Shawn Driver, the owner of Driver Enterprises in Sooke. (Sooke News Mirror)

Shawn Driver, the owner of Driver Enterprises in Sooke. (Sooke News Mirror)

Sooke sues business over zoning issues

District claims property ‘non-conforming’ for nearly 20 years

The District of Sooke is suing a welding and repair shop business alleging it’s contravening several bylaws.

The district’s statement of claim was filed at the Supreme Court of B.C.

The statement alleges Shawn Driver and Driver Enterprises is contravening the district’s Small Scale Agriculture bylaw by using the property at 5536 Sooke Rd. for a welding, fabricating, repair shop, and used vehicle business.

The district also claims Driver built up the property without appropriate permits, including a business licence and development permit.

Allegations contained in the statement of claim have not been proven in court.

In a response to civil claim, Driver stated he’s not in contravention of the original bylaw – Agriculture – and has not made any further use or new uses of the land since the district rezoned the property in 2013.

Driver denies he was in contravention of other district bylaws and permits requirements.

Driver’s response to civil claim also stated on many occasions since September 22, 2000, district staff have interpreted the bylaws and assured Driver that the property’s use was “lawful” and “lawfully non-conforming.” Those interpretations convinced Driver to invest in the property.

The long-running issue was noted in an administrative report to council citing events dating back to 2002. But the issue seemed at least partially resolved in January 2019 when council passed a bylaw to allow for temporary use permits for historic non-conforming non-residential uses in the Gateway Residential area, including Driver’s business.

It was noted at the time that it was possible the new official community plan could allow Driver’s business to be acceptable use in the area.

Driver applied for the temporary zoning variance but was denied by council due to “lack of information.”

In the civil claim, the District of Sooke wants a court injunction from letting Driver use the property as a welding, fabrication and repair shop and remove any unauthorized development and buildings.

No date has been set for the B.C. Supreme Court hearing.

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editor@sookenewsmirror.com

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