Cobourg Council – Cobourg Leads The Way On Sales Trailers

In City Hall

By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
As far as he can ascertain Municipal Clerk Brent Larmer believes Cobourg just may be the first municipality to establish licensing requirements for land-development sales structures.

“I don’t think it has surfaced anywhere else other than here,” Larmer said of the report before Cobourg council at this week’s committee-of-the-whole meeting.

It governs structures erected for the purpose of advertising and promoting potential residential, commercial and condominium properties.

In the past, according to Larmer’s staff report, problems arise when occasional slow periods occur and such structures as model dwelling units, land-development sales trailers and construction offices become abandoned. When deserted over a period of months or years, these structures can become derelict and dangerous, weather-damaged, surrounded by noxious weeds and providing a home to rodents and other nuisances.

Launching a complaint is a cumbersome process that takes an inordinate amount of time, Larmer said, which is why this step is being taken.

The report proposes an initial license fee of $1,000, followed by annual renewal fees of $250. Renewal will also be an opportunity to review the file, Larmer said, and ensure contact information is current and the property is maintained in good standing. Should the property change hands, there will be a $500 transfer fee.

This revenue is meant to cover the administration of the licensing as well as offset the costs of bylaw officers to ensure compliance.

And because a fee is involved, this bylaw – unlike some others – will not be complaint-driven. Proactive inspection and enforcement will be undertaken.

While the initial $1,000 charge applies to all new structures, Larmer said, it also applies to existing ones – they will have three months to pay the fee and get properly licensed.

“I am really pleased to see this before us, and thank you for leading the charge for Ontario municipalities,” Councillor Nicole Beatty said – asking whether the upkeep standards that apply to these structures also apply to the grounds around them.

Larmer said the provisions also apply to the grounds, through the new bylaw and through the town’s Clean Yard Law Maintenance Bylaw that was introduced three years ago to augment the Property Standards Bylaw.

Referring to the complaints process Larmer had termed “cumbersome,” Mayor John Henderson cited one case that had been going on for seven years.

“I think this will help alleviate a lot of complaints that come to council members and how we can effectively deal with them,” Henderson said.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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