ETS Plus for Soil-less Gardens

In the spring of 2006, a very generous and benevolent individual anonymously gave our community a donation to purchase and install a gazebo in our town's park. A professional landscape consultant (I'll call him Mr. White) knew the donor and volunteered to take charge of the project. He chose a beautiful unit with a three-tiered roof, called the Wedding Cake model. Being the professional he is, he contacted the County to check on any permits that might be needed to install a moveable edifice in the park. (It is classified as a moveable edifice since the thing just sits on the ground with no permanent foundation under it.) His question opened a real Pandora's box, chock-full of hoops to be jumped through and an unbelievable amount of red tape to deal with in order to get the required permit. Justification for all this was that this particular parcel of land is within an historical area of town and, therefore, special requirements must be met. To add to the frustration level of this project, the County had an identical gazebo next to their office building — no red tape or permits were required for that one, naturally.

Some, but not all, of the requirements that had to be met to get our gazebo project done included a building permit, an application for Fire Protection Plan Review, a topographical map of the area involved, an architectural drawing of the building (manufacturer's drawings were not acceptable) and a Certificate of Occupancy. As Mr. White met each requirement given to him, another was put in its place — and then there were the architectural drawings. It seems that architects are very reluctant to make drawings based on other people's work.

After more than two months of frustration, Mr. White was ready to quit. I heard about this at 4 p.m. on a Wednesday and immediately uncorked the "Soil-less Garden genie" from the bottle, asking for help in getting this done. During lunch hour the next day, Mr. White had a conversation with a local resident and mentioned the problem to him. This person just happened to know an architect and made a phone call on the spot. At 9 a.m. Friday, the drawings were hand-delivered to Mr. White, and by noon he had the last official certificate in his hand. Saturday morning the gazebo was installed.

I have unshakable faith in the ability of the ETS Plus for Soil-less Gardens to get things done.

— G.M., Wilmington, DE