Here we go again! The City wages war on Scarborough homeowners. The following news story was on CTV News http://toronto.ctvnews.ca/video?playlistId=1.1926795#1.815892.
It seems the City is redoing the curbs on Marta Avenue and has decided to not allow a ramp on the portion of the driveway that has been deemed “illegal” or “not to code” regardless of how long the driveway has been that size. Several home owners now have spray paint on their driveway where the City wants them remove that portion of asphalt and replace it with sod. The result is frankly an eyesore, an added expense and a huge inconvenience for Scarborough homeowners.
The homeowners are justifiably upset by the fact that a neighbouring street had the same curb restoration done last year and none of the homeowners lost the use of the driveway portion deemed illegal.
There are so many reasons that this is just plain wrong! We at Northland Paving have been told by the Zoning Dept. at City Hall that these driveways would be “grand-fathered” and allowed to remain. Of course the Right-of-way-Management Dept. (who controls the City owned portion of the bottom of your driveway on your side of the sidewalk) will not allow it, no matter what. We are unsure why they are so bothered with this part of the driveway in Scarborough. We have yet to receive any pushback elsewhere in the City of Toronto for this.
The reasoning given by the City is flawed. They will say it has to do with water drainage yet the homes in Scarborough that are targeted have more than enough green space for this to matter. In fact, if permeable pavers are allowed to be used in this illegal area the water absorption would be greater than the replacement sod. They say a walkway would be acceptable in this space but it is not the case, our clients have been forced to raise existing adjacent walkways or install curbs alongside of the walkway (but everything must remain flush with the sidewalk on the city owned portion of your walkway so as not to be a trip hazard or interfere with the snow plows) . This is to insure you don’t park on this area and without regard to those in wheelchairs or walkers.
Most of the houses in central Scarborough were built in 1950’s – 1960’s on large 50 – 60 foot lots. Our automotive needs were different back then as the City was smaller and most families only required one car therefore houses were built with one garage. This is really where the issue lies. The rules in Scarborough will not permit your driveway to be larger than your garage door. As the City has grown based on highway development and not subway development and times have sure changed, most households need to rely on more than one car per family.
The only way to get around this legally would be to reconstruct the house and build a 2 car garage. As drastic as this seems, you would legally be allowed to have a wider driveway. If you knocked down the entire street and replaced those 50 – 60 foot lots with smaller semi’s or townhouses you would be hard pressed to find much green space at all for the water run-off. It seems that water run off can’t really be an issue after all.
At the end of the day, why should the City really care about the size of your driveway? As long as it is well maintained, sized tastefully leaving adequate green space and servicing the needs of the tax paying homeowner the City should get off your driveway and move on and find something of real importance to focus on.