Monday, December 04, 2006

Update on the parking situation

Regular visitors will recall that sometime in the past the original owners of my neighbours' house had 'conquered' a long triangular strip of land from the land parcel that was ultimately to be bought by ourselves. The triangle had been used to widen the neighbour's driveway to his secondary parking space (his primary parking area and garage was to the front of his house)... all this had been done using land that we'll be needing for our own driveway, ta very muchly.

Now the current owner seems to be a nice chap. All this 'liberating' had been done years before he arrived on the scene, so hardly his fault. So we'd agreed in principle that the two driveway entrance areas should be more or less at the same level, so that if his car or our car happened to put a tyre on t'other side of the boundary while negotiating the turn in (or turn out) then that would all come out in the wash. His entrance would be tricker than ours, but then ours wouldn't be easy-peasy either.

Still with me? Good...

So t'other week the Gemeinde (equivalent to a small village goverment) had turned up team-handed to review the parking area situation for both houses. They'd informed us that the main water pipe for the whole bloody village was somewhere down under our neighbour's triangle bit, and it's mandatory that at least 1.5m of earth remains over it, or it'll freeze solid during the colder winter nights. Oo-err. Other than that, they said do what you need to do but make sure you get a handshake from the neighbour. One suspects that the land grab of yesteryear was a sore point with the Gemeinde, 'cos it had happened under their noses. And this isn't exactly the largest village in Switzerland.

Anyways, by the end of last week, the heavy landscaping had resulted in a driveway-shaped terrace above our nice new retaining mega-wall, and this terrace had been widened until it had reclaimed the errant triangle. Have a butchers yerself at the photo above. You could get an aquamarine JCB digger through that gap, no problem mate. Yep, when seen in the flesh, our driveway will now be ok with or without a helpful bit of our neighbour's driveway to negotiate the corner. We're alright, Jack.

So last Saturday, with all this in mind, we meet up with said neighbour (and the landscape chappie) to discuss how we could help him with his driveway problem. Only it all went a bit strange. Read on...

He very clearly stated that whatever wall we put up between our properties to shore up his land should be a high as necessary so that his land would remain level right up to his boundary. Yes, he was very clear about this. Ok, that's his right, even if this increases our material costs dramatically. Are we clear on that? Because he'll not agree to any other solution. Erm, yes we're clear. Very. Yep. Gulp.

Next point: there's a bit of our land remaining behind our carport that seems to be unallocated on the plan. Erm, yes that's right. Could we please build this up so that it's level with his land? Erm... He would offer to plant this with some nice bushes and trees and stuff. Erm, we'll think about this... erm... erm...

Oh, and he proposes that he returns his remaining triangle of driveway back to its natural garden state. He could then plant it with nice flowers and bushes and stuff. He could then access his parking space by driving over our new driveway. Ok? Erm, erm, erm...

Well, he left us to it, and we continued our discussions with the landscaper chappie who was also looking a bit shaken. We turned our discussion to the main steps from our parking area down to our house. This has always been a contentious subject, and the steps had changed position three times since planning began. There's a 3 metres height difference betwix house and parking, so the material content of the steps was something to worry about, nevermind the practicality during those wintry months. So we moved the bloody steps once more, this time to the side of the house facing the small cul-de-sac road. Only about 1.2m elevation difference, and less of a horror when icy.

Done and dusted decision, and we're happier chappies for it.

One day in the nearish future, I'll construct two wooden staircases up either side of our mega-wall which can be used during the summer. Convenient and cheap. Might also stop our lads from scaling the 3m wall for kicks... ahh forget it, nothing can stop that.

Back to the parking area...

Just this morning we sent an email to said neighbour. No question that we'll meet his wishes with regards to the retaining wall between our properties. Damn the expense. We don't agree to his proposal to use our driveway to access his parking space, as this goes against the original idea of equal levelled entrances to ease entry/exit, (i.e. it's a bit rich to suggest to rip up yer own driveway and use ours instead). Let us know if you still want to reduce the level of your driveway entrance to match ours.

Email straight back: never that fussed about this secondary parking area anyway. Might be happier to reuse the driveway for garden, and forget the whole thing. Will get back to yer with a decision as soon as poss.

One feels this isn't the end of the subject.

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