestions, we could have left after only 20 minutes or so, but of course we did not agree completely, so we had to wait for all the other dissenters ahead of us to argue their cases. We sat through a 55-minute argument about whether or not to make a contractor rebuild a chimney that had been removed by a different contractor, as well as a couple other mildly interesting cases. Then, two hours after our arrival, we got to argue our case.
The only areas where we differed from the staff suggestions were the thickness of our wall (which we won) and our desire for decorative gravel on our parking space (which we lost on the grounds of gravel not permitted inside city limits, never mind that the history museum put down gravel in their planting beds and around their trees right in the middle of downtown only this past week. But I digress…) Overall, a success for our plans.
So our plans have been approved, but of course nothing has happened yet. We’re still bidding it out to contractors and waiting for quotes. And of course, the plan keeps changing. Since we were denied the beautiful gravel that I’d wanted, we’ve been searching for suitable semi-permeable alternatives to put down on the parking space, which of course will need to go back to the historic preservation folks for approval once we select a new material. That, and the prices for a concrete wall came back a little higher than we’d hoped (ah, naiveté), so we’re looking for alternatives for this as well. Our central heat installation is dependent on this backyard renovation, so we’re really hoping this gets underway before the temperatures drop much more.