Archive for February, 2010
February 1st, 2010
This was my first direct contact with the SLO Planning Dept. Bob Howard had years before applied for and gotten a minor use permit (MUP) to drill a test water well on my lot at Cave Landing. I gave this permit to Doug Enloe, the well driller. But before Doug could start drilling he was told by the Planning Dept that he needed one more environmental permit. But the Planning Dept would not give Doug the necessary permit – because water wells for domestic use are not allowed inside County Service Areas like CSA 12. I tried to explain to the Planning Dept that I want to use the water for fire suppression. My email to Ryan Hostetter explaining what I want to use the well water for is here:
The Public Health Department also had to approve the well site:
February 4th, 2010
I called John King, the owner of a neighboring property (Sycamore Springs), to get permission for Doug Enloe to drive a well drilling rig across John’s property. I had never talked to John before; he was very helpful and kind. I told John about my problem with the Planning Dept in getting a simple well permit. John suggested that I hire Dave Watson, with whom John had worked on many projects in San Luis Obispo County. I met with Dave shortly afterward and immediately hired him. It was clear that I would need a professional planner to help me to deal with the Planning Dept.
February 14th, 2010
Lenny and Dave wanted to make sure that we have the very best people to design the house and to help with the SLO permitting process. The whole team is as follows:
Rob & Judi McCarthy – owners
Bob Howard – land developer, San Miguelito Partners
Leonard Grant – architect
Jim Wiens – lawyer for contracts
Greg Sanders – lead lawyer for SLO permit process
John Flynn – lawyer for SLO permit process
Fred Gaines – lawyer for Coastal Commission appeal
Dave Watson – planning consultant
Todd Smith – project manager for Cannon Engineering
Susan Roberts – principal engineer from Cannon Engineering
Ed Collins – senior engineer from Cannon Engineering
Jeffry Gordon Smith – landscape architect
Bill Cole – geotechnical from Geoinsight
Dennis Shallenberger – geologist from Earth Systems Pacific
Richard Gorman – geologist from Earth Systems Pacific
Tim Cleath – geologist from Cleath and Associates
Brooke Langle – environmental consultant from Terra Verde
Greg Gibbons – general contractor
All of these very expensive people are necessary to just get the permits to build one single family residence in SLO County!
The reason that we built such a large, capable team of professionals is that I had heard horror stories about dealing with the Planning Dept from previous applicants and their professional teams. Added to that was my own experience 20 years ago, when adding one bedroom and bathroom to my current house meant a seven month permitting process. Given how much money I now had at stake it made sense to get as much insurance as possible in the form of really talented people to give my house the best possible chance of getting a permit. I didn’t know what the Planning Dept was going to do, but I suspected the worst, and so I hired the best people to defend the project.
Later I had to add even more people to the team in order to get a building permit. These people were:
Jeff Emrick – civil engineer from Garing Taylor & Associates
David Fross – native plants expert from Native Sons Nursery
Robert Malone – Designer from RRM Design (Lenny Grant’s new company)
And then, a year after my minor use permit got appealed to the California Coastal Commission, I hired one more person:
Bonnie Neely – former Coastal Commissioner and lobbyist for the Coastal Commission
February 22nd, 2010
After three weeks of phone calls and emails, plus $5,000 of “erosion control engineering design work,” and visits to the Planning Dept by Todd Smith (project manager at Cannon Engineering) trying to get the additional permits necessary to drill the water well, Nancy Orton and Ryan Hostetter of the Planning Dept decided that if I write a letter that promises that I will never, ever use the well for domestic water, then I don’t actually need any additional environmental permits at all to drill the well.
Here is the letter they forced me to write and Fed Ex to them:
Doug Enloe drilled the well without incident. Doug hit water at about 280 ft down, or at roughly the same elevation as our planned house.
Tim Cleath and Doug Enloe did the well pumping test for me. They pumped 20 gallons per minute for almost 12 hours, or about 14,000 gallons. The well did fine. Based on the feet the well water dropped during the test, Tim estimated that I could pump at least 10 gpm indefinitely. Tim’s well test results are here.
A flow rate over 10 gal per minute is enough water for 4 houses. The water quality is excellent – better than most municipal water sources. I really lucked out here.
UPDATE: Right before my Coastal Commission hearing in June 2012 Tim Cleath sent me a letter saying that the well test was fine. The letter is here: Tim Cleath the well is good.