Paudash Lake residents and cottagers have had enough of the “obnoxious noise” from ongoing construction at three properties owned by the same man.
Highlands East council heard from a few property owners yesterday, begging the municipality to stop the never ending construction and landscaping of lakefront properties on Abrams Road and Tiger Lily Lane, and a pit located on a back lot on Tiger Lily Lane.
In an impassioned plea, Jeff Peters, representing a group of property owners on Joe Bay on Paudash, said the excessive and endless noise begins early in the morning and continues into the evening, 7 days a week, and has been happening for more than 7 years.
The group asked Highlands East to not renew the expired construction permit, but put conditions on any extensions; to comply with the existing noise by-laws and stop the devastation of existing properties, and impose strict fines if non-compliant:
“Recommendations for Highlands East to bring back Peace and Tranquility to our neighborhood
1) The Construction Agreement “2018-63” for the 1131 Abrams Road site expired on July 4, 2020, and as such the municipality can set the conditions of any extension to that agreement. We recommend that the extension agreement include the set conditions detailed below which outline a reasonable plan forward considering the impact on the neighbors and the environment. We also recommend an immediate and enforced stop work order until the Owner agrees to all the terms of the extension agreement.
2) We believe that with all the years of noise and vibration generated from his sites that the Owner is clearly not in compliance with your zoning Bylaw No. 2005-29. Based on this non-compliance, we recommend an immediate and enforced stop work order until the Owner agrees to all the terms of the extension agreement.
From the zoning map, we believe the properties in question are zoned “Limited Service Residential”. Please refer to page 17 Clause 3.23. OBNOXIOUS AND HAZARDOUS USES
“Unless otherwise specifically permitted in this By-law, no land shall be used and no building or structure shall be erected, altered or used for any purpose which is obnoxious or for any purpose that creates or is likely to become a nuisance or hazardous or both.
A). By creation of noise or vibration, or,
B). By reason of emission of gas, fumes, smoke, dust or objectionable odour except in the case of agricultural uses operating in compliance with Farming and Food Production Act, or
Please refer to Clause 3.43 (g). PROHIBITED USES. (Page 25)
(G). “Obnoxious uses”
Please refer to Clause 5.124. OBNOXIOUS USE. (PAGE 122)
“Means a use which, from its nature or operation, creates a nuisance or is liable to become a nuisance or offensive by the creation of noise, vibration or by reason of gas fumes dust or objectionable odour, or by reason of the matter, waste or other material generated by the use, and without limiting the foregoing, shall include any uses which may be declared to be noxious or offensive trade or business under Public Health and Promotion Act, as amended“
3) The Municipality updates or creates a bylaw that prohibits the use of personal large landscaping equipment and requires a permit for extensive landscaping work which includes an approved duration.
Here are the recommendations for the support that we need from Highlands East to realistically solve this problem:
As part of the renewal of the Owner’s building permit extension, there is an opportunity for the municipality to set the required expectations and behaviours of the Owner that will meet the long overdue well-being of his neighbours. Our thoughts are as follows:
1) The construction of the new cottage at 1131 Abrams Road, Roll Number: 46-01-101-000-68300-0000 has extended on for so long that the Owner is now in breach of the original Construction and Demolition Contract and the By-Law supporting it (“Construction Agreement 2018-63” was entered into on July 4, 2018 for a period of two years). In addition, the work and incredible amount of landscaping noise on this site have been ongoing for an extensive and unreasonable number of years before this building permit was granted.
2) We absolutely do not support the Owner’s request of a project extension for 2 more years of construction and noise on this site.
3) The Owner should pay the maximum penalty of $50,000 for non-compliance with the existing construction agreement before any extension is granted.
4) The building permit needs to clearly outline the expectations of all the work that requires completing, including the landscaping, driveways, walkways, the completion of the new cottage, the removal of the old cottage, etc. Inclusion of these details are imperative to prevent the applicant from making heavy construction noise that he can claim falls outside of “cottage” construction . This should include a submission and approval of a landscaping site plans as per the recommendations in the ‘Shoreline Preservation Bylaw’ being reviewed by Haliburton County.
5) The Owner agrees to an immediate stop work order and to an enforcement injunction for any work outside of the terms of extension.
6) Under no circumstances do we support construction during the summer of 2021.
7) Extension of the construction agreement for this and future properties must address the on-going harm to the neighbours caused by the obnoxious noise from the cottage construction and landscaping, including the noise from the continued operation of heavy construction equipment. The only purpose of this equipment is for the significant alteration to the landscape. The long-term use of this equipment is not appropriate for the reasonable noise expectations of a tranquil cottage lake setting and has been making life a misery for other residents. The Owner, including all family members agree:
a) to no longer use heavy equipment on any of their properties after the May 31st, 2021 extension deadline
b) that all landscaping work at any of their properties will only proceed after the submission and approval of landscaping site plan(s) as per the recommendation in the ‘Shoreline Preservation Bylaw’ currently under review by Haliburton County.
8) Severe penalties (e.g. $100,000+) for non-compliance with any of the terms of the extension agreement. There must be significant (escalating) fines for subsequent non-compliance.
9) If all the above terms are agreed upon, then we recommend granting an extension of the building permit from Fall 2020 to May 31st, 2021. If construction is not complete by May 31st, 2021, then the Owner will pay the designated penalty as stipulated in (8), stop all work, and apply for another extension.
Regarding the use of heavy equipment, we further recommend that Highlands East endorse that:
1) Only professional landscapers can use heavy equipment and all landscaping projects require a permit as per the recommendation in the ‘Shoreline Preservation Bylaw’ being reviewed by Haliburton County.
Bylaws are put in place for the overall well being of the community. No individual should expect, or be allowed to, have his/her interests unreasonably infringe on the best interests of his/her neighbours and community. That is the primary purpose of the bylaws and the expectations of a cohesive community.
It is the responsibility of our elected and government officials to create, update, and enforce bylaws that support the well-being of the community. This is not currently the case for these properties, and so we call upon all our councillors and regulators to stand up for their constituents and prevent further abuses by taking immediate and effective action. They should not hesitate to take legal advice and legal or bylaw action if necessary.
The comprehensive Paudash Lake Management plan states: “Our vision for the future of Paudash Lake is… A place where water quality, wildlife habitat, natural beauty, recreational opportunities, and peace and tranquility are maintained and improved for present and future generations to enjoy.” This is a wonderful vision for Paudash Lake that was agreed to by all stakeholders. The issues being raised today should be concerning to everyone given that they threaten every aspect of this vision.
None of us come up to the cottage to engage in conflict with a neighbour who has no regard for the common well- being of other residents around him, the bylaws, regulations and/or agreements with the Municipality.
To reiterate an early point, the neighbours in this area of Joe Bay have tolerated this for years. They are not being unreasonable; they have been and are still being more than reasonable. The ability to tolerate the situation expired a long time ago.
Enough is enough and action needs to be taken to restore the peaceful enjoyment of this wonderful place, and to bring harmony to our neighborhood on beautiful Paudash Lake.
Quoting from the Owner’s own letter of praise for Mayor Burton:
“Great leadership is not easy today and it takes someone with a strong vision and character to do what’s good for the overall community”.
This is what we hope and expect from all of you.”
Council had no questions or comments, but voted to accept the report.