Oak Bay council voted to register a notice of bylaw violation on the Land Title and Survey Authority registry for two Oak Bay homes on Tuesday.
It was the second straight council session that council enacted their right to register an Oak Bay home with Land and Title after condoning a homeowner for a non-conforming shed on Sept. 30. The next step in enforcement, should council so choose, is to take the homeowners to court.
Council voted unanimously to register a notice on the 1587 Monterey Ave. land title for covering the “entire front yard” with gravel and stones. The owner was not in attendance to defend their reasons for infringing on Bylaw 3531, which states only 25 per cent of a front yard may be covered in pavement, gravel, interlocking bricks and similar materials.
Coun. Esther Paterson noted the homeowner paid a lot of money for something that doesn’t comply.
Bruce Anderson, director of building and planning, said the hope is that Oak Bay can expect people make themselves aware of bylaws when undergoing work, especially with a contractor, and particularly in this case.
“You can’t expect to cover the entire front yard with gravel,” Anderson said.
The owner of 2023 Newton Street, Nick Jacquet, was in attendance and did attempt to defend a pair of alleged bylaw infringements. Jacquet had been issued a stop work order for a non-conforming staircase and a notice for illegal use of a secondary suite.
Jacquet took particular offence to his house being called a “rooming house,” admitting that while there were separate tenants living downstairs, he was living upstairs with friends of the family.
However, it was the second time in five years the house was before council regarding the issue of an illegal suite. It was brought to Oak Bay Fire’s attention in 2014 when they attended a small fire at the property. At that time, Jacquet avoided any enforcement as council was considering the rental stock and was awaiting the current Official Community Plan, which was then in progress.
This time, Anderson noted, there was a history with the property, that a work permit had expired, that non-compliant work was done on the house and that there was an illegal suite in the residence. It was based on these grounds that council voted unanimously to register the notice of non-compliance on the title.
It was also noted that the windows of the downstairs suite, which Jacquet claimed are original from the house circa 1948 construction, do not open and therefore do not comply.
“This is why we need to permit secondary suites so that we can create bylaws for them,” said Coun. Cairine Green.