Thank you, gentlemen, I definitely appreciate the input. As far as paying for it, I think I could chip in with my landlord, especially on the truck scraping stuff that's free. He hates that blight over there as much as I do.
As far as permits, I'm going to be a rebel scofflaw here and quote my late grandfather: "Screw 'em if they can't take a joke." The lot that this little strip is attached to is this oddball triangular-shaped lump of dirt that has never been anything but. If some screwball actually does come forward to claim this piece of crap and wonders, "who dumped all this gravel on my abandoned mudhole?" then he'll encounter an apartment complex with an amazing ratio of blind people. :-)
Thank you again, gentlemen, this should be very helpful!