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Narrow lots presenting challenges in Qualicum Beach

Property owners in Qualicum Beach with a very narrow lot will not have to undo recent renovations nor will they receive a Land Title notice against their property.

This was after a town staff recommendation failed at a council meeting Monday night.

Property owner Connie Heringa tried to convince the town Monday night not to file the notice against the title. She said she and her husband had completed some renovations, but because the home encroaches outside the property lines, only upkeep and maintenance was allowed.

The property lines are the only the width of about 12 feet and it is "not buildable" said Luke Sales, director of planning, at the meeting. However, variances were issued for the home at 2925 Island Hwy W, and others like it in the area, before the Heringas bought the property. Heringa didn't know her home was outside the property lines — she revealed later in the meeting — she thought the property lines were simply the building envelope.

In order to do any structural work or changes to the overall footprint of the home, a building permit is required. However it's not possible for the town to issue a building permit for work occurring outside someone's property, because that contravenes the town's building bylaw, Sales said.

"You can't reconstruct a roof of a different shape without a building permit," he said.

Sales said the notice that would be put on the home, should the motion have passed, would simply notify future purchasers about the issue, and he said it was not a punative action.

Coun. Mary Brouilette said she was in awe of the whole issue.

“It looks to me like they did improvements on exactly the same footprint that they had,” she said, “I don’t really understand what the big fuss is.”

Coun. Scott Tanner moved staff’s recommendation to register the notice with the Land Title Office, but there was no seconder and the motion failed.

Sales said there are several properties adjacent to this one where the property lines are narrow and where the house encroaches on both sides of the property.

“This is certainly not the only case where we may be dealing with this situation,” he said.

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