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9 cm error turns dream home into nightmare for couple

By Robert Hof

 A cautionary tale from CBC News  back in the summer. Robert.

A couple’s dream home is turning into a nightmare, all because of nine centimetres.

The Conception Bay South town council in eastern Newfoundland says Steven Boyd and Karen Bursey built their house too close to their neighbour’s property. The home is supposed to be 1.5 metres from the property line. Instead, it is 1.26 metres away. The couple was given an exemption by the council of up to 1.35 metres.

The difference — nine centimetres. That’s about the length of a poker-sized playing card.

The couple discovered the problem after the foundation was laid. Because of where it’s located on the cul de sac, the property shape isn’t a typical plot of land — it’s more curved than straight.

When an inspector picked up on it, the council issued a stop-work order.

“We’re devastated, obviously,” Bursey said. “We have thousands of dollars invested in a home that we can’t proceed with.”

C.B.S. Coun. Ken McDonald disagrees with the town, and supports the couple.

“They want them to tear down a wall, tear down a concrete wall, and patch it back in to suit three and a half inches?” McDonald said. “To me it’s ludicrous, it’s ridiculous.”

Bursey says tearing down that wall would cost $25,000. That’s the same amount their neighbours want for the nine centimetres of land.

Now Bursey says they’re between a rock and a hard place.

“Our only other avenue of appeal is to go through the municipal appeals board, which right now at this point in time there’s a wait list of well over a year,” Bursey said.

Bursey says they don’t have the time or the money to wait that long for a decision.

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