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Councillor - Town of Blue Mountains

Does this Town committee need serious adjustment?

Recently, I received an email from members of our Association, who expressed their shocking experience with the Town’s Committee of Adjustment.

Shortly after bulldozing a 12 year old chalet and clear-cutting a sloping site (without formal or written approval from the NEC), a builder on the adjacent lot had expressed to them that only a minor variance would be required to increase the building envelope for a new house. But, when the Town Notice came, much to their surprise the building envelope was much greater than expected and the construction of a “monster home” was being planned that would impact their light, sightlines and boundary line landscaping.

When our members attended the Committee of Adjustment to express their concerns, the builder was requesting his approvals without the proper site plans and elevations and relied only on a photograph of a house from a magazine. Our members felt intimidated and were overwhelmed by a builder from Collingwood (the advocate), who relied primarily on his experience and reputation – but no appropriate site plans. Our members expressed their concern about the Committee’s their decision to rule in favour of this advocate, when the evidence was weak at best.

So what’s the problem? Are advocates (builders, consultants and owners) being allowed to bully their way through the Committee of Adjustment process without proper plans and/or documentation? Does the Committee provide a fair hearing for members of the public, especially adjacent land owners?

Are these fair questions? Maybe or maybe not – I’m not judging Committee members or their decisions? What really concerns me is that members of our Community felt the need to reach out for help (after the fact) and tell me, that in their opinion the Committee of Adjustment had made a weak and unfair decision which basically allowed an advocate to ruin “the enjoyment of my house”. Their only request now is that the BMRA bring awareness to the problem and hope that others don’t suffer through the same experience and suffer the same fate.

Important note for the members of the community: If you have any issues going before the Committee of Adjustment that concern you, let us know in advance. We want to make sure that the Town provides fairness and transparency and that advocates such as builders, consultants and aggressive owners, don’t bully their way through the process and “ruin the enjoyment of your home”.