Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO
I guess there are several infrastructure items that we haven’t talked about here, so I'll catch up on them now. Since we are building on undeveloped acreage, we are responsible for getting all the utilities to the property too. We are lucky, and all are close, so we just have to get through the red tape and have them run to the property. We started with the water meter in January, about $2,500. The water meter permit was required before we could get the building permit, even though the water meter would not be installed for another four months. The charge is not to run the lines to the home, just to put in the meter so they can keep track of how much we use to charge us -- I think this should be free.
We also need a driveway permit -- $95. They charge you for someone to come out and make sure there is at least 350 feet of sight line on each side of the spot you want to put your drive, go figure.
Then there was the electric and/or gas. We knew we would need electric, so we started there. $5,500 to run the line across the street to a new pole, then underground to a transformer for the two structures we are planning. WOW, didn't plan on that! Called the gas company. They had a main line just one block away, so gas was available or we could use propane.
After talking with some builders and people online, I learned that the electric fee is negotiable and if you go all-electric than it is sometimes zero or significantly discounted, plus you get a discounted rate on the electricity. Since we are only building an 850 sq. ft. carriage house, we decided to go all-electric and the bill for installation went down to $2,104. I should mention that this would have been less if we have run the lines overhead (on poles), but we honestly didn't want to look at them. Of course the electric company would not schedule the work until they had payment in full... by certified funds -- where's the trust? 2 1/2 months later they called to say they'd be there!
Well, we had already had half of the drive put in (only half because we ran out of gravel -- from earlier entry), and we had called the Mo Dig Rite folks to mark the utilities, which they did, and nothing was out of the ordinary. And then the electric company called to mark before they began trenching for the electric line, and again, everything was fine, so we thought!
The phone rang about 8 a.m.: "Hi, this is Jerry with the electric company. We have a small problem out here with your utility line. I thought you said you didn't have gas installed." "What, we didn't!" "Well, we just cut through a gas line that is now leaking gas into the area. It's fairly new, you sure you didn't have one installed."
Okay, I do sometimes forget things: where I put the car keys, my sunglasses, but you'd think one would remember having a gas line installed, or you'd remember writing the check!
"No, we didn't know about it... no one's smoking are they? It could get worse. And is this going to cost us more?" "The gas company is on the way to shut it off and since the line is dissecting your property, they will probably have to remove it. We'll have them call you." Click!
You would think that they would keep track of where these gas lines are and not wait for someone to cut it in two to say: "Oh, that's where we left that." Things are not always that organized.
The gas company capped the line and reported that it was installed for our neighbor who sold us the land and forgot to mention the gas line. Since the line was placed without a utility easement, it has to come out and be re-run, luckily not at our expense. After the discovery of the line, we were okay with it staying, since it was within 25 feet of where we planned on building our main house. The gas company wouldn’t go for it, specifically because it crossed through another parcel without an easement. Come to find out, the neighbor that the gas was run to wasn't using it; they installed a propane tank instead.
Well the electricity was completed, water meter installed and gas line capped, all is well. We have electricity to drain the water from the foundation, and for the framers, who charge extra for generators.
Next we'll tell you about the electricity, water, and the crawdads!