What a difference a driveway makes.
A North York homeowner says a mistake by city bureaucrats is preventing his family from moving into a custom-built dream house, but a city councillor says the man is trying to blame others for his own wrong-doing.
'He broke the law. He removed the tree. He caused his own aggravation.' — Coun. David Shiner
Sam Lotfalizobeh says work started on his new house at 30 Palomino Cres. — a corner lot near Bayview Avenue and Sheppard Avenue West — when the city issued a building permit in 2013.
His wife was pregnant at the time.
"I built this house with lots of hope that I will have my new baby here," he told CBC News.
Lotfalizobeh says the city told him at the time he had to move the driveway of his proposed home from one side of the property to the other, so that it would open onto Palomino.
The two-storey house was finished early in 2015 and the city issued an occupancy permit.
But two months later, Lotfalizobeh says officials revoked the permit and said they approved the driveway change by mistake and that it should be where it was originally, opening onto Bomarc Road.
"They send me mail that said it was issued in error and they admit it was their error not my error," he said.
Without the permit, Lotfalizobeh says his family can't move in. All they can do is visit.
"I called my insurance company and they said if you don't have occupancy permit you cannot occupy the house."
Passing the blame?
But Coun. David Shiner of Ward 24 says the city never told Lotfalizobeh to move his driveway and can't explain why the city issued a permit.
Shiner alleges Lotfalizobeh moved the driveway, taking down a tree in the process, without permission.
"It's my belief that the resident knew all along he wouldn't be given permission to take down that tree and put a driveway in," Shiner said.
"This a case of somebody who has done wrong and is trying to blame it on others … He broke the law. He removed the tree. He caused his own aggravation."
Lotfalizobeh acknowledges he didn't do everything right and says he's willing to pay a fine.
"I thought it would be resolved in a matter of weeks but it's nine months. I cannot live in my own house."
After the city revoked the occupancy permit Lotfalizobeh went to the committee of adjustment, which gave the home the go-ahead.
The city appealed that decision and the case will go to the Ontario Municipal Board in March.