Council cracks down on illegal space 

Notice of title placed on Spring Creek property

By Alison Taylor

Steve Shuster was just trying to create a little more room for his two kids in his house.

That’s why he built a makeshift playroom in his garage which he describes as 100 square feet framed in with no electrical work or plumbing.

Council, however, has a different view on the playroom.

At its latest meeting it unanimously decided to crack down on Shuster’s space, placing a notice on title at the Spring Creek condo.

“This level of enforcement has been somewhat overdue,” said Mayor Ken Melamed.

The response from the municipality, prompted by a letter of complaint from a neighbour, has taken the family by surprise.

“We’re really actually mind-boggled,” said Shuster. “For us it’s just a little bit extra room for our kids to play and make a mess and we’re not sure why it happened.”

He explained that the space is not rented out, and there is still enough room in the garage to park one car.

He doesn’t see it as adding any additional square footage to his 1,700 square foot home.

“It was just trying to make our unit more habitable for ourselves,” said Shuster.

The municipality’s manager of building services, Joe Mooney, inspected the residence in December. He told council the owners did not get a building permit for the room and a review of the zoning bylaw for the complex revealed there was no addition gross floor area available to legitimize the space.

The mayor said that if people don’t agree with the bylaws they must come to council and appeal for a change rather than taking matters into their own hands.

Council voted unanimously to have a section 57 note registered on the property, which may force any new owners to remove the playroom.

“It’s disappointing when… there’s so many other ‘illegal developments’ going on in people’s units and a small space in a garage is singled out,” said Shuster.

This is the third report council has seen recently and Councillor Tim Wake expects they will be seeing more. All reports have stemmed from complaints from neighbours.

“We need to be consistent in the application of this,” he said.

“When you’re caught, you’re caught.”

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