.. I am on my way to the Olstergaard. It is quite an adventure for me! Today I would like to tell you a little about my progress. It is often a matter of waiting for others first in order to take the next step, so I need to practice patience a lot. But we’ll get there eventually.
Sketch design approved!
Before I can apply for an environmental permit, I first had to submit a sketch design for my Tiny House and garden. For Olstergaard, a whole framework of rules has been established to guarantee a nature-inclusive circular neighborhood. For example, I have to apply permaculture principles in the garden and meet a number of points for nature including my building. My house has already been built, of course, so adding a green roof is no longer possible. But adding birdhouses, bat boxes and hiding places for insects in the house and garden is perfectly applicable. Antti Haninen helped me with the necessary drawings of my house. As for landscape design, Buro Ruiter helped me with a fantastic garden design, and I made a planting plan myself.
I wouldn’t mind if my future garden would look like this <3
As I described earlier, there were some comments about the porch cover that I plan to make. Fortunately, this problem has been solved thanks to the quality team of the municipality of Olst-Wijhe. The roof is still seen as an extension and therefore adds to the maximum number of m2 that I may have as an outbuilding on my plot, which means that I need an exemption from the zoning plan. That is justifiable because my house is so small and therefore it can be licensed with what they call (freely translated) a ‘crumb list’ exception. It does cost extra for the permit and I am liable for planning damage claims, but I do not expect my future neighbors to be bothered by me having a covered porch. ;)
The quality team also had some questions about the application of permaculture, especially about native species. I assured them that I made sure I was well informed by the permaculture nursery Eetbaargroen.nl and that my planting plan is geared towards this. So, my sketch plan has been approved!
On to the next step: the environmental permit application. Nothing really fits well in the regulations when it comes to my house. It is simply too small, bio-based, self-sufficient, and those are all factors that the Building Decree and the BENG standard do not seem to be able to cope with. Even though I have been living in my house with great pleasure and enjoyment for almost five years and it has withstood all kinds of weather with flying colors. The BENG norm (nearly energy neutral buildings) has been valid since January of this year. I don’t know much about the BENG; it’s all a bit too technical for me, I must admit. I do know that my house cannot meet its standards. Which is crazy, of course, because I am self-sufficient in energy and use less than 1 kWh of solar power per day. When you talk about limiting energy you can hardly do better, I guess.
The BENG applies to new construction, which my house is not. But it is quite unusual to move a house to a new location where you then have to apply for a new environmental permit. Nice, isn’t it, pioneering. ;) It makes sense to regard my house as an existing building, for which less strict requirements apply. The municipality is now looking into whether this is possible with the environmental permit. Antti has offered his help and will soon have a meeting with the permit officer.
For the new (off-grid) Tiny Houses to be built in Olstergaard, a solution must also be found with regard to the BENG, and the municipality is in discussion about this issue with the municipality of Den Helder. A lot of experience is currently being gained there with the permanent licensing of Tiny Houses. They also enlisted the help of Joost Pothuis, senior adviser on building regulations, who also helped start the permit process at the BouwEXPO Tiny Housing in Almere. I have heard Joost speak at various meetings; he will be a big help.
Other than that..
Let’s see, what else is going on? I have now found a notary for the mortgage deed and the deed of transfer for the lot – Notariaat Salland. Jolande van Eikenaar Makelaardij is busy with the appraisal of my house and the lot. And I have requested a quote from landscaping company Holsto in Olst for the construction of the paths and pond in my garden. Holsto is a member of the ecological department De Wilde Weelde and has the widest range of organic plants and bulbs in the Netherlands in their garden center, so that seems like a great choice to me.
If only I had as much patience as I have time
I can only proceed to an assignment once I have received the environmental permit, which applies not only to the gardener but to everything that I want to have placed or constructed on my plot. My shed/greenhouse combination, the water tank, the construction of the water supply and connection to the sewer. Only when I have the environmental permit, can I be 100% sure that my move will continue. And yes, nowadays everything has a (considerable) delivery time and I really want to move as soon as possible. The preparation of Olstergaard is already in full swing and the expected construction-ready date has already been postponed to mid-August. I really want to move there in August; can’t wait! Oh, what a virtue patience is… But everything will surely work out just fine. I’ll keep you informed!