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Porch add-on not so simple in Hub

Council says no exceptions

Dave Sullivan
Northern News Services

Hay River (Nov 19/01) - When he first wanted to make his front porch a little bigger, Roger Readman wasn't expecting it would turn into a political issue that would divide a town council.

The renovation split local politicians between those who think following rules is most important, and those who think government is maybe getting too much in people's faces.

For his part, Readman now thinks it was a mistake wanting to do it by the book, by applying for a development permit.

"Others would have just gone ahead and done it," he said just after losing a 4-3 vote on whether he could build the addition.

"I was doing it for my wife." Council put some thought into the decision, striking up a committee after Readman approached the town with his plan. The committee visited one day, followed later by individual councillors who wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

At issue is a rule that says a house should be 7.62 metres away from property lines. Any relaxing of that by more than 10 percent requires council approval.

Readman had checked with his neighbours, and they don't mind. That's the most important consideration for Coun. Diane Ehman, who told council during debate "we're supposed to be here to help people."Others, like Coun. Tom Hamilton, don't want to set a precedent.

Coun. Mike Maher said "Anyone could put anything in their yard and we'd have trouble refusing it. If we start relaxing the bylaw that much, we'll run into lots of problems down the road."