City staff are giving away city property and council isn't doing anything about it

Laurie Charlton
By Laurie Charlton
January 10th, 2011

City staff are giving away City property and Rossland Council is doing  nothing about it.

In October 2010, a building permit was issued for the construction of a  garage in the 1900 block of Second Ave.  The problem is the garage is being  built so that it crosses the property line and encroaches about 7 feet onto  the City’s road allowance.

When asked why a building permit had been issued, the City Administrator  
replied, in writing, that it was in accordance with Policy #0628.  This  policy was adopted in 2009 to allow construction or reconstruction of  retaining elements (such as rock walls) to create safe access to properties or to channel water flow.  It does not provide any authority to construct a garage that encroaches on City property.

On the other hand, Policy #0620, adopted in 1986 and still in force, has sought to remove encroachments on City property whenever possible.  There are dozens, if not hundreds, that date back many decades.  The City has made  
significant progress in eliminating these encroachments over the years.

The Zoning Bylaw specifies that no construction can proceed if the building will straddle a property line.  The Encroachment Bylaw says that encroachments not secured by a restrictive covenant are unlawful.  The Community Charter says that only Council, not staff, can permit an encroachment.

Now that this precedent has been established, will we see applications from  
other residents in Rossland who might want to replace a landscape feature on  
a City boulevard with an extension to their patio, garage, or house?  How  
could they be denied without attracting charges of favouritism?

By issuing this building permit, staff have contravened policies, bylaws and  
provincial legislation.  Council, who were elected to look after the interests of taxpayers, has taken no action.

Laurie Charlton

Categories: Letters

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