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Lower Montague woman plans to sue Three Rivers council over incomplete building permit

Three Rivers Mayor Edward MacAulay and deputy mayor Debbie Johnston deliberate at a town council meeting at the Lower Montague Community Hall.
Three Rivers Mayor Edward MacAulay and deputy mayor Debbie Johnston deliberate at a town council meeting at the Lower Montague Community Hall. - Ernesto Carranza
LOWER MONTAGUE, P.E.I. —

A Three Rivers woman says she plans to sue the town for an incomplete building permit.

Sharon Bell told councillors at their October meeting an incomplete building permit has led to a house being built too close to the road in her subdivision. 

“I’m curious why there is going to be a vote on a variance because it won’t make a bit of difference, we are still going to have a lawsuit,” said Bell.

She told council that a building permit for a residential home on Wight Birch Crescent in Lower Montague was approved even though it was incomplete at the time.

The building permit she received, she said, had numbers and distances for the house written in after the fact and not by the people building the house.

Because of that, the house was built too close to the road, shortening the width of the subdivision's road to 44 feet and making the house's driveway too steep for the owners to enter their garage.

“Our subdivision becomes illegal at 66 feet, unless you guys are ready to gives us something in writing that says that we have a legal subdivision at 44 feet, then we can look at something,” she said.

A subdivision can be less than 66 feet from the road, but no less than 50, according to a town bylaw. If it is less than 50 feet, it does not become viable road to the subdivision until it is fixed.

“As it is now, they are too close to the road, they are on the road, and there’s water that is going on to their neighbours' property and washing out the road. It is just a mess,” she said.

“They absolutely had no idea that they were doing anything wrong, that they were building in the wrong place," Bell said about her neighbours. 

"We still have to sue somebody to get them off the road,” she said.

Bell told council she will be suing the Town of Three Rivers and naming the homeowners, who she said will probably sue the council as well.

“We were hoping to avoid all that because this is costing thousands of dollars for legal fees and we are kind of the innocent bystanders because we had nothing to do with the permit or construction. But it is costing us money.”

Survey

Mayor Edward MacAulay told Bell the council had yet to make a decision and was waiting on a survey being done on the newly constructed home.

“Yeah, I don’t understand why you need a survey. A survey was done, (the home) was 11 feet from the property line,” said Bell.

She told council she had already spoken to Three Rivers development officer Gary Smith about the measurements and said at most, the measurements would allow an extra six inches to a foot of space, which wouldn’t amount to any significant change.

“This is thousands of dollars more for something that won’t make a lick of difference. The only thing the variance will do is allow you to wash your hands of this a little bit.”

MacAulay said he hoped council and Bell could work this out and acknowledged the situation must be difficult situation for her.

Twitter.com/Ernesto_Carranz

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