A pair of waterfront property owners in Peterborough are crying foul.
Claiming City Hall had a secret strategy to keep them from developing their homes which back on to the Otonabee River.
As Jesse Thomas reports the owner of one of the properties has filed complaints against several city staff members.
Dan Ferguson: “I Think it’s time they cleaned house and made sure the tax payers staff were people with integrity and who knew the law and applied it.”
Strong words from Dan Ferguson, a retired Superior Court judge.
In 2014 he purchased this waterfront property at 1197 Armour Road with the intentions of building a modest home along the river.
The original home was in dire need of repair and he says along with the City they agreed the home should be demolished and rebuilt, but Ferguson says he wasn’t expecting the push back he received while trying to secure a building plan
He claims his plans were sabotaged.
Ferguson: “They had a secret strategy not to deal with the matter according to planning law but to simply obstruct my efforts to build a house by making it so expensive and so long and frustrating that I would give up.”
After a lengthy struggle, which included an Ontario Municipal Board appeal , he built the home.
the OMB, ruling in his favour, saying the city and committee of adjustment were applying the wrong rule and agreed to the consent order.
“They were trying to make me comply with a law that was changed over half a century ago but they weren’t going to tell me that–I had to find this out myself.”
In 1972 the City passed a bylaw rezoning the land at Armour Road as Open Space–part of the city’s master plan to eventually turn the area into a public park.
Fergusson: “They’ve had forty years to do that. my house was for sale they could of bought it and so now they are trying to interfere with all the property owners rights who paid for the property.”
Ferguson says he’s had to pay out more than 40 thousand dollars in extra expenses for surveys and environmental studies and lawyers which he says were not warranted. His neighbour Dawson Bick says he went through the same struggle five years earlier before settling with the City prior to his OMB appeal.
Bick: “It was very emotional as it progressed they would stop us at every simple little thing, to get a permit for this and a permit for that and to come back to the committee of adjustment and it was thousands and thousands of dollars going down the drain.
and I am please with my house but it could have been so much more.”
We reached out to city lawyer Patricia Lester but she said it would be inappropriate to comment on the complaints as they are now before a tribunal.
Ferguson filed complaints Tuesdasy against city planning staff and the city’s senior solicitors,
citing professional misconduct and applying the wrong law.
Ferguson says he wants to see those involved disciplined and removed from the planning process to avoid what he calls a miscarriage of justice.
Jesse Thomas, CHEX Newswatch in Peterborough.