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'Build first ask later' bothers neighbours

A carport at the front of this Helmcken Drive property is at the centre of a dispute between neighbours in the quiet Rayleigh neighbourhood.
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June 26, 2013 - 2:23 PM

KAMLOOPS – A handful of Rayleigh residents are upset with a neighbour over his apparent “build first ask for permission after the fact” tactics when it comes to a carport that is 2.9 m too close the road.

An obvious dispute between Brad Silbernagel and his Helmcken Drive neighbours over the condition of the property came to light as Brenda Chambers and Leona Ketsa stood up to speak against allowing a variance for a carport at the front of the property that is not currently meeting the necessary setbacks.

Silbernagel says he was unaware of the need for a permit given it was not to be closed in but his neighbours thought this was a lie and went on to tell council of other issues they have with him.

“We followed all the bylaws, did whatever was required and better,” Ketsa told council, “and here he is saying oops. That doesn't sit well with me.”

Chambers says this is not a special case requiring a setback but is concerned allowing a variance for a man who “did not follow the rules” would set a precedent for the entire neighbourhood.

“My most serious concern is, in effect, this will change the building rules for all of Rayleigh. The majority of lots and boulevards are large, this would set a precedent.” Chambers told council.

Chambers also questioned the building codes and staff recommending approval of the variance.

“Was (the building code) based on a whim?” She asked, “and if all you need to grant a variance permit is a desire for more, you might have a lot more to approve.”

Silbernagel told council he feels he is being ganged up on by neighbours and did not realize he needed a permit.

“I did make a mistake,” he said, “I built a carport roof and didn't realize it would need a permit. It's only two posts and a roof.”

The neighbourly dispute did not sit well with Coun. Pat Wallace.

“Clearly you've irritated your neighbours,” Wallace noted. “Well that's unfortunate. Clearly they feel your presence there has intruded on their peace and quiet.”

Silbernagel did not disagree with the sentiment and as the dispute continued to escalate Mayor Peter Milobar stepped in to get everyone under control.

“We're starting to get into what one neighbour said to the other neighbour and about the other neighbour, we have no way of adjudicating that.” Milobar said, “So it's not really going to be valuable to spend time with everyone rebutting, and if we can focus in on the actual property (rather) than the personalities involved we can get further along.”

Council agreed to approve the garage in the back of the property, also part of the complaints, since it was there when Silbernagel moved in, but they were unable to agree on the carport. The variance for the carport was tabled until the next meeting when Coun. Marg Spina can offer a tie-breaking vote.

To contact a reporter for this story, email, call (250)819-3723 or tweet @JennStahn.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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