Shangri La

Shangri La

Saturday, December 27, 2008


The next step after the perk test was to formally engage the environmental engineer to create the septic site plan and submit it to the State of Vermont for approval. As it turns out, this work is not 'officially' being performed for me, but instead for the current owner. I'm not even entitled to get the site plans and permit until the closing, though I was cc'd on all related correspondence.

I am entitled to pay, however: $210 to the State for the application, and $975.50 to the engineering firm for "additional field services, engineering design, general office, and mileage". Combined with the $650 for the perk test, that's a total of $1,835.50 in design and permitting work. And remember there's still another $1,500 or so in the spring to validate the actual water table and redesign the site plan if we find a conventional system is possible.

Ouch. I started with the impression that $1,000 would get me through permitting, but this just validates the conventional wisdom that big projects always cost at least twice as much as you expect and take 3 times as long.

For those of you keeping score:
11/24: I gave the engineer the 'go ahead' and mailed him a check for the state permit fee
12/18: Design work completed and filed with the state. A copy of the state regulations for the 'Innovative/Alternate System Approval' for the proposed "Enviro-Septic Leaching System" ( is sent to me
12/19: The State of Vermont acknowledges receipt and advises that they have 30 days for review
12/22: The engineer bills me
12/23: The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and Environmental Board forwards a 'Project Review Sheet', noting that I may also need permits from the Vermont Energy Code Assistance Center and local permits from the town
12/26: The realtor calls saying that the permit and approved design has been received by the current owner, and so we're officially 'go' to complete the purchase on 1/23.
Apparently the bureaucracy is relatively light in Montpelier. Ditto the town of Shangra-La, who informed me that they didn't even have a planning board, much less a permitting process for new construction. As long as I had the state septic permit, I could live in an old milk crate if I wanted. Nifty, that.
Now if the DOW would just add about 2,000 points in the next two weeks, I won't have to tear apart the couch looking for lost change for the closing.

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