We initially planned to start clearing out lot and pouring our foundations now. Unfortunately, we hit a snag at the El Paso County Roads and Bridges office (I could write a book on our experiences with them). Out in the county, there aren't building permits. The only thing that does need a permit is the septic. And in order to get a septic permit, we needed a "Certificate of Plat Compliance" (or cert for short) for our land.
So off I went to Roads and Bridges to pick up our cert. The cert does a lot of things. It gives you an actual street address. It also allows you to connect your utilities. Oddly, there is some circular logic here. If you read the El Paso County webpage on this then it tells you that you need the following in order to get a cert:
- Legal description (eg, warranty deed)
- Proof of potable water ("such as a copy of a current water utility bill... [or] Certified letter from a certified laboratory indicating the [private] water [well] is of sufficient quality and quantity."
- Proof of sewer service ("such as a copy of a current sewer utility bill") or a septic system (with a form "indicating the septic system has been registered or inspected by the El Paso City-County Health and Environmental District")
Now did anyone notice that? You must have a cert to connect utilities. But, in order to get a cert, you must show proof of water and sewer/septic service. Our land has neither water nor sewer service available, and even if it were an option, we can't get either until we get a cert. So how the hell does one ever actually get a certificate of plat compliance?!
I went to Roads and Bridges with just our warranty deed, since we didn't have anything else. Everything seemed fine at first, and it looked like we were about to get our cert. Louis Rodriguez even asked whether we wanted our address to be on Woodrow or on Old Butterfield (we chose Old Butterfield). But just before Louis went off to print our cert, he came back and told me that we couldn't have one yet. We have a small slice of an arroyo on part of our property, well away from where we planned our foundations, but because part of our land was in a 100 year flood plain, we needed a grading and drainage plan first. I asked him how we got one, and he said to look for a civil engineer that can draw one up. Great, more expenses...
So I got home and called around. I asked some friends and contractors for recommendations, and ultimately went with Del Rio Engineering. Sal Massoud said it would cost about $2,000 and take about two weeks. More than we wanted to spend, but not that bad. And two weeks seemed reasonable too. I asked him to get us a contract and we'd start right away!
Sorry, no real photos for this one. How about the layout of our initial building design? Beth and I worked on these for a while and settled on this one. It allows all the bedrooms to view North and/or West Mountain! We decided to go with a steel building (blue side panels, silver roof).