Though I am late in posting this news, we received final permit approval from Seattle this past Monday, and should break ground this coming Monday! Permitting took about three months, and required two rounds of corrections. The biggest issues were in the ECA (environmentally critical areas) slide review; they wanted to make sure we wouldn't cause a landslide or disturbances to neighboring properties. The city had two sources of concern. The first was that digging our foundation required somewhat deep cuts near the property line. The second was that we planned to remove the rockery wall at the front of the property and replace it with a concrete wall and steps, but we needed to convince the city we could do so without disturbing the rockery on the neighboring property.
As a consequence, we had to make some small changes to the design of the front stairs and concrete wall, though I think the changes are improvements. More unfortunately, the city required us to get a soils test of the property and a geotechnical review from an expert certifying that our plans would likely not cause a landslide. While our geotechnical firm PanGeo is great and well-priced, it was a several thousand dollar expense that we had hoped to avoid. The city is also requiring us to contract PanGeo to monitor the construction, which is an additional cost.
Today, our GC and the city of Seattle had a required "Pre-Construction" meeting at the site, to go over various requirements imposed by the city inspectors. Because our building is near the height limits, they will require a surveyor to verify that we don't exceed our allowed height (yay, more costs). They also want us to re-submit a stormwater drainage plan, since we have postponed the green roof due to cost. Clearly they're not looking to make our lives easy. I'll conclude the post with one bonus image: the first sign of activity at our site. Our GC built a silt fence, as required by the city prior to the pre-construction meeting, which helps to control erosion and sediment caused by construction activity. On Monday they'll start digging!