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April 3, 2009

zora naki

it looks like we’ll be staying in our house! we were granted the variance to add a partial second floor, in spite of opposition from our neighbours (the house beside us and the two across the back lane). in fact, the neighbour directly behind us showed up to the meeting to state his case. yikes!

the Board hears cases where you can make an argument that you will experience ‘hardship’ under existing code. Our argument was that our house was built before existing by-laws and we have a full, deep (undeveloped) basement that is counted as part of our total square footage. Under current code, our basement is deep enough that it is not considered ‘habitable space’, meaning that we wouldn’t be allowed to legally put bedrooms down there. Our proposed addition is a second floor with three bedrooms and a bathroom. After building, we will still be lower than our neighbours’ houses (all of the protesters) and well below the building envelope (how high you are allowed to build on the lot).

It’s  a bit of an awkward situation when you have this kind of conflict with people you live next to. After all, we’re going to be neighbours for the foreseeable future and it makes no sense (at least to me – mr. naki might disagree) to turn it into a battle royale. We’ve tried hard with the design to respect the architecture of the existing house (corner windows, hipped roof, stucco exterior). I feel quite strongly that it is better to try and work with the existing structure than tearing it down and building a monster house, which has unfortunately happened to a number of older homes in the area.

I’m so relieved that everything is settled and we can move forward. yippee! now i just have to find a good contractor…



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  1. April 12, 2009

    I’ve herd these stories before about neighbors trying to stop renovations. It sounds like they are being very unreasonable as your house will still be smaller than any of theirs. It comes down to that nobody wants the neighborhood disrupted by construction, as I’m sure they take their neighbors comfort and concerns to heart every time they start up a lawn mower, power tool, or if they have done their own renos in the past. Good luck.

  2. Joe #
    April 19, 2009

    I’m happy to hear that it has worked out for you, and you’re able to move forward with the dreams of improving your home (not only for yourselves but for your kids as well).

    I have to say that I’ve read over some of your other entries and can definitely relate as I’ve recently taken on planting vegetables in my front yard, buying local, pickling, baking, constructing, harvesting, and the list goes on, and on. Homesteading in the city has addictive tendencies… my +80 varieties of vegetables for this year alone is proof. There’s just so much to choose from. I constantly, have to remind myself that there is always next year (and if I can’t wait that long, there’s always the fall). Haha! Keep up the good work! I find your entires humorous, relatable, and very informative. Thanks for sharing!

    Ps. What plant zone are you in?

  3. April 22, 2009

    It’s great to hear about other people doing the same thing. 80+ veggies is more than i can fathom! i’m in vancouver – somewhere in zone 8, i reckon.

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