A Victorian-style fence surround the property on 10th Street near the intersection with Eastlake Avenue in Saskatoon, SK on Tuesday, November 20, 2018. Council voted Monday to allow the property owner to buy the city-owned land on which the fence is located.
Liam Richards / Saskatoon StarPhoenix
Everybody seems to agree that Dan Boys has erected an attractive fence around his Silverspring home.What Saskatoon city council failed again Monday to decide is how to deal with Boys and five other homeowners who have accidentally or through no other option built their fences on city land.The property owners had been leasing the land from city hall, but all leases except one have expired. Several owners had asked to buy the strips of land adjacent to their properties, but the city administration is concerned that would set a precedent.Two attempts to put the matter to rest Monday failed on tied votes with Coun. Darren Hill absent, leaving 10 to vote.“Any kind of certainty is better than this,” Boys muttered as he walked out of city council chamber.Council heard that many homeowners encroach on city properties, but only the six properties were remaining from a lease program. Council voted in 2008 to discontinue the practice of leasing land to residential homeowners.The administration had proposed a requirement to remove the fences when five of the properties are sold, but that was defeated in a 6-4 vote.Director of transportation Jay Magus said leaving the situation as is could create the possibility of other homeowners seizing on a perceived loophole to try to expand their properties.An effort by Coun. Cynthia Block to regard the six properties the same as all other encroachments failed on a 5-5 vote, as did Coun. Bev Dubois’ bid to explore 10-year leases for the homeowners.Boys, who owns a house on Pezer Cove, said moving or removing the wood, concrete and stone fence could cost as much as $50,000 or more. He said an expenditure of that amount would affect his retirement, as would taking such a hit on the sale of his house.“It’s probably one of the nicest fences in the area and maybe the whole city,” Boys said.Dallas New pleaded with council to let her buy the small strip of land next to her Sutherland home. She pointed out moving the fence would mean two trees on her property would be located outside the fence. She projected a photo of herself in a hammock between the two trees.Coun. Troy Davies said he has heard no complaints about these situations in his west-side ward. Magus confirmed the move by the administration dating back to November was not driven by complaints.“Why do we go around poking the bear on this?” Davies asked.An exception was approved for an unusual three-townhouse property at 10th Street and Eastlake Avenue in Nutana. Property owner Patrick Wolfe will be allowed to buy the city land because a white picket fence is deemed to have heritage value.STREET SLACKResidents will now be allowed to park their vehicles on residential streets for 72 hours, doubling the current time limit.As expected, council officially passed a bylaw to that effect Monday with Coun. Bev Dubois voting against it. The time limit for notice to remove a vehicle from the road for snow clearing or road work remains 36 hours.The parking limit for recreational vehicles also remains at 36 hours.CABS COMINGCouncil also passed a bylaw Monday that aims to improve taxi service during peak periods.The new rules create 35 “enterprise” taxi licences that would be issued by lottery to drivers. This type of licence would only allow one driver, who could drive up to 14 hours a day, six days a week.The enterprise licences would operate year-round and replace the 24 seasonal licences that were valid from September to June. The move is intended to allow for more flexible taxi service now that ride sharing has been accommodated.Taxi companies and drivers have expressed reservations about the new email@example.com/thinktankSKRelated