I met with the Surveyor and the Civil Engineer this morning at the property. We needed additional survey work done on the existing cement driveway pictures below that cuts through a small part a lot next to us and crosses into ours and leads to the way top where the subdivision water tower is located. We are using this driveway which has deeded access of ingress/egress for us to use for our access to our land. This will hopefully save us a bunch on money since the prior owners had the driveway going up a steep hill in the front yard and knocking out a bunch of oak tress and requiring a 12′ retaining wall. I can’t imagine looking at a huge and dangerous 12′ wall for my kids to jump off of. Retaining walls = money and danger.
So, we paid the Surveyor $900 for the additional survey work that was already completed and paid for by the previous owners. He and the Civil came out today to see where we were thinking the driveway will go. He concurred that it is a smart spot at the top of the cement access drive. We will be minimizing grading, which is moving dirt around, and we need to keep it to less than 1500 in order to avoid environmental assessments which takes an additional two months review time and a permit fee of $3500. So, the less dirt moving the better. Since we are on top of a hill and it slopes from the driveway at 800 feet elevation down to the house at 750 feet and the farthest corner of the house is 740.
We have to consider the slope when designing the house. When there is a 10 foot drop where the house goes, you have to decide on a few options. Option 1: A walkout basement, which they call here in CA, a daylight basement. Option 2: cut dirt down and push it over to that area to make the house level. Option 3: Step down the house in that area to nestle into the contour of the land. I like houses that have step down living rooms so I think we will be stepping down into a guest suite type area and where the piano and office will be. So, designing the plans to step down in a secondary area that isn’t high usage is important for the safety of our little ones so no one will be tripping down into an everyday living area.
Now I am awaiting the quotes from the Surveyor to move around the septic design on the topography plan and give me the updated Topo report. The Civil will give me a quote for grading and drainage plans by Wednesday. I already have a quote from another Civil so we will see where the numbers fall. Both are capable so it’s purely numbers. Once I decide on a Civil then we will need to get him final plans to orient the house on the land the way we want it and once that is finished then we can submit it to the county. That’s when the ball really gets rolling and fingers crossed for a speedy review period which is usually 2 months for Design Review.