By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: April 25, 2014
Council rejected a variance application by a Brackendale resident who defied the bylaws to built a deck despite warning from the building inspector it flouted subdivision rules.
“The bylaws are in place for all of us to follow.”Nelson Wall
In a unanimous vote, councilors rejected a variance to allow a setback of 20 feet for the deck roof on a Dryden Road house in Brackendale.
The zoning bylaw calls for a minimum setback of 25 feet.
Staff told councilors the applicant, Chamkaur Sidhu, disregarded the zoning bylaw and then continued to build the deck even when told it was illegal and the home won’t be issued an occupancy permit.
“The applicant was advised before the concrete being poured that the deck was not compliant,” planner Sarah McJannet said.
Sidhu said the covered deck allows his parent to sit on the deck protected from the elements and prevents water from splashing back into the house when it rains.
He also said he missed the building inspectors notice as he wasn’t present at his home when it was delivered.
The building inspector, meanwhile, says the owner was given ample time and warned early.
At a council meeting on April 15, Sidhu’s neighbours derided his ‘flagrant disregard for the law’ and asked the council to act swiftly on it.
“This is wrong,” said neighbor, the Nelson Wall. “The bylaws are in place for all of us to follow.”
Another neighbor, Rick Brzezowski, said he would have liked to cover his deck, but couldn’t because of building guidelines.
Brzezowski said it seems unfair that the owner feels ‘it’s better to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission.’
Councillor Ron Sander said he wouldn’t support the motion to grant variance for the same reason that he didn’t support skate bowl.
“Much like I didn’t support skateboarders, for the same reasoning I can’t support it,” he said.
Coun. Doug Race said what bothers him is that the applicants didn’t follow process even after being made aware.
He also said he can’t recall a variance application where there was such a significant opposition.
Coun. Patricia Heintzman said the present application can’t be compared to the skateboarders.
The skateboarders were issued a stop work order and they stopped, which didn’t happen in this case.
“Ignorance isn’t an excuse,” she said, “We have a zoning bylaw and we need to stick to our guns on this.”