they got their pound of flesh and are out of our hair

We are done with the building inspectors!

A while back I posted about our little visit from the county building inspectors and all the changes they were insisting we make in order to stay living here. A couple months and a few thousand dollars later, and we have satisfied them, got our permits, and should be done with them.

We now have a full septic system, with tank and drain field. Did I mention that we have a composting toilet? So, that system is processing our Dr. Bronner’s biodegradable soap for us! Hurrah!

We added a bathroom sink, hardwired smoke alarms, added a gfci to the generator, took out our vent-free heaters, and installed our woodstove to code. We replaced the copper piping for the gas lines with coated copper piping, and we paid hundreds of dollars for our permits to be right with them.

Now, when they came they were all fire and brimstone. They told us we couldn’t live here, that we’d have to get an apartment, and that yurts were not for sleeping in (we reminded them that state parks in their state rent them out for sleeping in, but didn’t get around to the whole Mongolians living in them for centuries thing). They told us we should have asked for permission to do these things, not waited and tried to make it right after the fact. I know these people are just trying to do their jobs. I also recognize that their jobs require them to try to follow rules that do not always make sense or work for every situation. For instance, because their code is out of date, it doesn’t recognize other ways to live besides building a 2×4 framed McMansion. They don’t have code on composting toilets, despite the fact that dealing with waste that way is more environmentally sound than dumping it into our land through a septic system.

Anyway, after all the fear factor stuff, they were willing to work with us. They gave us a by on the yurt, in spite of the fact that we shouldn’t have built it in the first place, according to county rules. They didn’t charge us the 50% more they charge on all permits obtained after construction begins (so all of ours). They were polite about my waterworks. They didn’t say we had to put in a well or stop pumping water from our creek. Granted, we can’t find a law ANYWHERE that indicates that that is illegal, though the health department would claim it is. When I went to the health department to ask if they would let us just pump our water into the tank and then have it pumped, they said no. We were hoping to save thousands of dollars and avoid cutting down trees and creating a big eyesore behind the a-frame, but no such luck. She did allow us to put in a smaller drain field, allowing us to keep one of the biggest maples on the land. But, she said she thought that the building inspector was going to make us get rid of our composting toilet.

It’s a bummer that they found our place and that we have had to do a lot of unnecessary and some downright silly work to please them. All in all though, it could have been worse and they certainly could have made our lives much worse, so I’m satisfied to have that phase of yurt life be over.

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