Quebec Superior Court has ordered the demolition of a sumptuous Gatineau, Que., home that was built too close to the road, with the city required to foot the bill.
In a ruling last week, the court quashed a July 2014 city council resolution that had granted the homeowner an exemption for the home valued at nearly $3 million. The ruling is the latest twist in an eight-year battle over the property in the city’s Aylmer borough.
The ruling describes how the home’s owner, Patrick Molla, had thought everything was in order when he was granted permits to build in May 2013. That September, the city discovered the permits had been issued in error, but it never ordered the owner to cease construction. Instead, the ruling says, Molla was told the issue would be resolved with an exemption, and in February 2014 the family moved into the house.
Neighbours, however, complained about the property, saying it didn’t fit with the rest of the neighbourhood and contravened a bylaw because it was not far enough from the street. The bylaw at issue states homes must be at least 15.67 metres from the street, instead of the seven metres for the home in question.
Gatineau city council tried to fix the mistake by adopting a resolution in July 2014 ordering a “minor” exemption, but that was nullified in this week’s court ruling. In a 51-page decision, Justice Michel Deziel sided with the neighbours who sought to have the exemption declared illegal, alleging it was an abuse of power and a disguised zoning change.
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