An artist's rendering of what our dome will look like. It will actually be on a different spot now (see pink zone on grading plan), but it has trees there, so won't make for a good photo.
(Well, really my rendering, but I am an artist.)

Monday 24 December, 2001

Ok. Civil Engineering Firm2 just called to say that the Health department had some comments about the plan, but they will address those on the 26th. The county has already had a chance to look at the grading plan and has not said word one about the driveway!

They approved our "CBAY" waiver (giving us the right to build our house in the Resource Protected Area delineated by the 1993 Chesapeake Preservation Act) and have requested a couple things like "super silk" fencing to be put around the construction site and since we're building in the RPA, they want us to give an equal amount of land to the RPA and promise not to build in it.

So if you imagine that building our house is like a video game (ninja or streetfighter style), we got the loan for the land (first level boss), bought the land (second level boss), defeated the unruly civil engineer (third level boss), hired a new civil engineer and submitted the plans (fourth level boss), and are getting ready to do battle with the fifth level boss of Building Permit Approval after fighting many of his minions: doubt, fear, uncertainty, lack of time, capital investment, and curious relatives poking their noses in. Not to mention, the super-secret boss that follows: Construction Loan Application and Approval for a DOME!

Stay tuned! Late January or early February is when we'll find out!

Tuesday 27 November, 2001

Oh My God. We have actually submitted the plans to the county. We've never been this far before. Now we wait about two months for the various approvals. In the meantime we plan the project, apply for the loan, etc. We've also scCounty Supervisord the plans, available on the plans page.

Thursday 27 September, 2001

Just got off the phone with Linda. I've faxed her a copy of the plans and some minor changes. She will get back to us with any costs involved or complications in modifying the plans.

Tuesday 25 September, 2001

The Fam got back from France ok.

Civil Engineering Firm2 is officially signed on and the folks are surveying Hearthwood and collecting data. Of course we are paying through the nose in comparison to MH&A, but this is a professional firm and we expect them to get things done.

Linda Boothe from Oregon Domes, Inc. is being quite helpful in selecting a plan, but is a bit busy, so we haven't set on a final one yet. We definitely think Oregon is the way to go though. They primarily do plans that stick to the "dome" concept. Others are "extension" crazy. Extensions are the things that make a dome (think birds-eye-view here) look more like a turtle. Would you rather shingle a larger diameter dome or a small dome with several extensions (think of all those troughs and crests)?

Wednesday 12 September, 2001

We and our family are ok. We were in our Civil Engineering Firm2's office when we heard about the WTC and in the car when we heard about the pentagon. Mom, Dad & Laura are stuck in France for the meantime, but no one we know was hurt, so far as we have heard.

Tuesday 4 September, 2001

Harold Logan & Assoc. bailed on us a week into negotiating the proposal. A two-week long search yielded us with Dalton & Kendal, apparently a fairly knowledgable firm. While not officially signed on yet, Steve Collins from the firm has done quite a bit of leg work and has even visited Hearthwood to get a better idea of it all-without our prompting!

It seems that they will probably take a month or so to put together the proposal and there is something about nailing down the flood plain line using USGS data and their own topography work and reconciling the whole thing with FEMA maps. That may take 1-6 months. Then there is the county reviewing the grading plan-up to 60 days. So we're looking at as soon as January and as late as June for the next steps...

Monday 6 August, 2001

Timmy from HL & A is putting together a proposal for us and the county this week. I go to Toronto on Wednesday and Thursday, so we won't be able to review it until Friday.

We looked at some log cabin ideas and a simulated interior on Saturday, but the Geodesic dome seems better priced with more squre footage. And Jean's parents have a neighbor with one. Very cool. We're looking at Oregon Dome, Inc., Timberline Geodesics, and Natural Spaces.

Friday 3 August, 2001

We've ditched our old Civil Engineer, Civil Engineering Firm 1 of Civil Engineering Firm 1ssociates. I would'n't recommend him if your site is anything out of the ordinary (or not in a subdivision).

We've hired Harold Logan & Associates, who have done the site survey work and grading plans for the other lots adjacent to ours on Colchester Road. Harold says the driveway thing ought to be no problem, just write a letter waiving the county's liability in the event of a 100 year flood. HL & Assoc. are in the process of putting together a bid and are going to the county next week.

In the meantime, Jean and I have begun dreaming of other ideas besides a tudor cottage. Maybe a geodesic dome, or even a log cabin home. We're going to look at a model Log Cabin Home tomorrow...

Monday 23 July, 2001

"Our Nextdoor Neighbor", our neighbor who shares the same plight, is having a meeting with the chief hydrologist of the county tomorrow to discuss alternatives to the driveway build-up, which the county acknowledges is an undesirable thing and does not wish to prevent us from building.

I've added our wedding and honeymoon photos as a part of Hearthwood photos.

Thursday 28 June, 2001

I haven't scCounty Supervisord the building plans yet-that much is obvious. We're having A LOT of trouble with the county. Apparently the only way for us to even build on the land now is to raise the level of the drive six feet. We're going to fight this, as this would be a $30,000+ expense and would destroy the environment around the land. At this point we won't begin building until at least september and will probably only get the foundation done before winter. Wish us luck.

Monday 7 May, 2001

We picked up the building plans. I'll scan them in by this weekend for you all to see on the plans page. Jean should be talking with the woman at the county office sometime this week about the driveway. Slowly, but surely.

Thursday 26 April, 2001

Tomorrow I'm going to the draftsman's office to look over the plans for final approval. The structural engineer will then stamp them this weekend and as early as next week, we can put them into the county for approval-probably not though, since I will be out of town the whole week.

Still no word on how serious the driveway thing or drainfield thing is. We haven't actually formally submitted the grading plan, or septic design, so haven't gotten formally turned down, so we can't tell so far. More to come.

Tuesday 17 April, 2001

We've come so far. The structural engineer is set to approve the plans next week. We have some gravel spread up near the building site to make it easier to drive a truck with a load of lumber or block. We've replaced the two 4x4 posts and chain with a full gate and wire fence to keep follks from dumping on Hearthwood. We've put up no parking and private property signs. We have a couple leads on stucco bids for the exterior of the house. We have ceramic shingles that look like cedar shakes picked out.

And now Fairfax County says our driveway is in the flood plain and we need an easement onto another piece of property that will give us access to a road in case an ambulance needs to get in during a flood. Except our driveway has never flooded-I should know, I've lived across the street my whole life!

So next week we will have a meeting with the county and see if we need to hire a land use lawyer. Another hurdle, just another hurdle.

Wednesday 14 March, 2001

oofta! Fairfax County won't let us have a basement. We're too low and one must be 18" above the 100 year flood plain. Oh well, a slight redesign and minimal bulldozer work now.

Tuesday 13 March, 2001

We met with the draftsman last Saturday. He's nearly got the final design done. As soon as we have the plans I'll scan them in and post them on the photos and movies page.

Wednesday 7 March, 2001

We're meeting with our draftsman this Saturday. Both he and our civil engineer ought to have the plans (septic design, grading, building, etc.) ready for submission in less than two weeks. That means we can start digging soon.