“It’s been a really good conversation, but it’s probably not going to happen,” he said.
Why? Because the Carruthers Caveat, which has been in place since 1911, is a covenant that, for all intents and purposes, blocks the development of anything but single-family homes in Glenora, south of Stony Plain Road. More than 100 years ago, developer James Carruthers filed the covenant as an enticement for people to buy into the new neighbourhood, guaranteeing that the community would never have anything but stately homes with big yards.
And, history has shown us that Glenora residents plan to keep it that way. Knack asked City administration if there has been any time that Carruthers Caveat has been defeated in court, and was told no. When residents invoke it, the Carruthers Caveat has, so far, been legally bulletproof.
But administration still went ahead with recommending this development. The caveat itself is not under the City’s purview.
“It is not a factor in administration’s planning analysis. The caveat is a private agreement between landowners,” was what council was told.
But, council was later warned the caveat would come into effect if “any party chooses to enforce their rights.” Basically, every resident in the affected area has a notwithstanding clause at their fingertips.
It can make your head hurt. The City approves a plan for a six-storey building in Glenora, which it knows violates the terms of a caveat which has an undefeated record in the courts. But, because that caveat is filed on land titles, the City makes zoning decisions independent of it. Yet, at the same time, administration and council know that actually going from zoning approval to construction can be stopped by any legal claim from a Glenora resident.