Lake Country builder sent back to drawing board at his own cost

Despite mistake made by District of Lake Country staff, council says local builder will pay the whole cost

Lake Country council has gone against a recommendation from its staff and will force a veteran Lake Country builder to go back and alter the construction of a massive house in Okanagan Centre to bring it into compliance with Lake Country bylaws.

That’s despite the fact that the builder—who requested his name be withheld from publication—was erroneously given the OK to build the house from staff at the District of Lake Country (DLC).

DLC staff originally approved plans for the house in Okanagan Centre but after it was built to the framing stage, including shingling the roof, the DLC realized the eave of the home’s roof encroached on the allowable two metre setback from the neighboring property line.

Under DLC bylaws, an eave may encroach two feet into that allowable zone but the district found that this particular eave was encroaching about three feet.

DLC staff told council it shared the blame with the builder, admitting that staff had missed the encroachment in the development process. Planner Mark Koch also said it’s up to the developer to know the current bylaws and stated both parties had made a mistake.

“It’s mind-boggling that we are sitting here talking about a variance on a house that is three-quarters built and now we’re trying to find out what to do with this mess,” said Lake Country coun. Rob Geier.

DLC staff recommended that council allow the eaves to protrude into the setback by the extra foot, which would keep the builder from having to go back several steps in the building process to make the eaves smaller.

“I apologize for putting us all in this position,” the builder told council. “But I paid a fee of $5,000 and for that fee I think I have the right to expect some level of guidance through the process. Your staff obviously failed but it’s a shared responsibility and I’m here to take my share of it. But I don’t believe its fair that I should have the whole burden.”

But council wasn’t in a sharing mood and decided to hold the developer accountable for the mistake, even though staff said not allowing the variance would likely affect staff workload and could be an expensive venture for the developer.

Council denied the recommendation from staff and told the developer he would need to make the changes and pay for them himself.

“To cut a roof off that has already been shingled is not an easy chore,” the developer said.