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Councillor Steve Roddick

Councillors leery about selling land strip

Three members of city council expressed reluctance Monday regarding the sale of a narrow strip of public land along Falcon Drive to accommodate a driveway.

By Chuck Tobin on November 28, 2019

Three members of city council expressed reluctance Monday regarding the sale of a narrow strip of public land along Falcon Drive to accommodate a driveway.

Councillors Dan Boyd, Steve Roddick and Laura Cabott expressed reservations about the sale.

They all voted to approve first and second readings of the required bylaw.

They also indicated, however, that their support to advance the matter to third and final reading was to allow for more discussion but should not be taken as support for the sale.

“I am prepared to approve second reading but I’m not comfortable at this juncture to approve third reading,” said Boyd. “I am still not convinced at this juncture that this is the right thing to be doing.”

Third reading is scheduled for Dec. 9.

City administration is recommending the city sell the strip of land to the property owners at the corner of North Star Drive and Falcon Drive for $18,250.

The property owners applied for and received a permit earlier this year to build a new garage.

They provided the city with a site drawing noting the location of the garage at the rear of their home facing North Star. There was no detailed design of the garage provided.

When city staff noticed during construction that the garage doors were facing Falcon and not the driveway coming off North Star, they issued a stop-work order.

With the garage doors facing Falcon, it would be next to impossible for vehicles to drive into the garage using the established driveway, council has been told.

The property owners have since applied to purchase the public utility easement between their property and Falcon Drive to accommodate a second driveway and access to the garage.

City administration has indicated selling the land is the most practical solution. Any future need for the placement of public utilities such as a natural gas pipeline could still be accommodated, council has been assured.

But Boyd told his colleagues Monday he’s still not sure about how the city found itself in this position. It’s likely the property owners at this stage could change the design and re-orient the garage doors to face North Star without a huge expense, he said.

Roddick said he was voting to move the bylaw forward to provide an opportunity for further discussion and an opportunity to hear from the property owners.

But like Boyd, he said, he was not convinced selling the property is the proper thing to do.

“My concerns stem largely around, to what extend accommodating the property owner in this case is effectively allowing for development to proceed in ways that annex adjacent public property,” Roddick told his colleagues. “... I think there is a risk if we approve this, we risk institutionalizing a perverse incentive for developers to make their permit applications deliberately vague to try and sneak it through knowing that if they get the permit the city will accommodate them in some way, shape or forum.”

Cabott said she too has her reservations. But she pointed out there’s been no opposition from the neighbours.

Cabott said it’s important council be guided by the facts and not by an impulse to teach a resident a lesson or punish them by refusing to sell the land.

With councillors Jan Stick and Samson Hartland absent from Monday’s meeting, Cabott said before locking herself into a decision one way or the other, she wanted to hear Stick’s and Hartland’s views on the matter before third reading.

Comments (8)

Up 8 Down 0

Different rules on Dec 4, 2019 at 9:01 am

So when I have applied for development and building permits, I had to submit site plan, building elevation drawings, wall section details. Also if it was a mono-slab I was required to have stamped engineered drawings. So how on earth does someone get permits for a structure with only a site plan? There is obviously something amiss on this one. Someone either really screwed up or there was favouritism. Now administration sees no issues with proceeding with the sale. Hopefully council will see through this, and this will be a good test of how far the corruption is.

Up 14 Down 0

Regulator on Dec 3, 2019 at 12:39 pm

Never. This is the old way of doing business. I'd bet there is conflict with one of the mayor and Councilors and the applicant...old buds perhaps.

Gets messy

Up 16 Down 0

Pot Meet Kettle on Dec 2, 2019 at 5:40 pm

Didn't you just get rid of TransNorth because you built outside the scope of your original design?
The City led by example.

Up 29 Down 0

Anie on Dec 2, 2019 at 3:13 pm

Defeating this would not "punish" the applicant. It would, however, send a message that the City will not help people to circumvent rules. It will also be fair to other residents who saw a "wouldn't it be nice" opportunity but didn't pursue it because it was against the rules. Let's treat everyone fairly. And to the person who said rules are made to be broken, well I guess I'm glad you are not a neighbour and I hope you have no influence over impressionable minds.

Up 28 Down 0

Jim on Dec 2, 2019 at 9:46 am

Considering that I had a development application in to the city planning and because I was not willing to give 6 meters of my property frontage for landscaping, my building could not go ahead, I say ABSOLUTELY NOT! How does something like this even get this far? Normally there are several steps that you have to do before concrete is even poured. I think someone in city planning or building department dropped the ball on this and this is how they will cover their rear ends.

Up 8 Down 45

Matt on Nov 29, 2019 at 2:42 pm

As usual the "pettybones" are out. We need to ask ourselves this question? Does it harm anyone? Does it present a safety issue for anyone? Rules are meant to be broken if they don't harm society as a whole and no it does not mean everyone can do it.

Up 60 Down 4

Steven on Nov 29, 2019 at 7:45 am

Sounds like the property owner knew exactly what they were doing when they placed the garage doors, and that they were banking on the city granting an easement. This happens all the time in this city. "Oh, silly me, I put the garage doors on the wrong side! hahahahahaha! but that's ok, isn't it? You're not *really* going to make me tear it all down, are you??" ~blinks puppy-dog eyes~

Boyd has it perfectly correct: Allowing this sale will further send the message that it's ok for people to continue to plan "poorly".
Cabott seems to think there should be no rules at all, and that since the neighbours are ok with it, it should be ok for everyone. Fantastic logic.
Nope. Make them move the garage doors, or reorient the building. They should have done it right the first time.

Up 54 Down 3

Marie on Nov 28, 2019 at 9:49 pm

Should not be allowed . The owner knew the design would force access to land he did not own. Ask for redesign no selling of the element for private gain.

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