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danapop

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hello,

As some of you may be aware, I have been following this issue closely since the spring of last year when we heard an appeal at the subdivision development and appeal board.  As I wrote in the SDAB decision, the majority of issues Craig has faced, including an environmental study, is well outside the juridisction and scope of SDAB.  

Watching this unfold, I have a legal question that has been bugging me...

Since Craig has been dealing with this issue with the 80's with the city and former owners was their not grounds for Craig to file a lawsuit against the former owners?  

I guess, I am unsure of liability here.  If the city does approve funds to perform the environmental study, does that automatically hold the city liable for reclamation if needed?

While it certainly looks like the city could or should have done more to stop the operation of the seemingly commercial garage, would a more appropriate action been to bring a suit against the former owner or seek an injunction from the courts?
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Head Honcho

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Reply with quote  #2 
Seems to me the city is already liable for any costs given they issued the permit for a commercial building there in the first place.
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danapop

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Reply with quote  #3 
The city absolutely did not issue a permit for a commercial building.

The city issued a DP for the garage which was within spec. The owner chose to use it commercially.
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Murray Lambert

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Reply with quote  #4 
Well isn't that just dandy! So the City issues a permit for a residential garage or whatever its's called but despite being told numerous times over many years that the property owner was operating a commercial auto repair business at that location, they did nothing about it. Sounds like the current bunch is following in the same footsteps as their predecessors. If such continuing total negligence doesn't make the City "bloody well liable" what does?????  The whole damn thing is absurd!!!!!  [mad][mad][mad]
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danapop

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Reply with quote  #5 
Is that what I said?

I'm asking if appropriate action would have been to sue the former owner.

Or maybe Craig needs to a really file a lawsuit against the city
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EnoughAllready

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Reply with quote  #6 
It's seems like knowing there is an ongoing issue and doing nothing about it would put some liability on the city.

Is it not the cities responsibility to, at the end of the day, look after its citizens well being in a case like this?
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theskeptic

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Reply with quote  #7 
Dana:  Do you know the actual requirements for obtaining a permit to construct this garage 30 years ago?  Specifically ... did the applicant have to submit drawings or plans of the proposed structure?  

It seems that if the application was for a residential 2 door garage ... and the plans showed a concrete block structure, flat roof, and a concrete storage tank for fluids under the floor ... a bit of a red flag as to the intended use would have surfaced.
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OMG

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Reply with quote  #8 
Doesn't the city check on the completed structure when it is complete.They are always in your face about other stuff...like dog licenses....they come a knocking at doors. Sue the city!!! Why should Craig use his money to bring suit against the owner. It is the fault of the city not is. Dana have you ever brought suit against anybody? It is a hassle, time consuming and expensive. Who wants that noose around their neck?
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Steve Stone

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Reply with quote  #9 
... and cost a lot of cash too! Anybody out there would like to help me financially with my Lawsuit against mayor Crouse? All contributions will be most welcome.
Text me at 780 257 1775
All donations and contacts will be kept confidential.
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Mark Cassidy

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Reply with quote  #10 
Since this may be a health concern it may be valueable to seek further application or even city inquiry through local health authorities as an alternative on a recommendation but for direction on a resolution.I would also seek further direction to an ombudsman to which is a neutral source of support towards public concern in obtaining direction on this matter.This seems to be a long outstanding dispute that the applicant may have exhausted these avenues.I can't say they will find a remedy but they may help in a quicker less costly remedy for all parties concerned including the community as a whole.
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Craig

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Reply with quote  #11 

Dana  I have a copy of the SDAB decision.  As Chairman of the SDAB hearing I attended you were well aware of my 72 page, 45-minute presentation. 

In November 2016 I voiced my very real concerns in a 5-page impact statement.  This statement was sent to the Mayor, the City Manager and all the City Councillors.  Only three Councillors contacted me expressing their concerns.  The silence from the rest was deafening. 

I have written confirmation that two Councillors approached the City Manager to take appropriate action regarding my concerns.  He refused. 

As the chairman of the SDAB and as a concerned citizen at the February 17, 2016 hearing, why did the Board not direct the city to deal with and correct this long-standing issue?

On the original advice of the Mayor I have presented my concerns to City Council regarding these issues on 4 occasions in the past 12 months.

The result:  the city has offered me $5,000.00 towards a Phase 2 Environmental Assessment, which may cost $20,000.

As a long-standing citizen why is the city not protecting my family and myself?

If the issues (building and environment) were next to your backyard would you not want the city to protect and support you?

