Residents of a Montreal neighborhood are virulently denouncing a by-law, applied for the first time in half a century, which now prohibits them from parking any vehicle in the driveway at the front of their house because the garage has been converted into a room.
“We thought they were sick! We’ve parked the car in our driveway for 50 years. We couldn’t believe it,” explains Monique Voyer.
The newspaper went to rue Place de Boucherville, in the borough of Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve (MHM), where at least 11 owners are living the same nightmare. In August 2022, they received a notice in the mail warning them that their parking in front of their house is illegal.
And that, even if they park their car there for decades without any problem.
“We thought it was a mistake at first, says Ms. Voyer. We all went out into the street at the same time the morning we got the letter and we were wondering what we were going to do.”
Photo Martin Alarie
Monique Voyer, 78, in front of her garage converted into a small studio where her son once lived.
Old rules forgotten
Unfortunately for this 78-year-old Montrealer, this was only the beginning of this saga.
The owners of Place de Boucherville first received a notice of non-compliance under by-law 01-275 from the city of Montreal. The latter has prohibited, among other things, parking in front of residences since October 31, 1974.
Note that most of these owners have converted their garage into a “living room” to expand their home, according to Julie Bellemare, research officer at MHM.
Screenshot of Google Maps
Aerial view of Place de Boucherville street.
“Some of these developments were carried out illegally without a permit, others with a permit which had the collateral effect of removing the parking space. This type of intervention means that the old access roads leading to the garage are non-compliant, since the garages no longer exist, ”she says.
Julie Bellemare also invites residents of this sector to park on the street, free of charge, in front of their homes. But why did the borough of MHM suddenly decide to apply this by-law, which had been forgotten for decades?
“I was told that the situation was brought to our attention following a complaint from the neighborhood,” said Ms. Bellemare, without giving further details.
‘No common sense’
To obtain an acquired right, the 11 residents of Place de Boucherville must now prove to the City that the parking space in front was present on their property before October 31, 1974. That is, the date of entry into force of the said by-law.
“I have parked my car at home for almost 30 years and no one has ever told me anything. It doesn’t make sense. Most of the garages, like ours, were renovated and modified before we bought the houses in the neighborhood,” denounces Martine Corbeil.
Photo Martin Alarie
Martine Corbeil needs her front parking lot since the charging station for her electric car is attached to her house.
And the electric car?
This mother is not at the end of her troubles. She and five other neighbors have electric cars that must be recharged using a terminal installed in their home.
“We cannot put our car on the street and recharge our electric car with the wire hanging on the sidewalk, that too is illegal. The regulation is obsolete, ”drops Ms. Corbeil.
Mayor’s radio silence
Since September 2022, the owners of Place de Boucherville have been asking for an exemption or modification of the regulations. However, the district of MHM persists and signs.
The newspaper has also requested an interview on this subject with the mayor of the borough of Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Mr. Pierre Lessard-Blais. However, he was not available to answer our questions on Monday and Tuesday.
“On the one hand, the administration of Valérie Plante promotes virtue with electric transport. But on the other hand, we are not supporting citizens by modifying this by-law to ensure the success of the energy transition,” criticizes Julien Hénault-Ratelle, city councilor for the Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough. .
Mr. Hénault-Ratelle recalls that this case could serve as an example. According to him, hundreds of residences have illegal parking lots like those at Place de Boucherville in Montreal.
What is the famous regulation 01-275?
- Regulations prohibiting parking in front of homes
- Exception: only residences with a driveway leading to a functional garage can have parking in front
- Valid since October 31, 1974 and introduced by Mayor Jean Drapeau
- If the parking lot was present before October 31, 1974, it is an acquired right
Source: City of Montreal