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Remodeling 101 – Pre-Submission

Updated: Jun 15, 2023

First off, some good news: My planning submission was approved in three weeks without a single comment or change! I have heard and seen firsthand how plans can get stuck for months, with constant back and forth over objections, and seemingly endless comments from city staff. So this felt like a vindication of all the effort we put into understanding the planning and zoning requirements and following the guidelines.


When I was just about ready to submit my drawings to the planning department., I asked to meet the senior planner for a pre-submission meeting. And I am glad I did!

Pre Submission Planning Meeting


In one of my previous meetings, a planner told me that while non-conforming parts of the house have strict restrictions in order to be "grandfathered in" without a need for new approvals, vertically raising the plate height of the walls is acceptable. We created a plan based on that assumption.


In my final pre-planning meeting, the senior planner rejected this idea and told us that intensification of any type — a.k.a. vertical or horizontal — is expressly not allowed. So we had to go back to the drawing board and redo the plans, which made the roof and elevation much more complicated. But again, it was good to find this out before final submission, when it would be too late to make changes.


To Pool or Not to Pool?


The home had an old swimming pool that I knew was not going to be used much at all with our kids already grown and out of the house — for now! Laying out the expansion of the house in a way that was functional required us to remove the pool and build in the area where the pool was located.

If you do a quick internet search for "pool removal" or "pool demolition," you can probably figure out the different types and approximate costs, but I'll save you a step and give a very brief overview here.

There are basically two types of pool removal: engineered and non-engineered. An engineered removal requires all concrete to be removed and then soil from the local area brought in to fill and compact the hole under the supervision of an engineer. This was the option we chose. Obviously from the pictures you can imagine this is the more expensive option, but it has two advantages. First, you can build on top of the removed pool. Second, you don’t have to disclose that a pool ever existed if you sell the property later on!


The other type of removal only requires a few big holes at the bottom and a couple of feet removed from the top of the walls. The pool can then can be filled without engineering oversight. This type of removal is mainly suited for landscaping and also must be disclosed during any real estate transaction.

Until the next blog – good luck with your remodel projects!

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