An after-the-fact permit request for a patio-roof structure built without city knowledge has received mixed reviews from council members.
The group, meeting as the land-use and planning committee, was asked Sept. 29 to consider a development-variance permit application for 15615 Moffat Lane, where owners added a cover to their patio in the months following the August 2013 completion of the new home’s construction.
The issue came to the city’s attention after a neighbour complained. Investigating, staff determined the structure did not meet front- and side-yard setbacks as required in the zoning bylaw.
In explaining staff support for the development-variance permit – which seeks to reduce the front-yard setback to 2.3 metres from 7.5m – director of development services Karen Cooper told the committee that council had, in June 2013, approved a similar, late request for a home at 15605 Moffat Lane, immediately west of the one in question.
In discussing the latest application, Mayor Wayne Baldwin noted the builder is the same in both cases, and said he had “some misgivings” with the request.
“Council agreed to (the earlier request), but of course there was nobody to the east to disagree,” he said. “In this case now, we have the same incident. They’re coming after the fact for approval.
“I don’t think this one is quite so open and shut.”
Baldwin suggested the city try to get the two neighbours talking, to figure out what works best and “achieve some kind of middle ground.”
When Coun. Helen Fathers expressed concern that could set the stage for the city to be dragged into “all kinds of disputes,” Cooper assured that staff could do nothing more than suggest the two sides talk.
In an April 2014 letter to council, homeowner Bhupinder Pandher explains the cover was built due to safety concerns associated with people throwing refuse and other objects into the yard.
Pandher identifies beer bottles, beers cans and even street signs as among items that have been thrown from the hillside above.
“I ask that you accept my apology for not making this application prior to installing the deck cover, but I was not aware at the time this was necessary,” Pandher writes.
Coun. Al Campbell, noting the unique siting of the property – fronting Semiahmoo Avenue but with an address on Moffat Lane due to access – was supportive of allowing the structure to remain.
“This makes such sense here,” he said. “People on the steps were throwing projectiles.”
Cooper noted Pandher has already agreed to remove the portion of the structure that encroaches into the side-yard setback.
Last week council voted to have staff schedule a public meeting for Oct. 20 regarding the permit application.