17.4 C
Niagara Falls
Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Letter: Neighbour is not being denied site plan information
Letter to the editor. File

Dear editor:

Re: Kip Voege’s April 17 letter “Like it or not, site plans should be public,” I have to remind myself that the editors are responsible for writing the headlines on letters, not Mr. Voege or myself.

Be that as it may, the question that Mr. Voege has been posing to your readership since Dec. 7 of last year (“Do residents have rights when neighbours build next door,“) is not whether a site plan or an address should be public, or “what private and personal information is on a site plan?” (April 3, “Town denies request for copy of a site plan“).

His real question is: why can’t he get his own personal copy of his neighbour’s site plan? That’s it.

He has seen the site plan at least twice, by his own admission. He is not being denied access to information; he is being denied his own copy for his own records.

The neighbours have done nothing wrong, they just won’t furnish Mr. Voege with his own personal copy of their site plan.

So he went to the town and named the two staff members in your paper when they also said “no.”

Like the owners of the site plan in question, the town clerks let Mr. Voege view the site plan. He just didn’t get to walk out with a copy of his own under his arm.

In my opinion, it’s irresponsible to keep publishing Mr. Voege’s narrative on “neighbour’s rights” without doing some fact-checking first.

What rights have actually been violated here? Come out to the neighbourhood and do some good old-fashioned journalism and get to the bottom of the story.

Did Mr. Voege’s digital antenna end up losing a channel or two? Has he lost his ability to watch some television? What does his view of the river actually look like now that this house has gone up?

Come take a picture. You’ve already published a picture of the front of his house, take one of the backyard now.

If you drove by, I’m sure you’d see that both of Mr. Voege’s properties have terrific views of the river and his claim otherwise is absolute nonsense.

Come ask his neighbours about drainage. Get a range of viewpoints if it’s worthy to keep printing. My lawn got flooded, too, but I don’t feel that I lost any of my rights to my neighbour’s construction. The builders fixed the issue immediately.

As for his statement that “all addresses are public … Google them,” it’s worth mentioning that when you Google the address in question, Mr. Voege’s letter to you is the first hit that you can read publicly without a subscription.

Yes, all addresses are public in the same way that all licence plates are public. If you’re not doing anything wrong, there is no reason to publish the information in your local paper.

Residents don’t get to deputize themselves and become de facto approval committees for their neighbours’ building plans. Like it or not.

Jason Chesworth

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