Appeal against the refusal of an existing front driveway

February 3, 2017 /

On November 29, 2016, I filed an appeal against the refusal of an existing front driveway. On December 14th, I appeared before the Edmonton Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB) in a case that ended in favour of my appeal submission. Here is the general rundown of the issues and outcome of that tribunal.

The case

An application to keep an existing front driveway after the front attached garage was converted into living area was refused by the City of Edmonton development authority.

This single-detached house was originally built with an approved single car front attached garage with a driveway. Later, a rear detached garage was approved and constructed with an access from the lane. The owner requested to convert the single attached garage to living space and to retain the existing front driveway. This application was submitted after the renovation was completed and would grant approvals to existing improvements (sunroom and garage conversion) finished without permits.

The issues

Three issues were outlined in the original refusal to allow the retention of the parking spot. One to do with the driveway; one to do with parking; and a third issue with the landscaping. Here is an description of each issue.

Driveway issue: Section 54.1.5 states “The driveway shall lead directly from the roadway to the required garage or parking area.” The Development Officer determined that the driveway does not lead to a garage or parking area in this case.

Parking issue: Section 54.2.2.e.1 states “parking spaces shall not be located within a front yard.” The Development Officer finds that the parking area is proposed in the front yard of the house and does not consider the legal/non-conforming status of the driveway.

Landscaping issue: Section 55.2.g states “all Yards visible from a public roadway, other than a Lane, shall be seeded or sodded.” The Development Officer identify the asphalt driveway to contravene to this requirement.

The argument

I disagreed with the three sections of the Edmonton Zoning Bylaw contained in the written refusal of the Development Officer for the following reasons:

Driveway issue: The driveway length and width meets the minimum requirement for a parking area, so the intent of Section 54.1.5 is met. The driveway may not lead to a garage but to a proper parking area.

Parking issue: The driveway is legal non-conforming. The variance to Section 54.2.2.e.i was granted with the original approval of the single-detached dwelling.

Landscaping issue :  Again the driveway is legal non-conforming and the variance to the landscaping requirements would have been granted with the original approval. Furthermore, the intent of the landscaping requirements is to maintain and esthetic interface with the street. The existing mature vegetations limit the visibility of the driveway without creating safety issues.

There are no safety issues arising from the use of the driveway and we received no objections from any of the neighbouring property owners. Along the street other garages have been converted and the driveway was retained making thos development consistant with the context.

The decision

It was decided that The appeal would be allowed and the decision of the Development Authority was overturned. SDAB also confirmed that the parking space, as I said, is a legal non-conforming development. Therefore, it may continue to be used as long as it’s not enlarged, added to, rebuilt or structurally altered.

You can see the full decision from the Edmonton SDAB here.