Sunroom may stay, council decides


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A Steinbach resident will be able to keep his sunroom provided he upgrades it to meet a structural engineer’s certification, obtains a building permit and pays a fine of $1,000.

At the June 11 council meeting, Ben Toews made the request which would allow him to sell his Chrysler Gate home.

He told council he never meant to build the structure without the necessary permit.

Instead, he started with a deck, checking with the city and learning he didn’t need a permit. That was upgraded to a gazebo and once again he said he checked with the city and was told a permit was not required.

He later added a roof and enclosed the structure.

“We never intended to build a sunroom, we just wanted a roof,” he said. “We enclosed it years later.”

The sunroom also required a variance from the required rear yard setback of 25 feet to 14.15 feet.

Administration offered two precedents to council including a sunroom on Edgewood Street and an addition on Coral Crescent. Council ordered the removal of the sunroom and changes made to the building addition to bring it within the original building permit.

Council did approve this one however, with Coun. Michael Zwaagstra saying it would have been approved had it been applied for before it was built.

“I think in all probability we would be approving it,” he said, also acknowledging the letters of support Toews had from his neighbours and the complete lack of opposition.

But he also stressed that the fine was important.

“It sends the message that we need to do our homework,” he said. “Even though I believe it’s an honest mistake, we need to make it clear that it is far, far, far better to apply before rather than after. It is better to get permission than to ask for forgiveness after.”

Coun. Jac Siemens seconded the motion to approve saying he went to the location and talked to the neighbours. He also cited what he called “positive interactions” with city staff by Toews as he’s worked to solve the issue.

Council voted unanimously to support the motion.

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