Condo owners move to block apartments

A developer currently working on two apartment buildings near the Logan subdivision is in hot water with the condo corporation that controls the property.

A developer currently working on two apartment buildings near the Logan subdivision is in hot water with the condo corporation that controls the property.

Condo Board 95 is seeking a court injunction to force a numbered company controlled by Falcon Ridge Development to stop construction of two four-storey apartment buildings.

All the other condo units in the complex are single-family bungalows.

The board claims that the developer is violating the governing document of the condo board. It stipulates that any land under the board’s control “shall be occupied and used only as a private single-family residence and for no other purpose.”

Under the territory’s Condominium Act, amendments to a condo board’s governing document, or declaration, can only be made with the written consent of all condo owners.

Getting that consent appears to be a lost cause.

In court filings for the injunction, the board produced several emails from concerned residents.

They are worried that the two large multifamily buildings will cast shadows, obstruct views, lead to increased traffic making the neighbourhood dangerous for children and the elderly, increase maintenance and repair costs and lower the value of their properties.

Last week the board asked Justice Leigh Gower to grant it a permanent injunction to stop the construction until the developer follows the declaration and gets the proper consents.

“All (the board) is trying to do is enforce the declaration as it should be,” said Jim Tucker, the lawyer representing the board.

The developer’s lawyer, Gary Whittle, argued that he needed more time to prepare his case, having only been hired 48 hours prior to the hearing.

He told the judge he would be making his own application to the court asking for an order under the Yukon Condominium Act to either amend the bylaws or dissolve the condo board.

Tucker argued that granting an adjournment would be rewarding the developer for flouting the law.

“Every day of continued construction is a refusal by the company to comply with the declaration,” he said.

But Gower was unconvinced by that argument.

He questioned why, if construction started in the summer, that it was such an urgent matter now.

Gower decided to adjourn the case for two weeks.

During the hearing Tucker wasn’t able to explain why it took the condo board so long to ask for an injunction. But, in an interview this week, condo board president Helen Booth said that going to court was a “last resort,” and that the board had tried to work it out with the company.

“The board itself is neutral on the apartment buildings,” she said. “The only thing that we are looking for (the developer) to do is to follow the appropriate process as laid out under the Condominium Cct, which requires that a change to the condo declaration requires consent of all owners”

Before Booth took over, the previous board made several amendments to the declaration without those consents so that construction of several phases could move forward.

Falcon Ridge is a phased development, and under the antiquated rules of the Yukon Condominium Act each phase of a development is considered independently.

The territorial government is currently working to rewrite the act.

Both the company and its lawyer declined to comment, but in an interview last summer, Duncan Lillico, president of Falcon Ridge Development, admitted that condo owners who lived in the first phase of the development weren’t thrilled by the idea of the apartment buildings. But the developer has always been up-front about its plans, he said.

The original development plans called for 45 multifamily units to be built on the land in question. The two apartment buildings now under construction are slightly bigger, with 56 suites in total.

At the request of the condo board, the company moved the buildings a little farther away, and has priced them for a higher-end market.

Technically they will still be condos, but ownership is to be retained by the developer who plans to rent them out. Rents start at $1,800.

There seems to be some confusion among owners about what was going to be built in the final phase of development. While several owners said that they were well aware of the plans to build apartment buildings, others said that they thought it was going to be bungalows or townhouses.

Booth herself only became aware of the plans after she read an article in the News detailing the project.

The case is set to be back in court next Friday.

Contact Josh Kerr at

joshk@yukon-news.com

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