Property owner refutes unsightly premise allegation

A Pineview resident is fighting back against the Fraser-Fort George Regional District's attempt to get him to remove more than 100 vehicles stored on his property.

The FFGRD filed a notice of claim in December seeking a court order to compel him to remove the vehicles or allow the FFGRD to do it for him, saying the collection violates the regional district's zoning and unsightly premises bylaws.

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But in a response filed January 7 at the Prince George courthouse, a lawyer acting on behalf of the property owner maintains the collection remains within the boundaries of the law.

On whether the collection makes the property unsightly, lawyer Dan Marcotte says all of the vehicles are contained within a fully enclosed compound and cannot be seen by anyone standing outside the property line or the view is so slight it makes no difference.

On whether the zoning bylaw is being violated, Marcotte casts doubt on the bylaw's clarity and maintains the collection is "consistent with an incidental to the permitted uses" for which the property's rural residential zone.

The FFGRD claims that as recently as mid-November, there were as many as 140 vehicles on the property and that at least 23 of the vehicles had significant damage, at least 22 vehicles were without valid licence plates and that several piles of vehicle parts and other material were found on the property.

It is seeking an order that he lower the count down to 10 vehicles, of which no more than two can be derelict, and to remove all of the piles of parts and rubbish.

Marcotte says his client restores vintage Ford pickup trucks, rebuilds cars to race in "hit to pass" and stock car events at the Prince George Auto Racing Association Speedway and carries out minor repair work as hobbies on the property.

"Many of the motor vehicles are used by the defendant, from time to time and as needed, for parts in the restoration of his vintage vehicles or in the rehabilitation of vehicles in hit to pass racing events or stock car racing events," Marcotte says.

The allegations have not yet been tested in court.

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