Saturday, June 27, 2009

    The Trees

    We've been a little quiet lately, or maybe subdued is the word. After the thrill ride of house design, we had a few minor (and I do stress minor) setbacks that took the wind out of our sails. First, preliminary cost feedback came back a little high, which put us in budget mode — the stressful process of figuring out what to cut was one that we knew we'd eventually face (and we'll probably have another round later in the building process, too), but that did not make it any easier. 

    Second, our permitting attempts did not go quite as planned. We are very happy working with our architects, but they are the first to admit that residential design is not their core business. We also have never applied for a building permit. Setbacks at the permitting counter cost us a couple of weeks.

    Then, there is the tree saga. Anyone who has been following us on Twitter (or facebook, via my linked twitter account) may have noticed a stream of tweets about the neighbors and the trees. Here's the deal, folks: 1) yes, we had many tall, old trees on our lot, 2) yes, they encroached into the building footprint and utility trench, and 3) yes, they really, truly, honestly had to come down.

    The lot is 37 1/2 feet wide — a narrow start at best. Even though our house is several feet under the sideyard setbacks required by Salt Lake City zoning, our sideyard utility trenching will run directly under those trees. A line of Russian olives, Chinese elms and old cedars ran the full length of one side, at points extending in about 10 feet into the width of the lot and 6 feet into the building footprint. 

    We'll spare you the gory details of a neighborly interaction. Suffice to say that it's unfortunate that the most visible change to the lot is the one that had to happen first. The trees are no longer standing, but it is, for the first time, possible to see how a house may actually fit on this lot.

    Here's the lot before any major tree clearing, but after Tai did a little assessing and discovered a snail's paradise, crazy thorn patches and many parasitic climbing vines:

    This is our contractor, Davido Biesinger wielding a chain saw, and thus preventing Tai from self-inflicting another major injury:

    This is the beginning of day two of clearing, with the help of a former Forest Service employee whose job used to be solely tree felling in national forests. You really get a sense of the mass of green material that came down:

    And this is the after shot, including the piles of cut lumber after the bulk of the clearing was done:

    We still need to go back and take out the rest of the trunks and grind down stumps, something that may be happening on the long weekend ahead. Given that we're already about 3-4 weeks behind where we'd like to be, we don't want the lot preparation to be any cause of delay to breaking ground. Our fingers are crossed for breaking ground mid-July.

    1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    working in architecture, i can only imagine what kind of fun you had with the new neighbors when it comes to cutting down old trees. with that said, it still makes me want to know the story, hahaha.