Pitfalls of Building a Cottage…A Continuing Saga

Pitfalls of Building a Cottage…A Continuing Saga

As I’ve mentioned in my first article I expected unforeseen pitfalls and there have been unforeseen pitfalls. Just as things are looking like construction will soon start I get hit with these pitfalls and I’m delayed. It is a complete rollercoaster of emotions.

Let’s go back to when I first found the lot. There were two lots side by side, both up for sale for the same price by the same owner. We looked at the two shorelines and thought the one that we have now had the better shoreline. Plus we thought to ourselves why would we want the other lot when it’s got this huge mound of dirt on it? So my wife and I were very excited that our offer on our lot was accepted. I arranged for a septic contractor to come to the lot some time later to take a look around and figure out what kind of septic system we would need to put in and how that would be done. Within five minutes of us being at the site he said we’re going to have to bring in about 35 dump trucks of earth to fill in the back part of the lot for the septic bed. It turns out that our lot is at the same height as the water table and we can’t have our septic sludge leech right into the water. Now I know why the other lot had a big mound of dirt on it, the septic bed was already there, we could have saved thousands!

So last week I received my building plans, which I was very excited about. I sent a copy to the foundation contractor to get an estimate from him and fill out my building permit applications for approval. I figured construction will start soon! I called my septic contractor to get some finalized prices. I had estimated the fill for the septic bed would cost me somewhere around $5000. He told me $11,000! I don’t have a lot of leeway with my budget and this threw it all out of whack. The septic contractor is a good guy too so I don’t think he trying to rip me off. Now I’m thinking “how am I going to pay for all of this? I might have to scrap this project and salvage whatever money I can.” I calmed down, went home and came up with a financial budget that will allow me to pay the extra money, but man will things be tight.

With that “taken care of” I contacted the Building Dept. to see when I can meet with them to get the plans approved and obtain my permits, another exciting time in the process. As a side note in the conversation the inspector mentions that buildings have to be a minimum of 800sqft. Well my cottage is only 575sqft and I’ve committed a lot of money towards it. I don’t have the money to build an 800sqft cottage. What am I going to do?! The building inspector tells me I’m going to have submit an application for Minor Variances to the Planning Dept. I said fine I will do that and contacted my builder to let him know what was going on. The permit will cost $375 and according to my builder it will take at least 90 days to find out the result of the application. After 90 days and $375 more I could find out that the permit has been rejected and then I’m screwed!

This ride has gone from pure joy of finally owning a cottage property and being that close to realizing a dream. To gut wrenching sickness finding out I bought the wrong lot and the lifetime of money I have spent might be a huge waste because of ignorance. I can only hope that things work out well. I’ve got one more trick up my sleeve and I will see if it works. Keep you fingers crossed and I’ll keep you updated.

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