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danapop

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Reply with quote  #12 

Hi Craig,

Yes, I was the Chairman of the hearing and did write the decision.  I will leave it to you to post if you wish here.  It is a matter of public record, but I don't keep copies of my decisions - legislative services does.  

There are a few items I need to address in your posting starting with:

"As the chairman of the SDAB and as a concerned citizen at the February 17, 2016 hearing, why did the Board not direct the city to deal with and correct this long-standing issue?"
As I stated in the hearing (even during your presentation), during my oral ruling and in my written decision, almost everything that you presented was unfortunately outside the scope of the board and outside our jurisdiction.  We are bound by legislation with respect to what we can and cannot do.  The only thing that we were able to hear and rule on during the appeal was the fact that the garage was at most 6" to close to the property line. The garage as build and as presented to all allowable dimensions as listed in the land-use bylaw.  The fact that this was being used as a commercial garage prior to the sale of the property was irrelevant to the hearing because we can only rule what is on the development permit appeal. In fact, the cities development officer was well within her rights to approve the variance without sending it to the board because the variance required was well less than 25%.  

When the board makes a decision on a variance, our litmus test is whether granting the VARIANCE will materially affect the use, value or enjoyment of a neighboring property.  So, the question we need to ask ourselves is whether allowing a structure to be 6" closer to the property line will materially affect the use, value or enjoyment of your property.  The answer is no, allowing a 6" variance will not further affect the property value, use or enjoyment.  R1 Districts allow for detached garages of a specified size and shape and must be 1.5m from the property line.  As a detached garage is a permitted use (not discretionary), the fact that the garage exists is outside the jurisdiction of the board.  If the garage had build built exactly as it is now, just 6" further away - there would never have been an appeal.  

While I cannot speak for the board (nor do I), it was a difficult decisions for us to make.  The history of what has happened over the preceding three decades is unacceptable.  Our hands were unfortunately tied.  There is no way that we could have denied that appeal.   Councillor MacKay called me after the hearing was over and we discussed this and I did say to him that any ruling on an environmental study is outside the boards jurisdiction and we cannot include it in the decision but it was something worth exploring via other avenues.  

"As a long-standing citizen why is the city not protecting my family and myself? // If the issues (building and environment) were next to your backyard would you not want the city to protect and support you?"

I absolutely 100% fully agree with you.  The city should be protecting you and your family.  That was in no way the intention of my post.  To be blunt, you have been railroaded and given lip service for 30 years.  Period.  The city failed you a long time ago.  The point of my position was to ask a legal question from people here (TheSkeptic being a former lawyer).  The city didn't do anything to help you 20 years ago.  Would it not have been easier for you to get a ruling or injunction if you filed a suit against the former owner 20 years ago? That was the point of my post.  If it came across as me defending the actions of the city in anyway, I do apologize - that was not my intention - not in the least.  

The second part of my question was about who is liable for what?  The former owner is dead.  I am assuming the estate has been closed, so there is really no way to explore that avenue.  So if the city pays, are the automatically liable for reclamation?  Again, it was a question to seek clarification only.  I suspect that the answer is yes which is why it is going to be an uphill battle to get the funds for the environmental study approved in totality.  The city is going to attempt to protect itself.  And yes, I agree there is probably some liability on apart of the city for not doing more to enforce the closer of the garage, but the previous owner is one who ran the illegal operation and he should have been held accountable years ago.  

Finally, the last thing that I would like to clarify is that the city did not approve a commercial building.  While I do not have the original development permit in my hands from the 80s but even in todays land use bylaw the specifications for a detached garage in an R1 Land Use District do not specify build materials.  It outlines maximum measurements and required setbacks.  So if drawings for this garage were submitted to the city and it met the dimension requirements and setbacks, there would be no reason for the city to not approve the garage.  But, to call it a commercial building is incorrect. The owner build a horribly ugly garage that met the residential dimensions and setbacks of the day and chose to use it for a commercial purpose (illegally).  It might seem like semantics, but its not.  There is a very big difference.  

Craig, in closing, know that it was a difficult decision for the board to approve but we really had no choice.  I personally want to see some resolution for you and some closure and I started to thread to ask about a few lingering questions I had that I did not know the answer to.  My intention was NOT to defend the city in anyway.  Again, if it came across like that, I do apologize.

Sometimes it is hard to articulate everything clearly here.  If you need clarification on the decision making process or anything I posted, feel free to call me anytime.  780.995.8581

Best,
Dana


Please excuse any typing errors, I just had carpal tunnel surgery and typing is not so easy right now.

