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Order stands despite 'unofficial meeting' between Stephenville mayor's wife Joanne Rose and council members

Joanne and Tom Rose are seen near their home at 45 Hillier Avenue.
Joanne and Tom Rose are seen near their home at 45 Hillier Avenue. - Frank Gale

Joanne Rose is hoping members of the Stephenville town council who met with her at an “unofficial meeting” on Tuesday now have a better understanding of where she’s coming from.

The meeting followed her and husband Mayor Tom Rose having an order approved at last Thursday’s Stephenville town council meeting and served on Tuesday to cease and desist using the premises at 45 Hillier Ave. for residential purposes within 14 days.

Rose told council members she had taken Section 34 of the development regulations to a meeting with the permit officer and identified she wanted to utilize the regulation that lists accessory use and change her existing accessory garage to an accessory building farm dwelling.

She completed a form called municipal approval for development, which identified a new septic system as a permitted use under existing agriculture and forestry uses. It was taken to a development and planning meeting and approved.

Rose said after council received the complaint in January, it sought a legal opinion based on an accessory building change to residential without a permit, which she said is not the scenario.

She said it’s her understanding the lawyer had an issue with the approval not having the words “farm dwelling” in writing.

“I challenged had it been identified at the time, I certainly would have done so,” Rose said.

She said a lawyer looking back at the process is a lot different than the upfront requirement to have this on the form, with no place to identify it.

Rose informed council the punishment should fit the crime and questioned whether they had looked at other people who didn’t complete permits appropriately.

Deputy Mayor Susan Fowlow said the meeting provided Rose a chance to explain where she was in her thinking and for council to say why it had to take the actions it did.

She said council members wanted to see if there was any new information they should be aware of.

“We recognized where the gap was and without that gap filled, things will have to proceed,” Fowlow said of council’s order.

She said Rose’s understanding of the regulations and council’s interpretation of it aren’t the same.

“The fact is they (Roses) applied for an accessory building and wanted to move it to residential, but there is no permit for that,” Fowlow said.

She said the septic approval was based on a sanitary issue for people having facilities to use while working on a farm a fair distance from the nearest residence.

Fowlow said all permits were given correctly by the town and there were some things requiring a permit the Roses didn’t have – the dwelling part.

Coun. Mike Tobin and Coun. Don Gibbon did not attend the meeting, both saying they didn’t know the reason for it.

Meanwhile, with no changes, Rose said they will put forward an appeal of council’s decision.

The town council is holding a privileged meeting on Friday to further discuss whether there is anything new on this issue.

Joanne Rose’s issues:

My input was not sought before the decision was made on the cease and desist order.

I can’t find an example where eviction was a consequence of not identifying ‘farm dwelling accessory building’ on the permit form.

Two weeks’ notice to eviction does not seem to be in line with three months’ notice, which is the general rule. It is also outside the list of actionable items for penalties in the Municipal Act.

On a personal level my husband is very sick, so I asked council to go back and look at its decision using the new information and not have this hanging over our heads for months as I’m afraid it will compromise his health.

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