VBL council denies refund request

Jeff Rushton requested fee be waived for amended developmental permit

Village council received a request from Jeff Rushton, who had previously been granted a developmental variance permit to build a carport on his property, to amend his variance permit to allow for him to build a garage instead. Rushton also wanted the village to waive the subsequent $300 fee associated with amending the permit due to misinformation he received from council.

According to Rushton’s letter to council, when he initially was granted variance to build a carport, a question came up regarding what would happen if he decided to close the carport and turn the structure into a garage. Rushton claims in the letter that the response from council was that it would be something the building inspector would deal with.

After deciding to in fact change the project from a carport to a garage, Rushton made a call to the local building inspector who gave him confirmation that it was fine to build a garage instead of a carport. A few days later, he received a building permit for a garage and moved forward with the project.

Rushton then received a call a few days into building the garage, that he was not following the variance permit, and that he was only permitted to build a carport.

A garage is a fully enclosed structure, whereas a carport is a structure that has at least two open sides.

Rushton attended the town council meeting on Sept. 28 to plead his case, requesting that the permit be amended from a carport to a garage, and explaining that that council made a mistake in telling him that the building inspector would have authority in changing the carport to a garage, when in fact he would need to apply to amend his variance permit in order to be permitted to do so. Due to the miscommunication, Rushton believed that it was unfair for him to pay $300 fee for amending the permit.

After discussions with council, they acknowledged that there were partly at fault for providing incorrect information during the initial permit request, and apologized to Rushton. However, council also pointed out that Rushton is partly to blame as well.

As someone who works in real estate, he would have been taught this to get his licence, therefore Rushton should have been aware that the building inspector did not have authority to approve a change from a carport to a garage if the initial variance permit was for a carport.

As for Rushton’s variance permit amendment application, council did not approve it and it is now in the application process where notification is given to neighbours to provide comment. They also motioned not to award him the $300 refund due to the fact that Rushton knew that the initial variance permit that was approved for a carport, not a garage.

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Eddie Huband
Multimedia Reporter
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