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danapop

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Reply with quote  #13 
(DELETED / DUPLICATE POST)
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Craig

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Reply with quote  #14 

Thank you Dana for taking the time to respond to my post.

I have again read the SDAB decision and fully understand the rationale for the outcome. It’s unfortunate that I was unable to demonstrate further negative impact that a 5.9” variance (at its maximum) would cause. This whole 30 plus year issue has had a negative impact.

The SDAB decision also states there is sufficient evidence presented that there is a property devaluation due to the presence of the garage. City Council by the way of a Land Use Bylaw has determined this devaluation to be acceptable. Acceptable to who?  Is 20% acceptable? That’s what we have been told by several experts. If the land is contaminated the value would be negative.

We have been stonewalled by the city since the early 80”s.

 There are too many examples of the stonewalling to list here but I will give you a few:
February 20, 1986 – Then Mayor Fowler sent me a letter stating we have records of my complaints received by the city prior to this date. They will make renewed and concentrated efforts to do whatever is necessary to clean up this situation. Nothing was ever done.

 April 14,1986 –  In a letter to Mayor Fowler I told him the following,

By Law Officer___________ has been telling us for 2 ½ years that he knows what is going on but nothing can be done.  He was correct  again nothing was done.

Below are some of the statements Mayor Crouse has made regarding this issue.

 July 26,2013 – I received an unsolicited email from Mayor Crouse, with only 1 sentence,

“By the way that is quite the imposing building. Wow”.

September 19,2015 - Email from the Mayor to Senior City Administration.

“Regarding 80 Salisbury Ave residential auction sale of contents

I dropped by this sale on Saturday  -  quite the place”  During this auction the Mayor came to my house, knocked on the door and said he has seen the garage and he is going to reopen this file. Again nothing happened.

May 22,2016 – I asked the Mayor in an email why all discussions regarding this issue are “In Camera”.  His response, “You asked for the reason and the reason relates to land and land values”. Yes his land values, he owns 86 Salisbury. (Pecuniary interest)

January 5,2016 – On several occasions we provided proof to the city that an illegal vehicle repair business was operating. We received a letter from then City Manager Mr Draper stating, that the city records indicate no license was ever granted for such an operation at this location.

April 5,2016 – The city offered to have a Phase1 and 2 Environmental Assessment on the new owners property. He refused. The city offered to provide $5,000 to us for a Phase 2 knowing it will cost upwards of $20,000.

Why is the city discriminating against us?

There are far too many other examples of city stonewalling to mention here.

Throughout this whole issue, we have been upfront, fair and completely honest with the city.

Why can they not treat us in the same manner?

 

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EnoughAllready

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Reply with quote  #15 
What a sad situation.

If only enough people actually knew the extent of this.

It's very disappointing.
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Murray Lambert

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Reply with quote  #16 
While I truly appreciate the sentiments of 'EnoughAlready' regarding '80 Salisbury' the words "sad" and "disappointing" barely begin to describe the gravity and depravity of the situation. In my presentation to City Council last Monday (02/06/17), I left off referring to the whole matter as it has unfolded over the decades as a "travesty" which in itself is inadequate. I trust it would be the opinion of any rational and decent human being that the extremely unethical gross negligence of successive city councils and administrations (including those currently in office) falls just barely short of being criminal.
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EnoughAllready

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Reply with quote  #17 
I am in no way making light of this situation. The fact it is seemingly being ignored by the Gazette disturbs me. Who the hell knows about this other than the people that have made it a point of interest.

The Gazette does one or two stories and that was it. No Edmonton Journal coverage? No television coverage?

How bad does this need to get before someone cares?
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OMG

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Reply with quote  #18 
The amount of money that this council/city spends on $##t projects and they cannot do the right thing and give Craig his due. I will bet if this was Crouse's home there would be action pronto. We have money for a healing garden...thousands,  for a ridiculous road to nowhere/roundabout...millions but nothing to heal this family. I am ashamed of St Albert. And shame on the media. Bees and chickens get more of councils time.

Time to protest!!!!!!
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Murray Lambert

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Reply with quote  #19 
I am sorry if 'EnoughAlready' believes that I was suggesting that he/she was making light of the '80 Salisbury' issue as I had no such intention and apologize for any misunderstanding that may have resulted. What I was trying to convey was that there are few if any words that would describe the situation too strongly.

