Back to City Hall

February 22, 2007 at 5:50 am Leave a comment

After spending several hours drawing I suppose I was destined to buy my California Bungalow, but I wanted to make sure City Hall would at least in prinicipal agree with my plans. So back to Monrovia’s City Planning Department. Illy was polite, she didn’t laugh at my drawings. Nonetheless, she pointed out several errors or potential challenges I would face with my plans.

The first problem she pointed out was the setback for the porch. I really wanted to add some visual appeal to the front of the house. And manu of the neighborhood homes had these nice porches. I thought a wrap around porch would be a nice addition and in keeping with the Craftsman style. Unfortunately the house was already at the limit for the main structure, and adding a porch would be a challenge unless I could show that a 4 or 5ft porch was consist with the setbacks for other immediately adjacent homes on the street. The rule as Illy explained it to me was that I needed to measure the porch and main structure setbacks for the first 8 homes to the right of mine (since it was on the corner). The way I would calculate what the city would let me add is to throw out the measurements for the two homes which had the smallest and largest setbacks. Then the average of the remaining six would give me the measurements for how far the city would let me extend my porch.

The next step was to get the measurements for the houses. I went to Home Depot and purchased a laser distance finder for about $30.
Sonic laser tape
I really hoped this tool would save me the hassle of using a measuring tape to get the distances. Unfortunately, it was not reliable. I tested the device using a known reference measurement (my Bungalow’s setback) and only about half of the time would I get the correct measurement. Unfortunately, I could not identify the source of the inconsistency, so I would recommend you save your money and stick to the measuring tape.

I measured the setbacks the old fashioned way; using a tape measure. As I was taking my measurements — one of the neighbors came to their front door and inquired about about my strange activity. I explained that I was taking measurements and he said ok and went back inside. I expected the cops to show up any minute but they never did. I must have some pretty mellow neighbors — definitely a good thing.

The othe problems Illy pointed out had to do with my setbacks for the garage and second story. These were problems that would require some refactoring of the design but were not insurmountable. Based on my investigation it appeared the city would approve a porch addition of just under 5ft. This was enough for me to finalize my decision to make an offer on the property.


Entry filed under: Bungalow, California Bungalow, Craftsman Bungalow.

Next Step – Making Plans Real Craftsman Homes

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