Friday, August 31, 2007

Just getting started...

So we've decided to take the plunge--Ryan and I are planning to build a house next summer in Williston, Vermont. After looking at existing homes in the area for over a year, we realized we couldn't find anything that fit our needs and our budget and that the only way we could really achieve the home we wanted was to build. Ryan's parents were generous enough to allow us to 'slice' off a corner of their lot for our house. We made it past the first hurdle--receiving initial approval from the Williston Development Review Board. Unlike some towns in Vermont that have no zoning regulations at all, Williston (perhaps the result of rampant growth and development in recent years) has unleashed on us unsuspecting want-to-be-builders an arsenal of rules and requirements. I have to say, though, that I would rather live in a community that has a growth plan and that is concerned about development. So, in some way, we are happy to participate in this process. [Note added 2/6/08: We recently learned that Williston takes into account energy efficiency when granting phasing to developments. So hats off to them for factoring that important element into their rating criteria.] The town has reviewed our initial subdivision plans favorably and we're cleared until the next hurdle, the phasing meeting in early 2009 (probably February). The hope is that we are approved for phasing at that meeting, meaning we could break ground July 1, 2008.

Things we must do between now and our next meeting:
  • Work with an engineer to design our septic/waste water system
  • Ensure that our building envelope does not encroach upon the wetlands bordering our land
  • Designate space on our land for a 'primitive path' connecting the land behind the Hayes' to Butternut Road so that hikers, etc. can move across our land easily

They've also instructed us to paint our house in natural colors and to provide landscape screening ("to soften its views from Butternut Road"). However, we are not to plant any vegetation that "obscures or will eventuall observe" the views to the north. So some shrubs and trees...but not too many. Oy vey.

I suppose it's too early to be choosing shrubs anyway...we first need a house plan!