Once I was sure I could actually build, I really lost incentive to finish the parking spot for the elderly neighbors. The hardest part was parting with some of my beautiful stones, but there really needed to be a retaining wall on the uphill side of the parking spot. So I invested a day and finished it. I set some sleeves for a rail on the other side; they said they'll ge that taken care of. We shall see.
Maybe some good project karma came from helping the neighbors. The 'Transportation Impact Fee' was supposed to be $6000, the most expensive 'trash fee'. We paid the $2400 school fees, and scraped up enough for the TIF so I could do the final plan submittal. Due to some lawsuit, the TIF's were adjusted to match actual road improvements. Instead of $6000 it was $2240! After the plans are finalized I still have the Fire Mitigation Fee, about $500. I felt so good about paying cash for the big expenses I got to work on the parking spots. I have some serious grading to do on the slope, all by hand so I won't compact the soil over the septic system. Starting with a flat surface really makes building easier.
OK so the Rice Straw Wattles. These are required to filter storm water runoff. They do zero. Know what I think?? I think rice farmers had a major expense in getting rid of all the rice straw and weren't allowed to burn their fields anymore; they lobbied to get legislation requiring them at all construction sites. Gotta admire a scam like that.
So the site inspection I've been fretting over for months and months. The guy came out, said "It looks pretty cut and dry" and that was it. I picked his brain a bit and got to know him---he'll be my building inspector for at least the first part of the project. I liked him.