Up in arms

Car­bon­ear res­i­dents pe­ti­tion coun­cil to have va­cant lot cleaned up

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY BILL BOW­MAN

Res­i­dents of Hoyles Road, an up­scale neigh­bour­hood in the north­east sec­tion of Car­bon­ear, are up in arms.

The con­di­tion of a va­cant prop­erty smack in the mid­dle of the street has the res­i­dents see­ing red. Crab pots, a small trailer loaded with more crab pots, fish boxes and wood ( longers and brush) are among the items stored on the va­cant lot at 30-32 Hoyles Road.

John Bishop, a re­tired RCMP of­fi­cer and his wife, Donna live at 26-28 Hoyles Road, right next door and just to the west of the va­cant lot.

From their sun­room and back pa­tio the Bish­ops have a clear view of the va­cant lot, and they don’t ap­pre­ci­ate the view.

As far as we’re concerned, “it’s an eye­sore,” John Bishop told The Com­pass dur­ing a re­cent visit to their home.

“ We can’t en­joy our sun­room and we’ve stopped hav­ing friends over for bar­be­cues,” Bishop says, adding his wife is “ex­tremely up­set and dev­as­tated” by this.

There are 24-25 homes in the Hoyles Road area, and Bishop es­ti­mates most of them would be val­ued in the $ 200,000 to $ 300,000 range.

One of the res­i­dents’ biggest con­cerns is that the con­di­tion of the va­cant lot is de­pre­ci­at­ing their prop­erty val­ues.

Some 98 per cent of the area res­i­dents signed a pe­ti­tion, which was pre­sented to the Car­bon­ear Town Coun­cil last month, ask­ing coun­cil to or­der the owner to clean up his prop­erty.

Bishop feels that’s “ pretty strong sup­port” for their cause.

Pe­ti­tion calls for ac­tion

The pe­ti­tion calls upon the mayor and coun­cil­lors to “ take im­me­di­ate ac­tion and or­der the owner of the va­cant land. . . be­tween 26-28 Hoyles Road (prop­erty of the Bish­ops) and 34 Hoyles Road ( prop­erty of Lewis and O’Keefe) to im­me­di­ately re­move the large fish con­tain­ers, crab pots and other ar­ti­cles from the land and clean up the land of the cut down trees and bushes left in piles around the prop­erty, as this ma­te­rial is caus­ing a fire haz­ard.”

The pe­ti­tion goes on to state: “All of those ma­te­ri­als are ad­versely af­fect­ing the real es­tate value of the sur­round­ing prop­er­ties and is di­rectly in­ter­fer­ing with the law­ful use and en­joy­ment of those prop-

The pe­ti­tion­ers asked coun­cil to “ad­vise the owner of the va­cant lot that he can­not use this va­cant land as a stor­age site.”

Coun­cil or­dered the prop­erty owner to clean up the prop­erty, giv­ing him 14 days to com­ply with the or­der.

Or­der ap­pealed

The owner has ap­pealed the town’s or­der to the East­ern New­found­land Re­gional Ap­peal Board. The board was set up to hear such ap­peals for the Depart­ment of Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs En­gi­neer­ing and Land Use Plan­ning Di­vi­sion.

In a let­ter to coun­cil co-signed by John Bishop and Ben Lewis, who lives on the other side of the va­cant prop­erty (34 Hoyles Road) the res­i­dents said they ex­pected the town, “ not­with­stand­ing Mr. For­ward’s ap­peal of your or­der, to im­me­di­ately act in the best in­ter­est of the ma­jor­ity of the res­i­dents and pro­tect their prop­er­ties and re­move the fish­ing gear etc. per the Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties Act.”

Town Ad­min­is­tra­tor Cyn­thia Davis ex­plained, “no fur­ther ac­tion can be taken by coun­cil un­til the Ap­peal Board hears the ap­peal.” Ac­cord­ing to the pub­lic no­tice of ap­peal, which ap­peared in the Aug. 31 is­sue of The Com­pass, the ap­peal “will be heard in the near fu­ture.”

Other than that, Davis says she hasn’t heard if any date has been set for the ap­peal hear­ing.

Mayor Sam Slade told The Com­pass he un­der­stands “Mr. Bishop and Mr. Lewis are very up­set” by the sit­u­a­tion.

While the landowner’s ap­peal of coun­cil’s or­der has ef­fec­tively de­layed any fur­ther ac­tion on coun­cil’s part, pend­ing the out­come of the board’s hear­ing, Mayor Slade said, “peo­ple use their right to ap­peal, and they have that right to do so.”

Re­it­er­at­ing, “ it’s not that we’re ig­nor­ing the peo­ple of Hoyles Road,” Slade said, “ac­tu­ally we made a de­ci­sion in their favour.” In re­sponse to their con­cerns, “ we (coun­cil) took the po­si­tion we wouldn’t al­low it (stor­age of equip­ment on the va­cant lot) and is­sued an or­der to have it re­moved.” The landowner ap­pealed, “and that’s where it’s to now.” Un­til the board rules, the mayor said, “our hands are kind of tied.”

Jim For­ward, who owns the va­cant lot was out shrimp fish­ing last week and was there­fore un­avail­able for com­ment be­fore The Com­pass dead­line. have the prop­erty cleaned up un­der the Fire Pre­ven­tion Act.

Bishop says he has “noth­ing in the world against the gen­tle­man,” who has the items stored on his lot. “ We just want him to do the right thing, show some re­spect ( for the res­i­dents who live on the street) and find an­other place for it.”

No re­sponse

Bishop says when the owner first told him of his in­ten­tions for the lot last spring, he at­tempted to reach town of­fi­cials but got no re­sponse.

He says he didn’t know any­thing fur­ther un­til he re­turned from vacation in May to find the lot cleared and turned into what he calls a “park­ing lot.” The next thing he knew the fish­ing equip­ment and wood ap­peared on the lot.

Bishop says he was told the equip­ment was stored there be­cause it is a more se­cure place for it than the fish­er­men’s wharf off Wa­ter Street.

Bishop can’t fol­low that logic. The re­tired RCMP of­fi­cer points out: “ That’s what we have po­lice for. That’s what we have courts for and that’s what we have in­surance for.” Be­cause it is lo­cated in a high pro­file area with more traf­fic and vis­i­bil­ity to the pub­lic, he doesn’t un­der­stand what makes the Wa­ter Street lo­ca­tion less se­cure than a va­cant lot in a quiet neigh­bour­hood like Hoyles Road.

At a time when mega projects like the Long Har­bour nickel project are mov­ing into high gear, towns like Car­bon­ear claim they are do­ing all they can to at­tract new res­i­den­tial devel­op­ment.

Bishop says if the gen­tle­man wins his ap­peal of coun­cil’s or­der and the town al­lows him to con­tinue to store such ob­jects on his prop­erty, the move would set a prece­dent that would send the wrong mes­sage to at­tract prospec­tive new tax­pay­ers want­ing to “drop an­chor in Car­bon­ear.”

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