Clearwater town council has tabled a request to lift a covenant on a property located on Bain Road next to Highway 5.
The property, presently owned by Traub Holdings Ltd., is zoned Light Industrial but has a covenant registered on its title that restricts use of the land to a tree nursery warehouse only.
The covenant was placed on the property in 1986 during re-zoning. Concerns had been raised at that time regarding allowing industrial uses in a rural residential neighborhood.
When the present owners purchased the property in 2013 they were unaware of the covenant. They subsequently began operating a trailer and equipment rental, sales and repair business.
At least two letters were received from neighbours, both against removing the covenant.
However, a petition in support of removing the covenant received nearly 40 names of Clearwater and area residents.
During a public hearing held prior to the Nov. 1 town council meeting only one person spoke. Dave Miller, who lives across Highway 5 from the property, said the covenant should be removed.
“He’s just making a living the best he can,” he said of property owner Cal Traub.
During the discussion, councillor Ken Kjenstad noted that removing the covenant could open up the property to unforeseen uses.
Permitted uses under the Light Industrial zoning include waste management, medical marijuana production and wood processing, Mayor John Harwood observed.
Dennis Greffard said that this was the second time in the past year that property owners have come before council to ask that a covenant be lifted that the owners had not been aware of when they purchased the property.
There was some discussion about whether the lawyers and real estate agents involved were doing their jobs properly.
Chief administrative office Leslie Groulx said there was no economical way the municipality could search through the titles for all the properties within its boundaries to find which have covenants placed on them and which do not.
District of Clearwater had therefore passed a policy stating that it was not legally responsible, she said.
Councillor Barry Banford made the motion that the recommendation to remove the covenant be tabled and that staff be asked to come up with more options (tabling means the motion is neither passed nor rejected, but will be discussed at a later meeting).
The motion with its new options likely will be brought forward during the Nov. 15 or Dec. 6 town council meetings.