Where an appeal committee’s order was recorded on a standard form, the reviewing court looked to other sources of information as context to be considered in determining whether or not adequate reasons were given for the decision, including supporting comments made during the hearing, and the minutes of the appeal committee.
Administrative law – Decisions reviewed – Municipal Appeals Committee – Variance orders – Legislative compliance – Judicial review – Standard of review – Reasonableness – Hearing
Ewanek v. Winnipeg (City),  M.J. No. 157, 2020 MBQB 98, Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench, June 24, 2020, S. Bond J.
Application by Ewanek for judicial review of a decision of the Appeals Committee granting a variance to a developer to permit the size of the buildable area to be 2,495 square feet instead of the required minimum 3,500 square feet. The developer had purchased the lot next to the applicant’s property and wanted to build two houses on it. There was evidence that the property was located in a mature community considered to offer one of the best opportunities to accommodate infill development, to increase housing choice, and to maximize the use of existing infrastructure.
HELD: Application dismissed.
There was no error in the Appeal Committee’s interpretation of the criteria for approving variances in s. 247(3) of the City of Winnipeg Charter and its finding that the operation of the zoning by-law resulted in an injurious effect on the owner’s property. The developer had not created a noncompliance situation which it subsequently sought to regularize. The Appeal Committee’s reasons for its decision were adequate. The variance appeal order, when read in the context of the record of the hearing, and the adopted administrative report, provided sufficient justification and transparency to satisfy the requirement for reasonableness. The Appeal Committee took the impacts raised by the applicant into consideration. None of these objections raised nor the totality of them established that the Appeal Committee’s decision was unreasonable.
This case was digested by Mollie A. Clark, and first published in the LexisNexis® Harper Grey Administrative Law Netletter and the Harper Grey Administrative Law Newsletter. If you would like to discuss this case further, please contact Mollie A. Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org.