Catherine has been spending quite a bit of time in the building pictured, trying to figure out whether we will be able to replace the main house at 301 Monroe with a new one, while keeping the cottage. This is really the last major contingency relating to the property, and if we get answers that we can live with on this, we’ll go through with everything and close escrow.
There are numerous issues with the cottage, including the fact that it is piggy-backed onto the main house sewer and water connections, which is (we think) no longer kosher. We’re concerned that if we rebuild the main house we’ll be forced to change the back house, too. One possibility is that we might be able to trench new connections to the main sewer and water. If so, we’re going to try to get the sellers to agree to lower the purchase price by the amount it will cost to do that, since proper sewer and water hookups for the cottage were one of our explicit contingencies.
Also, the back house is too wide for the lot according to the current zoning regulations. When we asked the planning department what we’d have to do with the cottage if we rebuilt the main house, they responded with something like, “You will have to bulldoze this cottage.” Catherine had done her homework, however, and was able to introduce them to various documents from the 1980s that indicated that the city accepted the structure then, which softened their position. After she managed to get the planning department to give it the thumbs up, she worked on the building department. Eventually, they also agreed that it was okay, so now the only department remaining is the public works department.
We’ve got our fingers crossed.