Residents of a Montreal neighborhood are lashing out at a bylaw that, for the first time in half a century, bans them from parking any vehicle in the driveway in front of their homes because a garage has been converted into a room.
“We thought they were sick! We’ve had the car in our driveway for 50 years. We couldn’t believe it,” explains Monique Voyer.
Newspaper He went to rue Boucherville in the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve (MHM) district, where at least 11 owners have experienced the same nightmare. In August 2022, they received a notice in the mail that it was illegal for them to park in front of their house.
And that’s even if they’ve kept their car there for decades without any problems.
“We thought it was a mistake at first,” says Ms. Voyer. “The morning we received the letter, we all went out at the same time and were thinking about what to do.”
Photo by Martin Alarie
Monique Voyer, 78, converted a small studio in front of her garage where her son once lived.
The old rules are forgotten
Unfortunately for this 78-year-old Montrealer, this was just the beginning of this saga.
The owners of Place de Boucherville first received a notice of non-compliance from the City of Montreal with Bylaw 01-275. The latter, among other things, prohibited parking in front of residences from October 31, 1974.
According to MHM researcher Julie Bellemare, most of these owners have converted their garages into “living rooms” to extend their homes.
Screenshot of Google Maps
Aerial view of Place de Boucherville.
“Some of these developments were carried out illegally without a permit, while others were carried out with a permit that had a collateral effect, such as demolishing a parking lot. This kind of intervention means that the old access roads leading to the garage are not suitable because the garages no longer exist,” he says.
Julie Bellemare also invites residents of this sector to park for free on the street, in front of their houses. So why did the neighborhood of MHM suddenly decide to implement this by-law, which had been forgotten for decades?
“I was told that the situation was brought to our attention after a complaint from a neighbor,” Ms. Bellemare said, without elaborating.
Photo provided by Martine Corbeil
‘No Common Sense’
In order to obtain the vested right, the 11 residents of Place de Boucherville must now prove to the city that the parking lot in front of them was on their property before October 31, 1974. law.
“I have kept my car at home for almost 30 years and no one has told me anything. It doesn’t make sense. Most of the garages, like ours, were renovated and converted before we bought the houses in the neighborhood,” deplores Martine Corbeil.
Photo by Martin Alarie
Martine Corbeil needs a front parking lot because a charging station for her electric car is connected to her house.
What about an electric car?
This mother is not at the end of her troubles. He and five other neighbors have electric cars that need to be charged through a terminal installed in their home.
“We can’t park our car on the street and charge our electric car with a wire hanging on the sidewalk, which is illegal. Regulation is out of date,” says Ms Corbeil.
Mayor’s radio silence
From September 2022, the owners of the Place de Boucherville are asking for the rules to be exempted or changed. But the MHM county insists and points.
Newspaper Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve mayor, Mr. Pierre Lessard-Blais, also asked for an interview on this subject. But he failed to respond to our questions on Monday and Tuesday.
“On the one hand, Valerie Plante’s leadership promotes virtue with electric transport. But on the other hand, we are not supporting the citizens by amending this regulation to ensure the success of the energy transition,” criticizes Julien Hénault-Ratelle, city councilor of the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district.
Mr. Henault-Ratelle reminds us that this case can be an example. He said hundreds of residences have illegal parking lots like the one at Place de Boucherville in Montreal.
Photo courtesy of the Montreal Ensemble
What is popular regulation 01-275?
- Rules prohibiting parking in front of houses
- Exception: parking may only be in front of residential buildings with a driveway leading to a functional garage
- Valid since October 31, 1974 and presented by Mayor Jean Drapeau
- If the parking lot existed before October 31, 1974, it is a vested right
Source: City of Montreal