Last Halloween I blogged about the ‘haunted house‘ across the street from us. One year later, there it sits a little worse for the weather but otherwise unchanged. I don’t like to be a complainer but I’m tired of looking at this eyesore day in, day out.
Back in early February, I wrote a letter to the town asking for “a reduction in our property taxes for the current year due to loss of property value resulting from the unsightly construction across the street from our home.” I quoted section 35.2 of Land Use Bylaw #461 which states that “The exterior finish of a building in all residential districts shall be completed by October 31st of the year following the year in which the development permit is issued unless otherwise stipulated in the development permit.” In spite of the fact that the deadline had long since passed, I didn’t really expect our taxes to be lowered. I simply wanted to lodge a complaint in a way that might be paid attention to.
It took the town almost two months to respond and when they did we were told that “the detrimental appearance of a neighbouring property is classed as a non-permanent situation and cannot be taken into account for the calculation of the annual assessment value.” We were also assured that the town was working with the property owners and was confident that the problems would soon be resolved.
Five months passed and nothing changed. Then we received written notice from the town that the property owners had applied for a new building permit. Apparently adjacent property owners were being notified because the proposed construction would be built closer to the property line than is normally allowed. We were given 30 days to comment and responded by visiting the town office. We told them that we thought it was ludicrous for them to send out a notice that ignored the fact that the building in question was already half built but also assured them that we just wanted to see the house finished.
According to the new permit application, the proposed completion date was Dec. 31, 2010. We were hopeful, almost excited. Perhaps finally something was about to happen! That was early in September and other than a bit of leveling of the ground around the house, not one thing has changed! The wood continues to deteriorate and the pigeons that have been living in the house for well over a year continue to come and go.
I really don’t want to spend another year looking out on such an ugly view but what choice do I have? According to the bylaw, it would appear that they have until one year from today to finish the exterior!