A recent article (City solves boulevard of broken dreams) reported that the City of Rossland is considering the closure and sale of part of Second Avenue.
The resident who built a garage on City property has applied for a development variance permit and the closure and sale of the portion of the road that his garage was built on. Council, with concerns expressed by some council members, agreed to proceed with the request.
The councillors who expressed concerns about this error on the City’s part should be very cautious. In early 2011, when I pointed out that the City’s former building inspector had issued a building permit for the construction of the garage in contravention of City policies and bylaws, and provincial legislation, Rossland CAO Victor Kumar jumped to the defence of the building inspector and accused me of harassing staff. Current councillors may suffer the same fate for expressing those concerns.
Kumar claimed at the time that the construction of the garage was in line with City policy. However, the policy he cited was not relevant to the issue. But council bought the story, ignored the fact the garage encroached on the City road allowance, ignored the fact that no variance had been granted to allow the garage to be built within the setbacks established by the zoning bylaw, and chose not to take any action.
The homeowner, who constructed the garage in good faith, was surprised to learn that the garage unlawfully encroached on City property. The owner, based on information provided by the City, felt that he had done the right thing even though no variance permits or easements were authorized prior to construction of the garage. He has obviously had a change of heart. Perhaps he talked to a lawyer or real estate agent and realized the problem he had on his hands.
The chickens have come home to roost on this issue. The building inspector who issued the improper building permit is long gone. It’s too bad the City is left to deal with the mess created.
Laurie Charlton, Rossland