Charles Street property will stand until September

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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Court grants stay of proceedings to Wells

A final decision on the fate of a vacant house on Charles Street won't be determined until September.

A final decision on the fate of a vacant house on Charles Street won't be determined until September.

AMHERST – It will be September at the earliest before any decision is made on the future of a Charles Street property slated for demolition.

During a brief proceeding on Thursday, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court issued a stay of proceedings prohibiting the Town of Amherst from taking any action on its demolition order for the property at 12 and 14 Charles St.

A hearing will be held on Sept. 18 at 9:30 a.m.

“As a general rule, an interim stay of proceedings is only issued where the primary case is not frivolous,” said Jim O'Neil, the lawyer for property owner Walter Wells. “Certainly, my client was quite relieved that the town consented to the interim stay.

“The Sept. 18 hearing will be decided only on a judicial review of the evidence available to town council as no new evidence will be tendered. The legal issue to be determined is whether the town had the legal jurisdiction to issue the order in the manner in which it did.”

Wells is taking the town to court to quash the demolition order and his lawyer said the town violated provisions of the Municipal Government Act in that the order didn’t indicate the remedial action that was required.

The town’s order required the property to be demolished by Saturday after which the town could have it demolished and billed against the property.

Wells said in an affidavit that he has a strong emotional tie to the building that was bought by his father in 1954 and was his home for several years. He took possession of the home in 1984 when his father died.

The property has been vacant for several years, but Wells said in his affidavit that he plans to fix it up.

darrell.cole@tc.tc

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: Nova Scotia Supreme Court

Geographic location: Charles Street, AMHERST

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Recent comments

  • Valerie trumble
    September 05, 2014 - 17:39

    I noticed kids are climbing the scaffolding at the back of this home. I think I understand mr Welles legal reasons for erecting the scaffolding although as a neighbour I have not seen any one working on the roof or elsewhere on the property . However just like the abandoned house this scaffolding seems to be attracting children and I'm very concerned that something awful could happen.

  • Rob
    July 18, 2014 - 19:09

    You're sort of right. Owning property does trump things like tacky lawn ornaments or even an unkept lawn. This property is more than that. It's dangerous to the neighbourhood. As I mentioned it was lit on fire and is bringing down neighbouring property values. I know that id be pretty upset if I made somewhere between $15-20,000 less when I sold my property just because this place was next door. Perhaps M.r wells could instead be held liable for lower property values due to his property?

  • more of the same
    July 11, 2014 - 13:03

    " case is not frivolous" That is an understatement . Doesn't the Town have better things to waste tax payers money on other than harassing people to tear down their tax generating properties ? Now that Walter has put this into the Courts it could potentially go on for years up to the SCOC fighting for his civil , Charter , and property rights .. Meanwhile everyone looses except the lawyers ...

    • Al
      July 14, 2014 - 11:44

      I disagree with 'more of the same'. Amherst is filled with shacks that should have been torn down years ago. I support the Town of Amherst in taking a stand against these unsightly properties that humiliate all Amherstonians. After Amherst wins the case, I hope they go after the absentee landlords who's rental trash needs to be cleaned up too. Of course, if you have never lived in other progressive towns in the Maritimes, you wouldn't know what I'm talking about.

    • Rob
      July 14, 2014 - 12:12

      That property has been a dangerous eyesore. Don't feel sorry for Mr wells. That house being abandoned has caused property values in neighbouring houses to drop by tens of thousands of dollars also causing the town to lose tax revenue from those properties (with that specific property being citied as the reason why) That house was once set on fire (because its unoccupied and unkept and thought to be abandoned) and caused my mother in laws house to nearly catch fire. Causing damage to her fence (that she had to pay to repair herself) Mr wells is being shown that the town and its people will not stand for his bull S**t excuse that the property means something to him. When was the last time it was occupied by Mr wells? Or ANYONE for that matter? 20 years? maybe more? If he actually cared he would restore the home and rent it out or live in it. But he doesn't. He put up staging to make it look like he has been working on it when everyone knows he did that to buy time. But time for what? He owns several derelict properties in Amherst and as someone who has to look at this eyesore knowing the person who owns it has the means to repair it and just simply doesn't, is infuriating. It might be different if someone lived there and was slowly fixing it up because they couldn't afford to renovate and repair the home in a timelyt fashion. but that isn't the case here.

    • more of the same
      July 14, 2014 - 14:19

      The thing is that ownership of property has a meaning which trumps non owner's opinions of what should or should not be done .. Unsightly is a subjective opinion also . Neighbours may not like the colour of an owner's house or the usual omnipresent tacky lawn ornaments but that doesn't give a town legal authority to demolish .. If a person doesn't like the look of something they always have the option of looking the other way . Demolishing other people's properties has no end as the tear them crowd would just move on to victimize the next owner and the next until they get you ...