By Matthew Peterson – Ladysmith Chronicle
Charlie and Dave Parhar went before council on Sept. 6 stating their case after they were refused renewal for their business licence.
The owners/operators of Island Pacific Transport were informed a Quonset hut on their 4th Avenue property had not been properly cleared by Tom Skarvig, town building inspector, who made a visit in the spring of 2010.
Dave Parhar, manager, said there was a visit by Skarvig at which point the Parhars said they were told to cease any work on the hut. The Parhars did, but said they were not given a reason why and were not given any kind of notice the hut was illegal until it came to the renewal.
“I had the renewal in my hand,” said Dave, who was the one who found out the licence was denied. Dave added their company is still running and are continuing to pursue the business licence.
“We should have this business licence,” Dave said, adding the whole ordeal has been stressful.
The Parhars said they have no problem getting the inspection, however, there is another issue at hand — zoning.
The business has been there for 35 years, but in the mid-1980s was rezoned from industrial to multi-family residential, making the property and business legally non-conforming because of the rezoning.
This means any business assets on the property when the land was rezoned were allowed to stay. Repairs and maintenance could also be done to any structures. No new business structures or expansion is allowed on the non-conforming property.
Dave said the new hut is similar in size and shape to the structure that had been on the property from before the rezoning, and it is an improvement to what was there.
“It’s a little more sturdy,” Dave said. “That’s the point of contention. We’re saying it’s not vastly different and they are saying it is.”
There was also a concrete slab poured on the property back in 2001.
Council has asked for more information about the property including what was onsite at the time of rezoning in the ‘80s. The Parhars have also asked if they can be given a grace period to try and find a more suitable place for the new structure.
A grace period, said Dave, would give them the chance to find a more suitable location for their maintenance work.
Town staff will also look into setting up a bond for $10,000 (the estimated price to take it down) to allow a grace period.
Dave said he is pleased they have been given the chance to speak to council.
“I’m glad to see there’s a public record on the process. It’s out in the open and that’s the way it should be.”
Mayor Rob Hutchins said this is the first time he has ever been through a business renewal hearing before, but is pleased everyone is talking and working towards a resolution.
“I heard the proponent say ‘Oh, now I have a better understanding of legally non-conforming expectations,” said Hutchins of the process. A report will likely come back to council at the next meeting on September 19.