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Notice puts house addition on collision course with wrecking ball

A Penticton property owner has been ordered to either put his building addition through the proper permit process or tear it down.

Like so many other unsightly or nuisance properties city staff has brought before council in the past two years, the file attached to 229 Scott Ave. is a list of enforcement orders, fines, and lack of response from the property owners.

“If you looked up ramshackle in the dictionary, you might find a picture of this building,” said Coun. Wes Hopkin after seeing photos of the construction.

In this case, the file begins with the construction of an addition last fall without first applying for a building permit. That attracted the attention of the city, and by November, a stop work order was issued, along with an order to apply for a permit by Nov. 30.

A building permit was finally applied for in February 2014, but the cheque bounced two weeks later, and the permit process was cancelled.

Since then, according to records supplied by Ken Kunka, building and permitting manager, there has been no response from the owners despite more enforcement notices, fines and penalties.

The owners also chose not to appear before council last week, when staff brought the matter forward and asked that a notice be put on title for construction without permit, and that city staff be allowed to take further action should the owner not take action.

“There is 90 days now for that property owner to bring that building into compliance, either through demolition or obtaining a building permit through the city,” said Anthony Haddad, director of planning services.

But unlike some problem properties dealt with since the introduction of the “good neighbour” bylaw in 2012, the 229 Scott Ave. file only stretches back nine months instead of the years of orders in some previous files.

Kunka said staff has been working hard to close the historic files over the last 18 months, allowing them to move ahead to more current files. They are also, he said, moving to streamline the process.

“The process we went through a number of times over the last 18 months was quite cumbersome. I want to look at streamlining the process where staff feel that there is an obvious safety concern or unsightly concern,” said Kunka, explaining why he was asking for the go-ahead to take further action at the same time as asking for a notice on title.

“This process we are starting with on this particular address will be streamlined approach, we will be approaching council in one session instead of two and being proactive in sending out the notices beforehand to reduce delays,” said Kunka.

Kunka’s move to speed up the process for dealing with problem properties drew praise from the councillors, who voted unanimously to approve both the notice on title and starting the countdown before the city takes direct action to demolish the illegal construction.

 

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