Thursday, January 27, 2011


I met up with a site inspector from Bedford Co.'s Department of Natural Resources this afternoon and left the mountain with some good news; we've got the permit to grade.  Even though we've done work without taking measures to prevent erosion thus far, the inspector was happy to see we applied for a land disturbance permit before moving forward.

The inspectors will be back every few weeks to check up on the property once we start moving dirt again.  He asked me to put up 100' of silt fence at the lowest area down slope from the home site.  He said we should either have a contractor install the fence for us or dig a trench, once dad's loader is repaired, and install the fence ourselves.

I think I'll call and get a quote from a contractor next week to see how much it will cost us.  If its too expensive, we'll do it ourselves.  After all we've got a machine that can do the job and saving we're ever we can will help in the long run.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Steph, the pups and myself headed up to the mountain on this cold Saturday morning.  We were planning on staking out the home site, drainfield and clearing/grading boundaries as well as setting up silt fence in preparation of the permits we needed to apply for.  Even though we were able to set the stakes, we quickly discovered that breaking frozen ground for the fencing would take more than a spade.  I think we'll hold off on the fence until the ground has a chance to thaw and the site inspectors tell us where the silt fence needs to go.

I was a little worried as I started walking off the boundaries for clearing and grading.  In order to avoid the extra paper work, we needed to keep clearing and grading to minimum; within 1 acre.  I set the stakes and did the math; 0.92 acres - there's enough dirt here to level out a nice home site.  Once the house is built and we've seeded, we'll work on the rest of the property.

I took the responsible land disturber (RLD) test tonight and passed with flying colors; I'm a certified RLD now!  Although I'm not certain what my score was, I'm pretty sure I "aced" it.  After all, it was open book and the text search feature on our MacBook Pro proved to be the perfect tutor.

I redrew the sketches for the well/septic permit (WSP) and land disturbance permit (LDP) after I took the test.  Everything looks good and I'll send off the permits Monday to the Health Department and county planning office.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


It looks like we've got the ball rolling in the right direction and we're still targeting this Spring for groundbreaking but it'll all come down to how much money we'll need to put down.  In the mean time, I've been researching the permit process.

In Bedford County, Virginia, we need a Land Disturbance Permit (LDP) because we'll be clearing, grading, or excavating more than 10,000 sq. ft.  I'm estimating that we'll be disturbing up to 1 acre in order to level the building site and shelter the site from erosion.  Since I'll be acting as the excavating operator, I'll have to be a certified Responsible Land Disturber (RLD).  In order to become a certified RLD I'll have to take an online test.  I've been reading up lately and plan to take the test within the week.  Once I'm certified, I can apply for the LDP.  The application process for the LDP will include a simple erosion and soil conservation plan.  Basically, we need to determine what we will do to control erosion on our building site prior to and following construction.  I anticipate the use of silt fences during grading and seeding grass with loose straw once grading is complete.

Next I'll need to apply for a septic and well permit.  The application process includes a site plan/sketch outlining the proposed location of the drain field, well, utilities, house, garage, and driveway.  It seems pretty straight forward and I've got the application/sketch complete but I'll probably run it by Rob and Adam first to be sure.

I'm hoping to have these applications complete and sent in by the end of the week.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


As referenced from her Green House blog, Wendy Koch, reporter and editor with USA TODAY, named "Joe Turner's Passive-House certified home in Salt Lake City" the overall winner of the 2010 Green House Award.

Wendy picks a cutting edge eco-friendly house each week to feature on her blog with USA TODAY.  Some of the other homes she featured during 2010 ranged from LEED certified to earth sheltered dwellings.  She chose 2010's Green House Award based on its "cost, style and energy efficiency" because they are "important elements in green home building."