Brampton orders monster home torn down

The city may itself have goofed in allowing a 6,600-square-foot house in a neighbourhood of more modest homes, but it now wants it demolished.

The owner of a 6,600-square-foot monster home being built in Brampton has had his building permit revoked and has been ordered to demolish the structure, even though the city may be responsible for an “error” that allowed the construction.

“A technical discrepancy” may have allowed the building permit that led to the partial construction of the towering home, staff explained. Acting planning commissioner Dan Kraszewski updated councillors at Monday’s planning committee meeting.

The structure dwarfs the 1,400- to 2,000-square-foot bungalows and side-splits that surround it, and has set off a city-wide debate about what size of homes should be allowed in established neighbourhoods.

Kraszewski read out three other options now facing Ahmed Elbasiouni. To avoid demolition he has 20 days to appeal the permit’s revocation to the Ontario Superior Court; he can try to get another permit under a new application; or he can take his case to the city’s committee of adjustment.

Contacted by the Star, Elbasiouni said he doesn’t know yet what he’ll do; as to who or what produced the error, he said, “It doesn’t seem to be 100 per cent clear to anyone.” Elbasiouni has insisted all along that he did nothing that wasn’t allowed in the permit he received.

A meeting between city staff and Elbasiouni is scheduled for Tuesday, and a written report clarifying the error and whose fault it was will be presented to council Wednesday. Under provincial building regulations, a permit issued in error can be revoked, staff explained. What’s unclear is who made the error.

“I don’t care whose mistake it is — we’ll know more on Wednesday,” Regional Councillor Elaine Moore, who represents the ward where the structure stands empty, told the Star. “But I think it is an error to allow that building to continue standing in that neighbourhood.”

Councillor Grant Gibson, who represents the ward, agreed. “If there was an error, he has a right to appeal. His intent was clearly to demolish (without a demolition permit). His intent was not to follow city rules.”

Elbasiouni’s original building permit was to add on to the existing bungalow that used to stand at the site. But he said it had to be demolished, even though he had no permit for that, because its foundation walls proved to be unsafe.

After a stop-work order last summer, he applied for the current permit, which was approved and issued in August. According to the drawings shown to the Star by Elbasiouni, the structure’s footprint seems to be in accordance with the 6,600-square-foot home detailed in drawings that are clearly stamped and signed by city building department staff. Councillors have suggested the structure is far bigger than what was allowed — particularly the height, which was capped at 10.6 metres.

The stop-work order issued by the city last month will remain in effect until Elbasiouni decides what he will do. Moore told staff that residents start calling her office and city hall as soon as any activity on the site takes place. Staff said the only thing allowed currently is routine property maintenance such as snow removal.

With all the attention the story has generated, residents across the city have voiced frustration over what many say is a trend in Brampton. Two weeks ago, staff acknowledged that the city’s own lax zoning bylaws are responsible for such monster homes, even in older neighbourhoods where they stand surrounded by much smaller houses.

In response, council passed a temporary bylaw, which comes into effect next month, that will limit any future construction to just 15 per cent more square footage than the existing structure.

Source: Toronto Star

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