Saanich council denies owner’s dream of a house on a hill

Mounds of fill trucked to West Saanich Road to raise the height of the property

The view from a neighbouring property shows the man-made mound of fill at 5813 West Saanich Rd. Saanich council denied a variance that would allow the property owner to build a house on top of the mound.

After years of trucking in fill at his property of 5813 West Saanich Rd., Saanich council rejected Leon Rosteski’s request for a height variance of 11.2 metres for a new house building permit.

Rosteski has been intentionally filling in the land on a section of the property, estimated to be more than 25,000 cubic metres, always with a plan of building a house on top of it. But on Monday night council unanimously supported staff’s recommendation against the variance, which is 37 feet.

One problem that irked neighbours was the years of noise as the mound was constructed. But the main issue is that the mound of fill is considered unnatural grade, and the height for the house is to be measured from the bottom of the mound where it is natural grade.

“Normally variances are only a couple of feet, this is quite a lot more,” said Coun. Vicki Sanders.

It was a sentiment echoed by most of council.

“I can see the rationale in supporting a variance for an even grade, but to construct nearly 40 feet, and then put house on top of it for a view is not compelling rationale,” said Coun. Dean Murdock.

While defending his application in front of council on Monday, Rosteski claimed he was never told the fill would be a hindrance, though Saanich maintained it was evident he would need a variance at the time of the application.

Rosteski also claimed the controversy wasn’t around the height variance, it was about the mound of fill the house would be sitting on.

“There are many houses 37 feet high in Saanich,” he said.

The growing mound of earth caught the attention of neighbours back in 2012, when a group of residents complained to Saanich council.

Back then, Rosteski told the News he was filling the yard “to a height where I get a view, and then I’m going to build [a house] on top of it.”

And on Monday, Rosteski suggested staff should have told him years ago he would have problems acquiring a building permit.

Murdock said he believes staff would have likely been clear, at the very least, that a variance would be needed if Rosteski had mentioned he planned to build on the mound, and that planning and engineering staff do not know which way council will decide.

“I lament the owner who chased his dream of building a hill in his yard and building a home on top of it but I have to support [staff] that this variance is too much,” said Coun. Fred Haynes.

Rosteski’s legal representation claimed 14 letters in support plus as many as 17 more that were not against the variance.

A few neighbours spoke against the property though Jeff Shaw, the vice-chair of the Prospect Lake Community Association, spoke in favour of it.

Rosteski was legally permitted to add fill to the property. He lives in a 2001-built home on the property that was once a barn. Saanich amended its fill bylaw in 2012 while Rosteski was working with the municipality.

Rosteski said most of the fill came from the Capital Regional District’s McTavish Reservoir replacement project in North Saanich.

As it stands, the mound can be removed if Rosteski wishes, though he’ll need a permit for removal.

 

– With files from Kyle Slavin

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Campus View Elementary undergoes $4.2 million in seismic upgrades

Campus View Elementary undergoes significant seismic upgrades

Claremont Spartans win the inaugural Senior Girls’ AAAA Basketball Island Championship

Claremont Spartans win their Feb. 15 game agains the Royal Bay Ravens 71 - 64

Sidney company tastes sweet success with sugar kelp

Cascadia Seaweed is experiencing rapid growth after launching six months ago

North Saanich floats tougher policies for buoys and moorings near Tsehum Harbour

Municipality also considers additional collaboration with Sidney and other communities

Westin Bear Mountain invests $2 million to renovate newly-named spa

‘Amatista Spa’ has yet to announce official opening date

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

B.C. VIEWS: Inaction on pipeline protests not a viable response

Columnist Frank Bucholtz on how the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute got so bad

PHOTOS: Top 10 memories of the 2010 Olympics

Black Press Media’s Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

Most Read