Permit an Update


At long last, a studio build update:

First, a recap. Late last year, we were able to secure home equity lines of credit for an amount that, while coming close to what we'd need to build the studio as hoped for as well as two separate rental units (one, a new build, and the other, a conversion), didn't quite cut the mustard to do all three at the initially hoped-for scope. For a while, therefore, we thought we'd reduce the size of the studio build with the idea that sometime down the line, with more funds, we'd add on to it, while retaining the two separate rental units.

After much mulling over the holidays, my wife and I decided on a new direction for the upcoming projects.

The more we turned the issue over in our heads, the more it felt like reducing the studio, temporarily or not, felt like maximal effort for rather minimal gain.

So we opted to go with maxing out the studio size and converting my current studio into an ADU, but leaving the mother-in-law unit, the proposed new build, for later, if it feels like it still makes sense.

But for now, the primary reason for the build - a larger studio - would remain front-and-center.

About one month ago, we submitted our request for something called "administrative relief" to the city planning department. As I understand it, admin relief is a proposed justification for a relaxation of up to 15% of one or more of the land development rules (distance of build to property line, max height of build, etc.) Beyond 15%, one would have to go through a separate, extensive, and public variance process.

Actually, Prospect Builders made two separate studio-centric requests on our behalf (packaged as one - and superbly written justifications, I might add); one for additional building height and one for extra square footage as a percentage of the size of the property. Two weeks ago, we were asked to post a sign and the city sent mailers to our immediate neighbors regarding the admin relief request. Late last week, we were given the green light, and the sign was removed.

Next, Prospect Builders will be submitting initial permits for the projects, a process that could take nearly another month, hopefully less. Mean time, I've been incrementally removing items from both our one car and two car detached garages - the two car's my current studio - and, having nearly made sufficient room to do so, I'm hoping to transition to building some barn doors for the studio while I still have my miter saw, table saw, etc. in the space. More on that at some later point.

"Permit" me one final thought. In the last few months, one thing has become clearer to me: I need to do a better job of focusing more of my efforts in my primary vocation, that of being a  "full time" artist. I add quotes because many days, of necessity, my time in the studio is anything but. To a degree, that will always be the case, for a variety of good and necessary reasons.

But a few months back, I was contemplating getting into some side ventures as potential supplemental income streams. Having dipped my toes into a couple of them, along with spending a decent amount of time making upgrades to our home, it slowly dawned on me that my lack of dedicated studio time was making a mockery of the notion of "full time" artist. Hence one more reason to keep the studio size as large as possible (without getting a variance).

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