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Land Development and Municipal Law

Case Study | Mar 19, 2015

The Problem

As part of its road infrastructure works program, a municipality wanted to close a significant portion of a municipal road on which our clients owned two properties with frontage on both sides of the road. The municipality proposed to convey the closed road to our clients in exchange for another portion of their property for a new road. While our clients did not oppose what the municipality wished to do, the municipality’s plans created a number of problems:

  • The conveyance of the road created a Planning Act merger of the lots that were formerly separated by the road. Our clients would therefore be unable to sell one piece separately from the other.
  • The loss of frontage on the municipal road for one of the lots created a deficiency under the applicable zoning bylaw.
  • The road to be closed was paved and located at an elevated grade to our clients’ properties. Environmentally harmful sediments of salt and oil existed on the road lands.
  • The road closure would result in a dead-end street that could be used by trespassers, right beside our clients’ properties.
  • New municipal services (hydro, gas, and water) that previously existed within the former road allowance would be needed.

Our Approach

On behalf of our clients we negotiated Agreements of Purchase and Sale with the municipality to facilitate the exchange of lands on the following terms:

  • Proper closure of the road by municipal bylaw and consolidation with our clients’ properties
  • Planning Act consents from the municipality’s Committee of Adjustment to be attached to the Transfer/Deeds of Land to ensure that the two lots would remain separated for future sale and possible financing purposes
  • Removal of the pavement from the existing road, regrading of the area consistent with the topography of the adjoining two lots; removal, relocation, and replacement of municipal services; remediation of the environmental contamination resulting from the closed road, and replacement with clean topsoil and sod
  • Minor variance obtained from the Committee of Adjustment to approve the deficiency in frontage resulting from the road closure
  • Curbing and signage for the new road installed to ensure that vehicles could not enter the former area of the closed road
  • All legal costs and disbursements to be paid by the municipality

The Result

The land exchange was completed at no cost to our clients on the terms we negotiated and with the full cooperation of the municipality.

© 2015 Lawrence, Lawrence, Stevenson LLP

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