The town of Faro tried to evict two residents from their home without informing them of the court hearing on Tuesday.
The town did its best to inform Angelika Knapp and Eric Dufresne about the hearing, Faro’s lawyer, Lori Lavoie, told the Yukon Supreme Court yesterday.
But scary dogs, missing phone numbers and reluctant RCMP officers got in the way.
The couple, who are facing eviction over a zoning disagreement, contradicted many of the town’s claims about the zany last-minute attempts to reach them during Tuesday’s court hearing.
Dufresne has a phone number in the territorial phone book – contrary to the town’s claims that the couple doesn’t have a phone number.
Their dogs are not loose in the yard, which, according to the town, scared officials enough to keep them in their car when they went to serve the couple a notice of the hearing on Monday.
And it’s unusual the RCMP would have refused to serve the couple with the notice, as the town claims, because the RCMP has done that same task in the past, said Knapp.
The couple only heard about the hearing, which took place Tuesday afternoon, after phoning court clerks in Whitehorse.
If they had missed the hearing, they would have likely been evicted from their home in rural Faro.
The couple asked Justice Leigh Gower for an adjournment until November 30, because they had only received the notice of hearing on the same day of the hearing itself.
Gower granted the adjournment, but advised the couple to apply for a special kind of zoning that may allow them to remain on the property.
If they don’t apply for the special zoning, they could face consequences stemming from earlier court decisions that determined the couple’s home wasn’t in tune with zoning bylaws, said Gower.
A Supreme Court decision in 2009 and an appeals court decision in August 2010 determined that their home, which they purchased in 2002, was not zoned residential.
On September 23, Faro advised the couple’s lawyer they had seven days to apply for a special kind of zoning, called discretionary accessory residential use.
They failed to send in an application because no formal application exists, they said Tuesday.
Faro proceeded to have its petition for the eviction heard by the court.
Last Friday, Faro formally applied for a hearing.
Knapp and Dufresne called the courts after that application was filed.
After Gower sympathized with the couple over the rushed legal shenanigans, he gave the couple another chance to apply for the special zoning designation.
He also admitted that the town doesn’t have a real application process for the zoning.
Knapp and Dufresne now have to write a letter requesting the zoning, he said.
Knapp complained, in court, about the arbitrary nature of the letter.
The couple will have to make the best of a bad situation, said Gower.
Tuesday’s decision was not an order by the judge to apply, however.
The couple can refuse to apply and show up in a month.
But “there may be adverse consequences that will fall upon you,” said Gower, referring to the previous court decisions.
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