Back in February, I blogged about the various procedural hoops we’ve been jumping through to get our building permit approved – we’re adding on a new bedroom and new bathroom to make room for the Olive.
Earlier this month, we attended a meeting of what I have started referring to as the Portsmouth Board Of Old Houses (PBOOH). PBOOH is in charge of approving any exterior changes to structures in Portsmouth’s historic district, which as far as I can tell is pretty much the entire city with the exception of a carefully circumscribed radius around the Dunkin’ Donuts (because even historical preservationists need a Munchkin fix every now and then).
The meeting was interesting – we saw the board lament the possibility of a “shiny vinyl awning” added to a restaurant (the architect was sent away to explore canvas alternatives), decry the passing era of cedar roofing shakes, shudder in collective horror at a backlit Coldwell Banker sign downtown that had somehow slipped through the procedural cracks, and expound upon the virtues of pristine riverfront rooflines unmarred by HVAC vents.
By the time they got to us and our decidedly non-historic house, nearly 3 hours had passed and they were running out of steam. Other than a small change to the proposed line of our new roof, we were basically given the green light. I say “basically” because we still need to return next month to get the official go-ahead when the plans are finalized.
All of this folderol, mind you, has nothing whatsoever to do with the approval of the Portsmouth zoning board, which is an entirely separate monthly meeting and a separate approval process. Due to the way the two meetings are scheduled, we were unable to get our paperwork in as required (12 sets of final plans in Garamond 13-point font, embossed in gold leaf, delivered by freshly manicured hand no fewer than 18.5 business days before the day of the meeting, unless the meeting occurs in a month with two or more vowels, in which case 17.5 days prior are sufficient) before the next zoning board meeting. So we have been bumped to May.
As far as I can tell, we are on track to have the Olive’s bedroom finished just about the time she heads off to college. (Hopefully PBOOH isn’t aware of this blog. I’m sure they don’t take kindly to mouthers-off; we’re nearly as undesirable as backlit signs.)