Log Home Jour­ney

With 170 acres of rolling western Penn­syl­va­nia farm­land on which to build their log home, the Say­man­skys can’t lose.

Log Home Living - - CONTENTS -

With 170 acres of rolling western Penn­syl­va­nia farm­land on which to build their log home, the Say­man­skys can’t lose.

If you read the first in­stall­ment of Becky’s and my log home jour­ney in the Fe­bru­ary is­sue of Log Home Liv­ing, you’ll re­call we live on a 170acre farm lo­cated in the rolling hills of western Penn­syl­va­nia. It’s also lo­cated on the sec­ond­high­est point in Beaver County. Want­ing to take ad­van­tage of our high van­tage point, Becky knew ex­actly where to build our house so we could achieve our “mil­lion dol­lar view.”

From our front porch, we wanted to be able to look down through the val­ley and field (about a 20-mile vista on a clear day) and fol­low the change of sea­sons just by look­ing out our win­dows. The fall fo­liage is spec­tac­u­lar with the wide va­ri­ety of tree cover Penn­syl­va­nia en­joys. Ap­proach­ing thun­der­storms or snow are fun to watch as they cir­cle around us; some­times not drop­ping a sin­gle rain­drop or snowflake on our land! From the rear, we’d be able to watch the deer feed­ing in the field, soar­ing ea­gles above or red-tail hawks as they nest. All of these el­e­ments make up our “mil­lion dol­lar view,” which gives us a re­lax­ing, al­most hyp­notic, feel­ing.

In or­der to pro­tect our log home in­vest­ment and the farm from un­seen cir­cum­stances or events, we de­cided to par­cel off two acres. Now the ini­tial work be­gan. We hired a sur­veyor and con­tacted our town­ship en­gi­neer to do the perc (short for per­co­la­tion) test. For first-timers, a perc test de­ter­mines the wa­ter ab­sorp­tion rate of soil in prepa­ra­tion of build­ing a sep­tic drain field basin. Once the sur­vey was com­pleted and the perc test passed, we pack­aged all of

this in­for­ma­tion and sent it to the town­ship and county for ap­proval. We thought get­ting our build­ing per­mit would be a piece of cake, but were we in for a few un­wel­come sur­prises that not only de­layed our progress, for a while we were afraid we’d have to aban­don our log home dream al­to­gether.

Dur­ing the re­view process, the DEP (Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion) dis­ap­proved their part of the ap­pli­ca­tion due to the fact that our sep­tic field could al­low our waste to mi­grate ap­prox­i­mately one-half mile into a stream. We had to hire a ge­ol­o­gist to pre­pare a study show­ing that the stream was ac­tu­ally a dry bed. (This spe­cial­ist was the first of many dips into our con­tin­gency fund.)

With the new in­for­ma­tion in hand, the DEP ap­proved their part of the ap­pli­ca­tion; how­ever, an­other ob­sta­cle ap­peared. The Penn­syl­va­nia Fish and Game Com­mis­sion re­jected their part of the ap­pli­ca­tion be­cause of the pos­si­bil­ity that an en­dan­gered bird, the Pied-Billed Grebe, was nest­ing on our prop­erty. The dis­cov­ery process cost us valu­able time. The Fish and Game Com­mis­sion phys­i­cally walked our prop­erty and, in the end, de­ter­mined there was no nest­ing of the Pied-Billed Grebe on our site.

Fi­nally, our ap­pli­ca­tion was ap­proved and stamped, and we were ready for con­struc­tion. These ob­sta­cles set us back about three months, but with a lit­tle re­search and de­ter­mi­na­tion, we were able to re­solve them. Noth­ing was stand­ing in the way of our dream log home any­more.

For many peo­ple, ob­tain­ing build­ing per­mits is a piece of cake. But some­times, there are un­fore­seen is­sues. Ex­pect the un­ex­pected and have a con­tin­gency fund in place to deal with them. Red-Tail Hawks are fre­quent vis­i­tors in the skies along the Say­man­skys’ lot.

BELOW: The Pied-Billed Grebe — the en­dan­gered bird that nearly thwarted Gary’s and Becky’s log home plans. Sun­sets are spec­tac­u­lar from their hill­top perch in western Penn­syl­va­nia.

Fol­low along with the Say­man­skys as they build their log home just north of Pitts­burgh. In each is­sue we’ll check their progress, learn from their ex­pe­ri­ences and cheer on their suc­cesses. In the end, we’ll see how they went from raw land to log home par­adise. So c’mon along and be part of their log home jour­ney.

ABOVE: On a clear day, you can see for 20 miles. But view isn’t ev­ery­thing when you’re buy­ing land. Make sure any par­cel you’re con­sid­er­ing can pass a perc test and won’t have any un­usual re­stric­tions.

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