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Committee of Adjustments meeting

May 23rd, 2007

Today was the big day for obtaining our variances. There were about 30 people presenting their cases to the committee, and we were the 2nd variance in the first group (the group with no really complicated variance requests).

The committee first asks if anyone is present to speak against the project, and if they are, both groups are asked to step outside and first try to come to some agreement about the situation (even if they’ve tried before).

No one was present to contest our variances, so we were offered our 5 minutes to present any information we felt the committee should know (there’s even a big clock on the wall). We just gave a quick overview of the project (which was probably also unnecessary as all this information was already submitted with the application). They quickly voted to approve, with the small stipulation that we obtain pad parking since we would not have “a legal parking space behind the front wall of our house.” Since we were planning on getting a pad-parking permit anyway we claimed victory! The whole process took under 5 minutes (not including the months of waiting to see the committee).


Upon returning home and contacting the Off-street Parking Office, we discovered we are not eligible for pad-parking because permit parking is available on our street (by-law 918).

So: the city won’t let us put a car on an existing driveway on our property because it’s possible for us to get a permit to cram the car onto the overcrowded street where it will be available for small children to dart out from, get in the way of snow plows, etc.

Adding to the frustration is that bylaw 918 only went into effect on April 16. If we had gone through this process a few months earlier (as was initially planned) we’d be all set. Apparently this crack-down on pad-parking permits comes and goes every few years, and we just missed the window.

We do have the option of appealing the Off-Street Parking Office’s decision. However, we’d have to pay $285 to apply (and be instantly rejected) and then file an appeal for $685. The appeal process is lengthy and at the last meeting most appeals were rejected. (I should mention that the folks at the Off-Street Parking Office were really nice and understanding about our situation, though their mandate from the city clearly doesn’t offer them much wiggle room.)

Alex believes that the councilor who made the pad-parking stipulation may not have known about bylaw 918, and may be happy with the de facto equivalent: that we get a street parking permit. We’ll need to make another trip to the permit office to find out.

Posted by Colin