Condo by­laws get into the weeds

Toronto Star - - FRONT PAGE - JULIEN GIGNAC AND TAMAR HAR­RIS STAFF RE­PORTERS

An­dre Rocher’s first thought upon hear­ing that his condo build­ing would ban the smoking of mar­i­juana af­ter it’s le­gal­ized was that the move would be “very un­fair” for home­own­ers.

But Rocher has since changed his mind, af­ter think­ing “of those home­own­ers who bought, say, a mil­lion-dol- lar condo or a $2-mil­lion condo, and now their right­ful en­joy­ment of their prop­erty is go­ing to be af­fected.”

Brac­ing for im­pend­ing le­gal­iza­tion of mar­i­juana, con­do­minium prop­er­ties are start­ing to en­act poli­cies around its use. At least one build­ing has es­sen­tially banned smoking pot any­where on its premises, even on bal­conies.

Rocher’s build­ing, OneEleven Con­dos, on Bathurst St. near King St. W., re­cently banned all smoking in com­mon spa­ces, on bal­conies or in­side suites, said condo board pres­i­dent Cur­tis Pri­est.

“It’s not about pre­vent­ing some­one from do­ing some­thing in their suite,” Pri­est said. “It’s about putting in place a le­gal tool that we have to use if is­sues come up in the fu­ture.”

Pri­est clar­i­fied that’s it not a cannabis ban; it’s a ban on com­bus­tion, in­clud­ing to­bacco. Ed­i­bles, for ex­am­ple, would be OK upon le­gal­iza­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to the prov­ince, recre­ational pot, once le­gal, will only be per­mit­ted for use within pri­vate homes. Condo boards can set their own rules around a num­ber of is­sues and board pres­i­dents at OneEleven Con­dos and an­other condo, Emer­ald City One near Don Mills Rd. and Shep­pard Ave. E., say rules re­strict­ing cannabis use are nec­es­sary due to the fact that spa­ces are shared.

“Ul­ti­mately, it’s be­cause we live in a multi-dwelling con­do­minium and we share air,” said Pri­est, who noted the pol­icy is meant to serve as a “solid base­line” once mar­i­juana is le­gal­ized, which is ex­pected to hap­pen this sum­mer. He said the board can then re-eval­u­ate “what makes the most sense for our com­mu­nity.”

Emer­ald City One board pres­i­dent An­dreea Bir­lon­cea said the condo is draft­ing a pol­icy con­cern­ing “odour trans­fer.”

“It’s not a ban on mar­i­juana; it’s a ban on odour,” Bir­lon­cea said.

Toronto condo lawyer Denise Lash said con­dos are mov­ing quickly to limit the amount of smok­ers, ex­pected to spike with le­gal­iza­tion. Right now, pre­ex­ist­ing to­bacco smok­ers, in­clud­ing peo­ple who use med­i­cal mar­i­juana, can strike agree­ments to be ex­empt from new rules.

“Since mar­i­juana is not le­gal yet (un­less for med­i­cal use), the only smok­ers that would be grand­fa­thered now would be to­bacco smok­ers,” Lash said in a writ­ten re­sponse to the Star. “If cor­po­ra­tions wait un­til af­ter mar­i­juana is le­gal­ized, then they would have to grand­fa­ther all ex­ist­ing to­bacco and mar­i­juana users.”

Michael Goldrich, pres­i­dent of Gold­view Prop­erty Man­age­ment, which over­sees about 80 con­dos in the Toronto area, in­clud­ing OneEleven, said the pol­icy is to en­sure that own­ers’ “quiet en­joy­ment is re­spected and (deal with) is­sues with sec­ond-hand smoke.” Unit own­ers can al­ways ask for a meet­ing within 30 days and vote against the rule, Goldrich said.

“My un­der­stand­ing is that the ma­jor­ity of the con­dos are look­ing at mak­ing rule changes,” said Goldrich, who added that the rules can vary by board and are not “writ­ten in stone.”

Naomi Mat­low has been rent­ing at OneEleven Con­dos since Oc­to­ber.

“I would con­sider it the same as how you shouldn’t smoke cig­a­rettes in your unit,” she said.

Mat­low added that, while sound some­times goes through the walls, she’s “never re­ally had a prob­lem with smells.”

Rocher owns his unit at OneEleven Con­dos, and added that he doesn’t think “there’s a per­fect an­swer” or so­lu­tion to what the build­ing’s pol­icy is look­ing to fix. But, he said, there are plenty of odour­less ways to in­gest mar­i­juana.

“If any­body wants mar­i­juana that badly — and they do, I’m sure — there are ed­i­bles.”

TORONTO STAR PHOTO IL­LUS­TRA­TION

OneEleven Con­dos, lo­cated on Bathurst St. near King St. W., for­bids smoking any­where on its premises. “It’s about putting in place a le­gal tool that we have to use if is­sues come up in the fu­ture,” said condo board pres­i­dent Cur­tis Pri­est.

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