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Niagara Falls
Tuesday, November 28, 2023
Council settles property dispute, avoids tribunal hearing
Coun. Wendy Cheropita voted to settle the Gate Street dispute with owner Keith Turner while Coun. Gary Burroughs was opposed to settling. EVAN LOREE

Council has avoided a trip to the Ontario Land Tribunal by overturning a decision made by the committee of adjustment.

As a result, Keith Turner of 1939592 Ontario Inc., which owns 517 Gate St., will be permitted to build a bungalow on the lot with 40 per cent coverage instead of the 33 per cent permitted by the lot’s zoning.

“The houses across the street have 40 per cent coverage as well,” said Mary Lou Tanner, a planner representing the owner of 517 Gate St.

In a split decision, the committee of adjustment denied the request for more lot coverage at a meeting on July 20. 

The landowner then appealed the decision to the land tribunal, which resolves development disputes.

Paul DeMelo, a lawyer for the property owner, said the coverage was actually smaller than the 40 per cent in the application.

He said a covered porch to the rear of the property made up most of the additional lot coverage the owner was asking for.

Realistically, the proposed bungalow would cover 2 per cent more land than what was permitted by the zoning, he said.

The committee denied the permit despite staff recommending the contrary. 

“We believe the resolution is to support the staff position,” Tanner told council last Tuesday night.

Coun. Maria Mavridis agreed and suggested the town settle with the property owner.

Coun. Gary Burroughs said council was in a “tough position” having to choose between the committee’s decision and staff’s recommendations.

And Coun. Sandra O’Connor said she wanted more information before making a decision.

She and Burroughs voted against Mavridis’ motion.

Councillors Tim Balasiuk, Wendy Cheropita, Adriana Vizzari and Erwin Wiens all voted in favour.

At the July meeting, committee of adjustment members Allan Killin and Paul Johnston voted to deny the permit. 

They argued there was not sufficient justification for the owner to surpass the 33 per cent limit on lot coverage.

Killin said town bylaws force builders to set garages farther back than what was proposed by the applicant.

And Johnston argued there was no reason the owner couldn’t build a two-storey house on a smaller footprint than what was proposed with the bungalow.

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