Thursday, August 06, 2020

Building zone

I now live in a building zone. Well, technically, I already did, because the development only started being built about a year or so ago, and a lot of houses are brand-new—even mine was only completed about seven months ago. What’s different now is that they’ve started building a house on an empty section (lot) right next door to me.

The photo above is of a hazards sign (by law, such a sign is required at any building site, and all commercial places have to have signs highlighting potential hazards). The fenceline along the left side of the photo is the boundary between the empty section and mine. The sign went up early Monday morning, but I suspected something was up last week.

Last week I was out cleaning up the yard, and I could hear the mowers coming to mow the section next me, and to the south of my house. But, unlike every other time, they didn’t mow the section on the other side of me. “I wonder if they’re about to build on it,” I thought at the time.

So, the sign went up, something I knew was inevitable, though I was lulled into complacency by the fact that the “for sale” sign had fallen over ages ago and never been replaced. So, I have no idea if this is a house and land package, similar to what I was looking at doing awhile back, or if someone bought the section and hired builders, or if this is a “spec house”, like mine was (where a builder builds a house and then sells it when it’s done). I also don’t know how big the house will be, but it may be only one storey, since the two storey ones are on the east-west streets, not the north-south streets like mine. But that could just be coincidence.

All of which means that I have no idea what is to be built there, or how soon it will be done. At least some of that started to become clearer since.

The earthworks to scrape the ground for the concrete slab to be poured began yesterday afternoon, but they didn’t have enough time to get all that far (the sun sets at 5:30pm this time of year). When they were done, they parked the digger where it was in direct line of sight from the stacker doors in the living area. I suddenly realised how much the house could tower over mine when it’s done, and I was a bit surprised by that (I clearly hadn’t really thought it through).

That’s a little more obvious in the photo below: It shows the digger as viewed from my lounge door. The sign in the photo up top is to the right, but out of view. Side note: That gray tube thing on the fence is the outside unit for the weather station that I talked about back in June.

The digger’s roof is easily the possible height that the new house’s roof could be, but that fence in the photo below where the weather station module is hanging, is the build line for the other houses around here, so I assume the new house won’t be any further forward than that.

Because I don’t know how high the new house will be, I have no idea how it will affect the sun on my section (that section is at a higher elevation than mine, ranging from about a metre at that same front fenceline to nearly a couple metres at the back of the section (along that same boundary). However, having the house cast shade on that side of the house wouldn’t be bad: It gets very hot in the afternoon. But in winter, when I’d want the sun’s warmth? That might matter.

Another concern is, as it has been all along, maintaining my privacy along that boundary. I decided a long time ago that I was going to plant a hedgerow of an endemic plant called Pittosporum tenuifolium. The plant grows fairly quickly, reaches about three to four metres in height, and will provide a lot of privacy. It’s also drought-tolerant, which is important around here with it’s hot, dry summers. Even before I moved in, I imagined a wall of green outside my living area doors, and this plant is perfect.

I originally planned on putting in the plants before lockdown, but it happened too quickly for me to get it done, then when I could get the plants again, it was too late in the season to plant them. August is the typical month to plant them, apparently (September 1 is the start of Spring), so I’m about to order what I’ll need. I wish I had been able to get them in before lockdown, though, because then they’d be established already, and might even reach fence height this year. Oh, well.

The construction next door has left me with a lot of questions I can’t answer, but, so far, not a lot of noise or dust. The soil is moist from the winter rains, so it’s not blowing around as it would in summer. And, it turns out, double-glazed windows really help deaden sound. So far, anyway. All this may change as they do the actual building over the coming months.

Whatever happens, that new house will have my first literal next-door neighbours. And as this area fills up, the next stage will probably start being developed, and that, in turn, will lead to infrastructure improvements (like some shops and better road connections), and that will be good for us all. Five years from now, this area will be completely transformed from what I first saw late last year.

Good thing I like change.

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