So, when we decided to put a loft apartment on the third floor of our building, we never imagined that it would take as long as it did to get approval. From the day we began the process until the day we got approval from the state of Kentucky was a year and a month. We originally assumed we could submit our plans to the city of Henderson and get the go ahead in a matter of days or weeks. Boy, were we wrong!
To begin with, we were told because we could not prove that anyone had ever actually lived anywhere in the building, we weren’t “grandfathered”. This means in our case that if a building had ever had an apartment in it before the new codes were issued sometime in the 60’s, as I understand it, the new codes did not apply to them. If, however, as in our case, no one had ever lived in the building, we had to change the classification of the building from Mercantile (old term for retail) to Mixed Use and all the new codes apply. If you didn’t know, the first floor of our building is an Antiques and Collectibles Consignment Shop and was a hardware store for 110 years before that.
Then we found out that due to the height and square footage, it had to go to the state. I have a background in architectural and mechanical drafting and worked for several engineering firms over the course of about 8 years. So, I was able to do all the grunt work in drawing up our plans in AutoCad. It’s been a long time since I actually worked with AutoCad but I was able to at least get our plans in the computer and on paper. Fortunately, my friend Tim Skinner is a wonderful architect and he was able to take what I started and clean it up to make it to his standard and presentable. Tim also communicated with the state agencies and departments to come up with our plan of action. I then met with plumbers, electricians, HVAC, structural engineers, etc. for bids and had them sketch their plans on our drawings.
Without going into great detail about the snail like pace at which it proceeded for the next year, just know that there was a lot of frustration and I’ll just say that it’s good to know men in high places that still work for the people. Thank you, sir. You know who you are.
Next step, local permits.