OMG's suggestion of it being "time to protest" is right on the mark but to whom? It is all too obvious that we are dealing with individuals who seem to lack a social conscience!
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Steve Stone

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Reply with quote  #20 

Thank you Dana, for your very well thought-out and clear post a couple days ago (post #12). My comments below are meant as an offshoot from yours and in no way a challenge to your good and valid points.

Here are some other considerations:

(1)    Working within a legal framework does not guarantee or necessarily address ethics on a wider scope. Acting within the boundaries of the Law, do not necessarily make our actions good, just or ethical.

(2)    The plans for the garage met all specifications of the Law, but it should have been obvious that the design of the structure was Commercial/Industrial and not Residential. Even if the design was within the limits of the Law, any informed person with common sense (what’s that?) would raise a 'red flag’ for further investigation.

(3)    If it still passed all scrutiny at the design approval stage, because of its suspicious Commercial/Industrial design, the finished garage should have been subjected to a thorough inspection to certify compliance. At that point the underground concrete tank would have been discovered. The tank’s connection to the City’s sewer would have also been discovered.

(4)    In all likelihood, the tank was not included in the approved drawings (would be interested in finding out if they were). Because of the material, size and configuration of the tank, the odds are it would have been installed before the finishing of the garage, which means it would have been discovered at the inspection.

EDIT: Points 5, 6 and 7 removed as they contained unfounded allegations. Please, no more. - HH

This is yet another sad scandal that we have to be subjected to. This one, along with so many other unjust (legal but unjust) actions by those responsible for serving the citizens and residents, make me ashamed to be proud of our City. Let us work together to stop this unending spiral downwards – the same kind of vortex you see when you flush the toilet. Let’s get serious in working diligently in restoring our broken City.

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Swallow1

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Reply with quote  #21 

@Steve Stone "(3)    If it still passed all scrutiny at the design approval stage, because of its suspicious Commercial/Industrial design, the finished garage should have been subjected to a thorough inspection to certify compliance. At that point the underground concrete tank would have been discovered. The tank’s connection to the City’s sewer would have also been discovered."


Ahhhhhh...now you're expecting people to do their jobs?

With respect to "legal but unjust"  - IMHO - there are at least THOUSANDS of issues that might have been considered "small" - and grown exponentially over the years.

Also, as much as I'd like to donate to your cause, I must admit that we're STILL PAYING for the work of some Rat B@stards down at city hall!

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theskeptic

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Reply with quote  #22 
Swallow 1:  You said: " Also, as much as I'd like to donate to your cause, I must admit that we're STILL PAYING for the work of some Rat B@stards down at city hall!"

Possibly you could explain how the fact that you have to pay taxes relates to an application to have ******************************************************.  

EDIT:  - HH
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theskeptic

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Reply with quote  #23 
Quote:
Originally Posted by theskeptic
Swallow 1:  You said: " Also, as much as I'd like to donate to your cause, I must admit that we're STILL PAYING for the work of some Rat B@stards down at city hall!"

Possibly you could explain how the fact that you have to pay taxes relates to an application to have ******************************************************.  

EDIT: - HH


HH:  Since I simply made a statement of FACT I.E. that Stone was bringing an Application to have a councillor held accountable for breaching provisions of the MGA  .... THAT IS SIMPLY AN ACCURATE STATEMENT OF WHAT IS IN THE ORIGINATING APPLICATION .... try to get a hold of your paranoia.
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danapop

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Reply with quote  #24 
Warmodel - could you try posting in a relevant thread?  This has nothing to do with 80 Salisbury...
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Swallow1

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Reply with quote  #25 
Quote:
Originally Posted by theskeptic
Swallow 1:  You said: " Also, as much as I'd like to donate to your cause, I must admit that we're STILL PAYING for the work of some Rat B@stards down at city hall!"

Possibly you could explain how the fact that you have to pay taxes relates to an application to have ******************************************************.  

EDIT:  - HH


Hi HH - I'm referring to a sunroom that had to be dismantled and the city council member whose nose got bent out of shape and cost us $5000 (fine), when his "star witness" denied everything he claimed could be corroborated, AND the lawyer who didn't bother to check with the city because they never made a mistake AND FURTHERMORE decided not to withhold the $$$ to ensure a compliance certificate was even available!   AND AB1 Call not being able to locate the "HIDDEN" pipes where pilings were to be installed. 

AND FINALLY, the Rat B!tch who took our money and left the country.

AND YES, we're still stupid enough to stay here and pay out more taxes so El Kabong can fill up more shoeboxes full of expenses.
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