A lesson in the old saying, be careful what you ask for.

The Ontario Municipal Board overturned a Committee of Adjustment decision granting variances for a garage erected without a building permit that did not meet the City’s zoning requirements.

City planning staff told the Committee of Adjustment (CoA) that the garage did not meet the requirements of zoning, specifically, the garage was too close to the road and the neighbouring property. Staff recommended denial.

On a vote of 4-3, the CoA decided against the staff position and approved the garage. The neighbour appealed.

What makes this ruling noteworthy is that the appeal against the non-compliant garage originated as a neighbour dispute, and once the garage-owning neighbour moved, the complaining neighbour asked to withdraw the appeal – stating they were now fine with the garage.

Instead, the OMB upheld the zoning bylaw and the recommendation of staff to deny the variance.

“At the commencement of the hearing, I was advised by Mr. Kevin Fernandes, Counsel for the Applicant, that the Applicant had indeed moved to another location. New neighbours had moved in. The ill-feelings which once existed between these neighbours was gone now that new people had moved in. Given that, the parties no longer wished to pursue the appeal”, wrote OMB Vice-Chair Jyoti Zuidema in her decision.

The lawyer for the new owner sought to have the OMB dismiss the appeal.

Vice-Chair Zuidema wrote that she was bound to make a decision once the application was filed – especially as the appellant fought against an attempt by the original neighbour to have the case dismissed.

“Having had regard to the concerns raised by the City’s Planning Staff and given that I received no evidence to establish that the variances being sought met the four tests under subsection 45(1) of the Act, the Board orders that the appeal is allowed and the variances are not authorized.”