Right or Reasonable: Judicial Review of the Decisions of Bylaw Adjudicators

In Romegioli v. Langley (Township) 2018 BCSC 1867, the B.C. Supreme Court recently had opportunity to judicially review the decision of a bylaw adjudicator upholding over 500 bylaw infraction notices (with associated fees and costs of approximately $270,000) that had been issued to the petitioner, Mr. Romegioli, relating to the operation of a cannabis dispensary. The dispensary caught the attention of Langley for breaches of multiple bylaws relating to operations, renovations and signage.

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BC Courts Deferential to Local Government Decisions Granting or Denying DVPs

In 1139652 B.C. Ltd. v Whistler (Resort Municipality), 2018 BCSC 1806, the B.C. Supreme Court recently reviewed a decision of the resort municipality of Whistler denying a property owner’s application for a Development Variance Permit (DVP). The Court upheld the decision, finding that it was reasonable.

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The Building Inspector’s Toolkit: The Geotechnical Covenant

In Compagna v. Nanaimo (City), 2018 BCCA 396, the British Columbia Court of Appeal has confirmed an earlier B.C. Supreme Court decision that recognized a building inspector’s discretion to request additional geotechnical reports following subdivision approval, at the building permit stage, as being consistent with the intent of section 56 of the Community Charter. Section 56 is a mechanism that local government building inspectors can use to require a geotechnical engineering report when a building or structure is proposed on hazardous lands, for example land at risk of landslide or flooding. The purpose of requiring such a report is to determine the suitability of the lands for the proposed building or structure and to obtain professional  recommendations for conditions necessary to ensure the safe use of the land.

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Home Occupation Regulations Enforced

In Columbia Shuswap (Regional District) v Jones, 2018 BCSC 1776 the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) recently obtained a judgment from the B.C. Supreme Court granting declaratory and injunctive relief against property owners in a case involving a zoning bylaw enforcement and “home occupation” matter. (more…)

Local Government Zoning Powers Eroded By Riparian Rights

Local governments that have zoning regulations in effect over properties adjoining a body of water need to be aware of the British Columbia Supreme Court’s October 1, 2018 decision in Fonseca v Gabriola Island Trust Committee, 2018 BCSC 1684.

At issue in the case was a zoning bylaw of the Local Trust Committee that required that all buildings and structures be sited a minimum of 30 metres from the natural boundary of the sea or other body of water. (more…)

Anchors Aweigh: Local Government’s Jurisdiction over Permanent Moorage of Vessels

In The Corporation of the City of Victoria v. Zimmerman, 2018 BCSC 321, the City of Victoria obtained a statutory injunction to restrain the permanent moorage of boats in the Gorge Waterway, on the grounds that permanent moorage of boats contravened the City’s zoning bylaw.

The respondents challenged the validity of the zoning bylaw, arguing that restricting moorage encroached upon the federal jurisdiction over navigation and shipping under the Constitution Act. In other words, they argued that the City’s zoning bylaw was venturing in unnavigable waters, jurisdictionally.

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Local Governments May Owe a Duty of Care to Process Development Applications in a Timely Way

In Wu v. Vancouver (City) 2017 BCSC 2072, Madam Justice Murray of the BC Supreme Court held that the City of Vancouver owed a duty of care to the plaintiffs, the purchasers of a home in the Shaughnessy area, who had applied for a development permit for the demolition of an existing house and construction of a new house. According to the decision, the City owed the plaintiffs a duty to make a final decision on their permit application, in accordance with the applicable statutory framework, within a reasonable time. Madam Justice Murray concluded that the City was negligent in this case since it acted in bad faith and failed to conduct itself in accordance with the standard of a reasonably competent municipality when dealing with the plaintiffs’ application. (more…)

The Annual Tax Sale Approaches!

Here is a link to our post from last year concerning the annual municipal tax sale:

The Annual Tax Sale Approaches!

New Building Act Regulations

The Building Act General Regulation was amended in February of this year and again in April, and the changes further clarify the impact that the Building Act will have on local government jurisdiction. (more…)

Local Governments, Administrative Tribunals, and the Ongoing Dispute Over the Trans Mountain Pipeline

Administrative tribunals are decision-making bodies that are part of the system of justice in Canada, and the decisions they make can have significant impacts on local governments. The British Columbia Court of Appeal’s recent ruling, Burnaby (City) v Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC, 2017 BCCA 132, confirms that, when interpreting and applying their enabling statutes, certain administrative tribunals can make orders that, in effect, prevent local governments from enforcing their own bylaws. (more…)