City of Penticton action over newly discovered but long-standing property issues could have harsh consequences - InfoNews

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City of Penticton action over newly discovered but long-standing property issues could have harsh consequences

A Three Mile Road property owner is fighting Penticton City Hall over building permit issues going back to 1995.
November 29, 2018 - 5:30 PM

PENTICTON - A Three Mile Road homeowner could be barred from her home following a ruling handed down in B.C. Supreme Court on Nov. 26.

The Honourable Madam Justice Norell ruled on two petitions before the court, one issued by the City of Penticton, the other by Linda Ann Laturnus, dealing with a residential property on Three Mile Road, on Nov. 26.

The city discovered four building permits issued on the property in 1995 had not been closed, nor completion certificates issued, in March of 2014, following a complaint made concerning excavation on the property.

Three of the permits were issued in 1995 on the house for renovations to enclose a carport, make interior renovations and construct an addition. Another permit was granted to construct a retaining wall and a third permit granted to construct a third storey addition on the residence, but the city has no record of a final inspection being done.

A fourth building permit for a wood stove installed in the home in 2004 was also found not to have a final inspection report amongst city documents, yet a business license was issued and on record in 2005 for operation of a bed and breakfast on the property.

The city has not been able to bring the property into compliance since December, 2014, when Laturnus was first made aware of the lack of an occupancy permit, and on Oct. 3, 2017, the city passed a resolution to bring about the petition.

The city is also requesting an excavation on the property to require a building permit for a retaining wall needed to maintain a slope at the rear of the property,  as well as an injunction restraining occupancy until new building permits have been approved and the building bylaws satisfied.

If compliance is not achieved within 24 months, the city also requested Laturnus be ordered to apply for a demolition permit to have the house demolished.

The city did note in its petition it would stay the injunction regarding occupancy should Laturnus begin to take steps to meet building bylaws.

Laturnus’ petitions denies the need for building permits for the residence or the excavation, seeking an occupancy permit based on the inspections that were documented.

Laturnus also argued the inspector assessing the residence for a business permit should have discovered the unresolved occupancy permit and not issued a business permit, although the city countered the inspections aren’t the same.

Laturnus was not the property owner at the time the building permits were issued and there was no notice on title to the property when she took full possession.

The judge found in favour of the City arguments regarding the cancelled building permits, noting the city admitted a responsibility to notify the previous owners in writing the permits were about to expire, and again after the permits expired, but had no evidence in its files this was done, adding it does not absolve the previous owners of their responsibility to call for inspections. As current owner, Ms. Laturnus is now responsible.

The judge disagreed with Ms. Laturnus arguments the building permits were cancelled properly, nor that all necessary inspections were done, noting previous inspections were on file and it would be unlikely the final inspection would go missing.

The judge said even if a final inspection had taken place, there were no results of the final inspection, as in the issuing of a completion certificate.

She also dismissed Laturnus’ argument the issuing of a business licence could stand for a final inspection, summarizing her conclusions the city had established a clear breach of the building bylaw.

Laturnus will have to apply for new building permits and satisfy the requirements of the previous permits, in order to have an occupancy permit issued. She will also have to get the wood stove certified.

Justice Norell declined to grant the City’s request to force demolition of the house for non-compliance after 24 months, stating the city could make an application to that effect if and when the need arose.

The judge also found the city had established a breach of the building bylaw with respect to an excavation in the southeast corner of the property, but had not established a clear breach of the bylaw with respect to almost the entire length of a low retaining wall also in dispute on the property.

An injunction was granted with respect to the excavation in the property’s southeast corner, and Ms. Laturnus' petition was dismissed.


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