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No decisions to change things on Rose decision: Stephenville Deputy Mayor Fowlow

With Coun. Mike Tobin in the background, Deputy Mayor Susan Fowlow is seen at the last regular general meeting of the Stephenville town council.
With Coun. Mike Tobin in the background, Deputy Mayor Susan Fowlow is seen at the last regular general meeting of the Stephenville town council. - Frank Gale
STEPHENVILLE, N.L. —

Deputy Mayor Susan Fowlow said council members wanted to revisit what they had done so far in relation to the order placed on Mayor Tom Rose and his wife Joanne.

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This was after a special privileged meeting of the Stephenville town council on Friday held at noon hour that went into the afternoon.

The order was for them to cease and desist using the premises at 45 Hillier Avenue for residential purposes within 14 days.

She said one of the things council decided was to clarify the steps they had taken in coming to that decision – including the what, where and why.

It’s likely Monday before that will be completed as once she gets it prepared, council members will also need to peruse it.

Fowlow said that’s because there seems to be a lot of misinformation out there.

Meanwhile, she said representatives of the town council will be meeting with Joanne Rose with some questions they’d like her answer and offer some suggestions to her, but Fowlow said she couldn’t elaborate on that at this time.

She said there will be no decisions to change anything council has already done, that it won’t lead to a change in the town’s regulations, but there are things they need answered.

“There is information we feel is still missing that we’d like to have as we move towards the future and what decisions we’ll make then,” Fowlow said.

She acknowledged what she was saying is a little vague but said council must move forward carefully on this issue.

The Roses, of course, have the right to appeal council’s decision and if they do so, while its under review they can continue to reside in the building.

Councillor Mike Tobin

Coun. Mike Tobin said he still stands by his decision at the original meeting when the order was made.

He said it was a very difficult and unpleasant vote to make but from the information council received from Municipal Affairs and the law firm representing the town, which has done work for municipalities for many years, that’s what he based his vote on.
Tobin said he has great respect for Mayor Rose and certain has nothing against his wife Joanne but that council has to follow its regulations and the advice given by the professionals.

Councillor Don Gibbon

Coun. Don Gibbon said it was a tough vote and that council was really acting on information it got from its legal counsel, who are in the position to advise them on such matters. He said its not a position you want to be in, but he voted based on the information presented to council members.

Councillor Mark Felix

Coun. Mark Felix, who was not in attendance at the meeting where council voted on the order, said the issue is much larger than a $5 occupancy permit, and taxpayers need to know that. He said council was acting on a legal opinion and that’s why it moved forward like it did.

He believes the 14-day notice was a little harsh and it should have been a minimum 90 days and he thinks that what it will be if its appealed.

Felix said to him the bigger issue is the fact the premises is not connected to the town’s water and sewer. He said government officials have warned there may be a negative impact on the wellhead protection areas for the towns of Stephenville and Kippens.

He said despite what’s appearing on social media, it’s not council against the Roses, it’s the fact that council can’t turn a blind eye to its regulations.

Couns. Laura Aylward and Maurice Hynes were not able to be reached for comment on Friday afternoon.

History of Joanne and Tom Rose applications:

June 26, 2015 – Roses obtained a permit for an assessor building, namely a “storage building measuring 40-feet by 30-feet on property located north of Hillier Avenue.

July 17, 2015 – Roses applied to the Town of Stephenville for a permit to construct a single-family dwelling on the same property.

Aug. 11, 2015 – Town of Stephenville denied the Roses’ application claiming section 2.3.7 of the Town of Stephenville’s Municipal Plan required the property be connected to municipal water and sewer (such services are not available on Hillier Avenue). Roses appealed this decision to the Western Newfoundland Regional Appeal Board and subsequently to the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador and were unsuccessful on both appeals.

April 6, 2017 – Roses applied to construct a “new construction garage 40-feet by 28-feet” and were granted a permit on April 11, 2017.

Oct. 2, 2017 – Roses applied for a permit to construct a shed 16-foot by 16-foot, which was granted.

Sept. 12, 2018 – Roses applied to Service NL for approval for a new septic system. The Town of Stephenville signed off on this approval on Sept. 12, 2018. The town was advised this approval was to allow the Roses to have a functioning washroom on site for when they are working on their farm.

Jan. 22, 2019 – Roses applied for an occupancy permit, which was not granted.

Source: Town of Stephenville

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