CORNWALL – A 30 minute debate about grandfathering existing driveways was for naught as SDG County Councillors opted to continue with the current driveway bylaw.
The debate, which took place at the August 23 council meeting, saw Councillor Bryan McGillis (South Stormont) advocating for an existing driveway to be restored to its original width in St. Andrews West.
The driveway is one of several that will have the culvert replaced by SDG on County Road 18 as part of a reconstruction project in that village.
Director of Transportation Ben deHaan said that non-conforming driveway widths were legal until work had to be done on the road, then the entrance would have to follow current road standards.
The driveway McGillis advocated for is 8.5 metres wide, the standard is five meters.
Manager of Operations Trevor Baker said that bringing driveway entrances to the proper standard is no different than having to bring a house up to existing code when renovating.
Councillor Steven Byvelds (South Dundas) agreed with McGillis that non-conforming driveways should be grandfathered, characterizing the county actions as “nitpicking.”
But Councillor Jamie MacDonald (North Glengarry) disagreed saying that residents should not pay for extra expense for those property owners who have wider driveways than the standard.
“Things are legal non-conforming until the point where we start to make changes,” he said. “And when we start to make changes we need to conform to the bylaws.”
He cautioned Council that if it approved an exemption for the property McGillis advocated for, more could happen.
“We have one instance here, we could have 30-or-40 more of these instances come up when we are doing roads and I disagree completely with changing [the bylaw].”
Councillor Frank Landry (North Stormont) said granting a “one-off” exemption for a non-conforming driveway was “opening a can of worms.”
At the end of the lengthy debate, a proposed motion for granting a single exemption and directing staff to review the bylaw to address some issues was defeated in a tie-vote.
Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Morrisburg Leader