As in most cities, Austin requires a building permit before you can begin construction. The permit process can be very daunting, but we found out that the City currently offers an expedited process for a little extra money. The process is billed as being incredibly fast and geared at getting home owners into construction as fast as possible. We prepared the required drawings, I stamped them and we submitted for a Completeness Check, which involved some full-size drawing sets and a pile of paperwork. About two weeks later, we got a response letting us know that we had to prepare a Tree Protection Plan showing how we were going to protect the Heritage Pecan tree that is in the backyard.
The pecan tree.
At 24.5" diameter, this tree is considered a Heritage Tree in the City of Austin, and must be protected.
We drew up the Protection Plan and scheduled a review meeting for the following week. First we met with the arborist to review the tree plan, which passed. Then we sat for about 20 minutes with the building reviewer, and we were good to go. I guess it helps to have done our homework beforehand! One catch is that we didn't have a printed half-size set, so I had to run to the office to print one out and Alyson ran it back to the permit office. Within the next few hours, we were called back to the office to pick up the building permit, and that was that.
Or so we thought...
Building Permit Review!
Since we had a full set of stamped drawings and opted for the expedited review, the process was relatively quick and painless.
The tree was protected and the site was prepared for construction, and it was time to schedule the first inspection. It turns out that we didn't receive the stamped, approved drawings with the permit, so when the inspector showed up for the preconstruction review at the site, he wouldn't sign off without them. Alyson had to run down to the permit office (again) to request the official approved drawings, which they kindly and quickly produced. Now to reschedule the inspector!
The tree has been protected.
Tree protection requires fencing and mulch in the critical root zone. Also, spring has sprung!