Wheat off

Wheat off

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Unauthorized fill on properties found to violate zoning and site-alteration by-laws

The Township of Uxbridge went to Court over unauthorized site alterations and contraventions of the zoning by-law concerning property use.  In one case, the alleged alterations had left half of the property unsuitable for agricultural purposes, with that land now being used to store vehicles, equipment and debris from an excavation and haulage business.  In the other case, the allegation was that fill was illegally deposited on a former farm field, converting the field into an "industrial soil screening and mixing operation".  The same respondents were connected to both properties.

The zoning for the properties was "Rural", which allowed for non-residential uses such as "conservation, forestry and reforestation" and "a farm or nursery farm and greenhouse associated therewith".  The evidence of the owner of the properties was that the first property was being used only for residential use and that the second property was being used for a "farm or nursery farm and greenhouse associated therewith".  The Court disagreed, finding that the uses of both properties fell outside of the permitted uses under the zoning by-law.  Storage of landscaping materials and equipment was not permitted as farming or nursery farming.  The Court also rejected the argument that the use of each property should be permitted as a "legal non-conforming use".

On the issue of illegal site alterations, the Court dismissed the Township's application with respect to the first property because it had insufficient evidence to show that any by-law was breached.  With respect to the second property, the Court found that the Township had proven that more than 1,000 cubic metres of soil products were stored on the property in breach of the site alteration by-law.  The Court commented on the evidence:
"However, I do not accept that this is the extent of the soil material on the [G] property.  It is suspicious, to say the least, that [T] first indicated that he was unsure how much soil had been brought onto the property and placed in the "illegally filled area".  He then indicated that it was 240 truckloads, and only after hearing that an amount in excess of 1,000 cubic metres would require Council's approval of the permit, did he revise his application to indicate 880 cubic metres."
Based on its rulings on the zoning by-law infractions and the illegal site alteration, the Court made several injunctive orders restraining the respondents from continuing their illegal uses of the properties.

Read the decision at: The Corporation of the Township of Uxbridge v. Talbot.