Permits (part 3)

Story the Sixth: Soil Erosion Permit

I think one of the ways that government tries to control who lives where is by having an insane amount of paperwork the deals with city expansion.  Case in point: my soil erosion permit.

My proposed house will be called The Tower of Babel.

I understand what this permit is for.  They want to make sure that the house I build and the very tall hill I build it on (because I’m better than my neighbors, the hill will be so high it will be an affront to God) won’t erode away over time making the property dangerous and making taxes depreciate.  But I understand it in the same way that I understand standardized testing: we want to keep an eye on everything, but we’ve bureaucratized it into something almost unusable.

The form I had to fill out asked for current elevations, proposed elevations, nearest waterway, current runoff rate, soil type, type of vegetation currently inhabiting the space, proposed vegetation… it was too much.  Once I was finally able to find this information, I was asked to bring out a site map from the most recent survey.  Luckily, in order to buy the land last year, a survey already was done.  This survey wasn’t good enough though.  The city wanted a better one, which brings me to…

Story the Seventh: A Site Plan

I would think the city – because they are a government agency and because government agencies love to stipulate certain criteria for more money – would’ve simply said, “This isn’t good enough.  We’ll have to do this ourselves for another $100.”  Instead they told me to go to a local survey place and have them do something official for an extra $500.

I called them up and described my needs.  Because they’re the only ones around that do this sort of thing, they treated me like they’re the only ones that do this sort of thing.  They don’t need me; I need them.  And they let me know it.  A conversation with the survey company:

Hi.  My name is Nick Jones.  I was just transferred from one operator to another, to a surveyor to a salesman to you about a site plan in order to get a soil erosion permit.

We don’t do soil erosion permits.

I understand that.  I went to the city and they recommended your company to draw up some sort of survey for their records.

So you want a survey?

I guess.  I want whatever is needed for the soil erosion permit.

We don’t do permits, sir.

But you do surveys which are then given to the city in order to get a permit, correct?

What you do after you purchase the survey is none of our business.

Well what type of survey would I need in order to get the soil erosion permit?

That is really up to the city.

What about this city that we’re in?

They do require a survey.

Ok.  Which one?

We over a wide variety of surveys.

But which one would I need specifically for the soil erosion permit?

We offer varying levels.

What’s the cheapest?

Our most inexpensive survey is simply a border survey.  It’s $300.

Is that going to be good enough for the soil erosion permit?

We don’t do permits here.  We just do surveys.

Will the city that we’re in consider that survey sufficient for their soil erosion permit?

No, they require elevations.

Do you do elevations there?

Yes.  We do several.

Will the cheapest elevation survey be good enough for the city that we’re in to consider that sufficient for their soil erosion permit?


What is the cheapest survey you offer that will be sufficient for the city that we’re in to give me a soil erosion permit?

That would be $500, but we don’t do permits here, as I’ve repeatedly explained.

Long story short: my $180 permit cost about $650.


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