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Neighbours upset ‘eyesore’ structure in Charleswood given OK despite lack of permits

A Charleswood resident says he’s upset a neighbour isn’t facing consequences for a massive, newly-constructed ‘eyesore’ of a garage.

The 4,900-square foot building — five times the size that city bylaws allow — is located on Liberty Street, south of Wilkes Avenue.

Despite having no permits or approvals for the project, the homeowner was allowed to keep the property as-is by a city appeals committee, contrary to a public service recommendation.

Mike Maskel, who lives a few doors down, told 680 CJOB’s Connecting Winnipeg he fears the move could set a bad precedent and encourage other Winnipeggers to build without the proper approvals or input from neighbours.

“The building went up… without any stamped approvals, without a zoning variance to alert the neighbours about his intent to build such a structure,” Maskel said. “He essentially put this thing up in short order, almost under cover of darkness.”

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Online permit improvements

Maskel said he’s not the only community member frustrated by the decision.

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“Two or three other neighbours were in attendance at the meeting yesterday, and they’re all equally upset with the way this has transpired.

“While it is not totally visible from the front street, it is visible from the neighbour on the one side, it’s certainly viewable from the back property on Loudon Road, and it does stand out like a sore thumb.

“If you’re going to build something of a nature that contravenes the bylaw, it has to have a building permit, has to have the zoning variances — that’s just the good neighbour thing to do.”

Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood Coun. Evan Duncan says the city doesn’t want to encourage residents to find bylaw loopholes, but his frustration is less with the resident himself and more with the committee that made the decision to allow the garage to remain as-is.

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“I think that this sends the wrong message to Winnipeggers — that essentially you can build a structure and beg for forgiveness after — and if you get the right committee sitting at appeals that it’ll just be given the OK,” Duncan told Global Winnipeg.

“I think unfortunately there is a mentality that ‘the permitting process is too difficult, so I’m going to go about it anyway and if I get caught I end up paying whatever fines’… that’s not the way we want to do business here.”

A big part of the reason the permitting process exists, Duncan said, is to keep residents and the community safe, and he encourages Winnipeggers to continue following the rules.

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Changes to Winnipeg zoning bylaws bringing in federal housing funds

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