25, 2003 - by Bimbo Nobrain Loveless
long ago Simmerville residents were allowed to add a room or even a full
story to their house without asking anyone. The new Hood Council has given
us a new law prohibiting this kind of activity!
this year Simmerville elected a new Hood Council. Among their first tasks
were to beautify our neighbourhood. In charge of this operation we find
Simmerville's spokes sim, Mrs Julia Valentino.
I simply realized that many houses were nothing but ugly! I don't want
to point out a specific address, but a house that could be seen from my
own lot was a typical example of how bad a house can get when the owners
adds one room at the time without having a larger plan. When that family
recently moved and their home was demolished nothing could stop me from
opening a bottle of champagne! Such an awful building put up by that unemployed
and not very talented husband!
Oh, for a second... I mean,
I happen to live on a neighbouring lot, but no husband built there...
That's ok, I know you added a few rooms to your house as well some time
ago, but it doesn't look that bad because your house is pretty small.
Well, my home is the most
trendy home of Simmerville! You would have known that if you visited your
neighbours before announcing they live in a small house!
[Oh, cool down NL... 1 ...
2 ... 3 ...]
Mrs Valentino, do you think
that Simmerville builds are less planned than builds in other neighbourhoods?
Probably not. That's why I agreed to being interviewed on this subject.
I've been driving through several other hoods, and they often have their
own style and charm, but many of them also have houses that look as if
they turned out differently than they were planned. Surrounded by a great
garden those strange houses can hide some of their mistakes, but I assume
that more hoods than Simmerville might want to be ahead of this development.
So how will the new community
law concerning adjustments of existing Simmerville builds apply?
I ... We - the Hood Council - have decided that we all want to live in
a neighbourhood of beauty and harmony, therefore we now declare that any
major modification to existing houses and other builds must be approved
by an real estate agency certificated by the Hood Council. This takes effect
in the neighbourhood including Old Town, but will not affect other areas
- as of yet.
So you have delegated this
responsibility to a newly established company?
Yes, the Hood Council announced as of June 10th 2003 that this business
will be taken care of by the local real estate agency Builds&Bills,
ran by Mr Bertrand Montpellier. We get a better control, but we also get
a new business established in our hood. The deal with Builds&Bills
is valid for 1 year, then we will evaluate the entire law.
A letter with the full set
of rules has been sent to all Simmerville residents. I'll try to bring
a concentrate from that letter here.
The rules are pretty simple,
you just need to know what changes can be done without involving the consultant
from the local agency. Because you can still do a lot of smaller changes
without consulting the local agency.
When you want to do major
changes to your house, then bring your plans or requests to a meeting with
the local agency. The agency will assure the quality of all changes, and
help you with design and construction and eventually even suggest colours
Small changes - no consultant
You can still do many small
adjustments as often as you like without consulting an agent; such as adding
or removing doors, windows and indoor stairs. You can also still replace
the covering of existing walls, floors and roof.
Inside your house you can
do small adjustments even to the walls like dividing an existing room into
2 smaller rooms or removing one wall to get one bigger room, or other similar
adjustments. There is a limit though as you are not allowed to do more
than 10 operations per 25 days, meaning you can add 10 wall tiles, or remove
10 wall tiles, or move 5 wall tiles (remove 5 + add 5). You must wait 25
days until you do another small adjustment. Such operations must be reported
but are free of charge.
Concerning changes to your
outer walls they are limited to wall covering and adding, moving or removing
doors and windows. Moving any outside wall is considered a major adjustment
no matter how few tiles that are to be changed.
Adjusting garden plants and
trees: no consultant required.
Major changes - consultant
You are up to a major change
if you plan more than 10 operations, if the adjustments will affect more
than 2 rooms, or if the changes affect outer walls. Adding or removing
more than 10 wall tiles or floor tiles, or moving more than 5, is considered
a major change. There is no limit to the number of walls/floors adjusted
other than the agency's fee.
A garage, shed or other small
garden builds do apply by the general 10 operations law. Garden builds
will normally be major adjustments because they often include outer walls.
Adding a 2nd story or building
a brand new house can not be done without consulting the agent.
How much will you be charged? *)
The cost will of course
depend on the agency's policy, and on the adjustments made to your home.
In Simmerville the cost is
based on house area, §500 per 1000 sq.ft.
1 meeting with the agent
will be included per §500 fee.
If you start with an empty
lot and order a house covering 3500 sq.ft, the basic fee will be §2000,
including 4 meetings. A 1800 sq.ft. house will result in a fee of §1000.
A major adjustment of your existing home (say you want to remove 12 wall
tiles) might cost as little as §250.
Be aware that this fee will
come on top of the general material costs.
*) How can you get charged?
Simmerville has developed a very simple system allowing financial transfers
between households. The items needed will be available in the STUFF section
early August 2003.
Photo top: this house doesn't
exist, it's just an illustration meant to show a house that was extended
room by room.