September 21, 2007

Ah, the joys of Guv-mint

Okay, so, as some of you may or may not know, I've been in the process of digging out a 23 ft. x 13 ft. expanse of what used to be my lawn in order to eventually, hopefully, create a driveway addition so The Girl or I no longer have to park on the street, depending on who's week it is to get the garage (yes, a one car garage).

First off, don't think, FOR A SECOND, digging out a 23 x 13 foot expanse of lawn, with a spade, is easy. I made that mistake. Now, over a month later and seven truckloads of dirt disposed of in a variety of ways (some legally questionable), I've decided it's a task that should be hired done if it's at all financially feasible.

ANYWAY, it's all finally dug out. 23 ft. x 13 ft. x six inches deep. It's ready to be framed up, leveled out with gravel fill, and topped off with concrete.

Once I get the building permit, which is apparently more difficult than digging the hole in the first place.

Yesterday, I was introduced to the fantastic world of Rochester/Olmsted County bureaucracy. Thinking, foolishly, that getting a building permit would be a simple enough affair, I left work an hour early and went to the Olmsted County Government Center. Once there, I wasn't sure, exactly, where I was supposed to go, so I went to the window that made the most sense, which was "Property Records," among other things.

There, I asked one of the clerks if I was in the right place to obtain a building permit. Much to my surprise, she said "no," and proceeded to tell me I had to go to the Public Works facility, which was about 15 minutes across town from where I currently was.

Since I'd never had to apply for a building permit before, I figured the clerk knew what she was talking about, so I went back to my car and journeyed to the Public Works facility, walked up to the front desk, and asked if I could get a building permit.

"And for what kind of building project, sir?" I was asked.

"A driveway extension."

"A driveway?"

"Well, kind of like a parking space off the driveway."

"Oh, we don't issue that kind of building permit."


"You need to go to the Public Works office at the government center," she explained.

"But. . . I just came from there."

"From the government center on 4th Street?"

"Yes, that government center. They told me to come here for a building permit."

"We just issue permits for buildings, not driveways. If you hurry, you can get back there before 5."

So, lacking any further argument, and foolishly assuming once again the person I was talking to actually knew what she was talking about, I drove back to the government center, and talked with the same woman who sent me to the Public Works facility.

"Yeah, I was here awhile ago asking about a building permit, but I didn't mention it was for a driveway project," I explained.

"Are you sure you went to the right building?"

"Pretty darned."

It was at this point when another clerk stood up and started relating how when she and her husband did their garage project, they had to first go to Rochester City Hall and THEN to the Public Works facility. This inspired a lot of conversation amongst all the other clerks, and the eventual consensus was reached that I should try to run over to the City Hall building, which I did, but it was after 5 p.m., which is the exact time all City Hall employees vanish as if taken by The Rapture.

So, here I sit, with a huge hole in my driveway and no permit to de-hole-ify it, or even any idea where/how I'm supposed to obtain said permit.

Posted by Ryan at September 21, 2007 09:10 AM | TrackBack


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Posted by: LearnedFoot at September 21, 2007 09:46 AM

Ryan, I know EXACTLY how you feel! That's what I deal with ALL THE TIME at Winona State!

Posted by: Autumn at September 21, 2007 02:48 PM

Don't you know that bureaucracy's are lubricated by bribery and outrageous flattery?

You could have had a permit in hand if you'd just dropped a 20 spot and some complimentary lies on any of the people you spoke to.

Posted by: Erik at September 24, 2007 09:13 PM

Or screw the permit and jsut go. The worst they're gonna do is make you stop. Then you have a hole filled with gravel.

On which you can probably park.

Posted by: Stephen at September 28, 2007 12:23 PM
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