Sunday, July 8, 2018

May - June 2018 Still awaiting the completion of our House Plans to be able to build our new Winter Home in Arizona

We have not posted anything since after getting back from our Florida trip to pick up and move our storage room in The Villages, FL to our new home in Benson, AZ because largely there was not much going on to report.

That, and we have been very busy with the designing, re-designing, and then re-designing again until we could make the most out of the least space to work with, as within our 40x100 lot (4,000 total sf, shown on left between the two walls with a rear view facing East to the mountains 25 miles away). From that we have to take out 2,000 sf for the setbacks (5ft on each side, plus 15ft from the front property line, and 10ft from the back property line), only leaves 2,000 sf. Within that space we need to put our diesel pusher, which takes up 41ft x 13ft (with slides open), plus a Casita that will have a place for us to spend the days in, with closets and a kitchen, plus storage for our 10' x 10' of storage that we brought back from Florida, plus leave room to garage a RZR or Polaris desert buggy, or golf cart, when we are traveling in the RV during the summer.

Now, as if all that was not enough to have to work around, the City of Benson has a few additional peculiarities for owners of these lots. This used to be an RV campground and was sold to a man who wanted to develop it as RV lots for sale or purchase, wherein RV owners could also park their RVs on their lot and live therein as long or little (even full-time) as they wanted. So, for whatever reason the City of Benson said OK BUT... a few conditions.
  1. As a maximum only one RV can be hooked up to the utilities on any lot.
  2. IF an RV is allowed to be parked on a lot, the owners MUST sleep in their RV, NOT in the casita. They can spend the whole day in the casita but may not sleep in it.
  3. However, the guests of the owners, MAY sleep in the casitas, but not the  owners. Go figure that one out. Anyway, how in the hell can they actually know if anyone is sleeping in their casita. Realistically they can't, because if a government official comes to our property at night to check, they would be met with the sting of our security system... Smith & Wesson. 
  4. If more permanence is desired an owner can put a 'park model' trailer on it (which can have a maximum of 400sf living area, but can have an 'Arizona Room' (sort of like an enclosed porch) added to it. If such is the case, no other RV can be kept on the lot, but can have a separate storage shed, as long as the shed and the park model trailer appear from the overhead view as if they are one building (roof line).
  5. Alternatively, if an owner wanted to build a small house (Casita), they are limited in square footage of the casita to 45% of the total square  footage of their lot. Therefore in our case we could build up to an 1800sf house AND still have the RV on the lot as the RV is not subject to the setbacks... only the casita is. But we don't need anything that big (as this shall only be a winter home for us so we can travel the US in the summer) and have managed to design a casita where we can spend the entire day in, and go to our RV 10 feet away to sleep if we need to, as our RV has a King size bed in it, whereas the casita will only have a Queen bed.  It will also include a 12'x 16' garage for storage and keeping the RZR when we are traveling, though we are not allowed to call it a 'garage' as garages are also not allowed. We also made the shower quite large for a break from the 2'6" x 3'-0" RV shower. So, after much drawing and re-drawing we believe we have the right design. Of course we also wanted to make it appropriate to the surrounding desert area, so we are using a Southwestern-Adobe style design. 
See the Site Plan, Floor Plan, Isometrics Elevations and Sections in the photos below will illustrate better the plans for our new winter home. Sorry for the photo quality. Tried to copy the .pdf files into a .jpg photo, but it wouldn't cooperate, so we had to copy and paste different parts of the plans.

 SITE PLAN
 
FLOOR PLAN
 
 
 
ISOMETRICS

 
ELEVATIONS & SECTIONS

Below is our solution for the bedroom, which will be mid-wall on the Southern wall (by the kitchen). By day it is a credenza, by night (when needed) it is a queen bed. The white bed photo is just a sample of how it will look when opened.


 
 
On the Northern wall will be the living room with sofa-loveseat and recliner, and in the middle a cabinet with a retractable TV that elevates for watching TV and retracts when needed for use as a credenza, for entertaining. The TV cabinet can be rotated reversing the view for watching TV from the bed, when it is being used as the bedroom.
 
The contractor we hired to do this project asked for and got 4 sets of plans (2 for him to build and 2 for the City Building Dept. to approve for permits), but a week later said that he had not submitted the plans for approval by the City because he didn't know if we wanted him to build it for us. We're still trying to figure out what part of 'here are the 2 sets of plans for the City permitting and 2 sets for you to build the casita' he did not understand to mean 'we want you to build our casita', after having given us his price and us having agreed to it, and him telling us "Once (the plans) are approved, I will be able to get started on it within a week or two, so we are looking about 1 month out." Then after 10 days of not hearing anything from him, assuming we were all waiting for the City to approve the plans, he informs us out of the blue that he has just taken on a contract to build two apartments and will not be able to start working on our casita for 3-4 months. Clearly, this is a Contractor to put on the Bad Contractor List, as he has no sense of Commitment to his word. If you are in Southern Arizona (i.e. the Benson area) BUILDER BEWARE of David Hatch and Randd, Inc. in Benson AZ

Thankfully, upon recommendation from a local who is the Manager of the subdivision, who was as surprised by his actions as we were, we were referred to David Hatch's EX father-in-law (who is our age and serious), who gave us an even better price and seems much more trustworthy and clear in communications. He is a native and used to be the Mayor of Benson for a time, so he is already known and respected and is submitting the plans to the City requesting a quick turn-around. When they approve the plans he will do the ground work and pour the slabs. While that is drying, he will pour the slab on another house he is already committed to, and while that is drying he plans to do the framing and roofing on ours, then get back to his other house, so when he gets back to ours in late September or early October, there won't be much to finish it.


Recently we had the beginnings of what they refer to here as the Monsoon season. Bill has been to Cambodia and can tell you what a Monsoon is like... high humidity, almost constant rain for days  and even weeks at a time. We think that here it may rain hard for a few hours every day (like in summer in Florida), but because the ground is so compacted and dry the water just runs off and especially with storm water coming down from the mountains collects and fills the large washes that are everywhere in the towns and cities to drain the water out to the desert. We'll see. However, whatever it is like the season only lasts for about 3 months. recently we had a few strong showers that started to fill the wash that runs right behind our current lot and down the street, but it quickly got washed away and dried right up.




 Sometimes we can see the rain falling but never get it on top of us. Ya' never know.




 The water comes through the wash finally reaching these culverts under the roadways...

 And some from the streets flows directly over the side and down to the desert...

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