Getting your Building Permit

by OTIS BRADLEY on APRIL 17, 2013

Permit Checklist

Permits vary widely in different locations.  It is important to develop a list for your project – start by checking in with your local building department.  Remember the Building Department may only tell you part of the story.  The following List – are some of the things I have come across in the past 30 years.  My Builder 20 group often discusses permit issues.  Jim in Wisconsin tells me he can get a permit in 5 days, while others of us suffer with months even years in the permitting process.  In my local area building departments in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Malibu, Ojai, Ventura County, City of Ventura, Santa Barbara and County of Santa Barbara all treat building codes and zoning regulations in different ways.

  1. Access
  2. Air Rights
  3. Archaeologists
  4. Bridges
  5. CC&R’s (Private Restrictions)
  6. Cell Phone Access
  7. City Planning
  8. City Zoning
  9. Civil Engineering
  10. Coastal Commissions
  11. Drainage
  12. Easements – Utility or Private
  13. Earthquake Zones
  14. Electric
  15. Energy Analysis
  16. Environmental Health Department
  17. Fire Department
  18. Flood Zones
  19. Flowers (Protected by State)
  20. Gas
  21. Geology and Soils
  22. Grading Department
  23. Historical Commissions
  24. Internet Access
  25. Landscape Architects
  26. Native American burial sites
  27. Neighborhood Architectural Committees
  28. New Regulations in the works!
  29. Neighbors
  30. NYMBYists
  31. Planning Department
  32. Public Hearings
  33. Public Works Dept.
  34. Scenic Corridors
  35. Sewer/Septic
  36. Soils Engineering
  37. Storm water
  38. Surveys
  39. Tax Liens
  40. Telephone
  41. Title 24 – California
  42. Tornado Areas
  43. Tree Protection
  44. View Corridors
  45. Water
  46. Water Perc (percolation) Tests
  47. Waterways
  48. Wells – quality, quantity
  49. Zoning Clearance

Other Items?

 

 

 

 

Webinar – How to Start Your Project

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35 Questions to Ask Before Buying Land ?

Are you interested in buying your own piece of earth?  There’s nothing more fabulous than having a few acres of your own, and building your own place from the ground up.   But, buying land, especially in highly regulated areas like California, can be a lot more risky than buying a home.  These days of real estate disclosure for a home buyer have come a long way from the traditional law of “Caveat Emptor” (meaning buyer beware)!  Land, however, does not have the same rules.  I constantly hear stories like:

Ojai Land for slae
“I thought we were buying 80 acres, it turned out we got 65!”

“We had no idea this area was in an ancient landslide.  Its almost impossible to build here.”

“We thought we got an amazing deal, $1m for 120 acres, but it turns out its going to cost another $1m to get to the pad before we can even think of starting the house.”

“We bought a small lot in town and it turns out we can’t get water service so we can’t build!”

Unfortunately there isn’t one place to get answers.  Many local departments are involved and sometimes have conflicting information.

Here are 35 questions you can ask
Or you can get professional help – call me 310 963 7900.

Planning and Zoning

  1. Is it a legal lot? If not, how do I make it legal?
  2. What is the zoning classification of this lot?
  3. Does the Zoning on the property permit my project?
  4. Does the County General Plan permit what I wish to do?
  5. Are any planning permits required prior to building on the lot?
  6. Are there any zoning violations on the lot?
  7. Are there any special building restrictions in this area?
  8. Are there any cultural heritage sites on the property?

Continue reading “35 Questions to Ask Before Buying Land ?”

Winchester House – 38 year long remodel !

I’d seen signs for the Winchester House on the drive to San Francisco many times.  This time I stopped.

  • 160 rooms
  • 47 fireplaces
  • 10,000 panes of glass
  • 950 doors
  • 600 remodeling phases

Winchester_house_aerial

Wow !   I’ve worked on some long remodels before, but Mrs. Winchester takes the cake !

The Backstory

Sarah married William Wirt Winchester, the heir and President of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company.  There was serious money in guns!  After their baby daughter died of a rare disease, Mr. Winchester died of TB.  In search of the reasons for all the bad luck in her life, Sarah sought out a psychic.  Told that the bad luck was due to all the angry souls of the dead from the Winchester guns, the solution was to move west and build a house and never stop building so that the ghosts could never take residence !  What a story !  Well, she believed it and spent the next 38 years building.

The Cash

Luckily, the death of her husband left her well off.

  • She inherited $20 million in 1866 !
  • Owned half the stock in the company giving her $1,000 a day income – today that equals about $30,000
  • She spent $5.5 million fixing up the house – today about $ 75m

The house was 7 stories before the 1906 earthquake – now its 4 stories and she closed off a whole side of the house that had been damaged and left it. Continue reading “Winchester House – 38 year long remodel !”