The city now has the authority to actually barricade the party house on Lakeshore Road if that is what it takes to bring an end to the noisy parties

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 7th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

As court cases go – this one went pretty quickly.

The city filed their application for an injunction on December 11, 2019 and they had a Judgement on January 23rd, 2020.

The reason for the speedy resolution to what was an unconscionable behavior by a property owner was that the property owner didn’t show up and didn’t file a defence.

Five citizens, two were city staff, provided affidavits setting out what the problem was and how it impacted their lives. City staff were providing critical data.

Doug Bishop, Warren Walker, Mary Alice St. James, Silvina Kade and Ibrahim Darjaj Sohebur Rehman Sheikh and Sadia Soheb were the defendants and the owners of the property who had caused so much grief and disruption to the residents in the Lakeshore at Goodram Drive part of the city.

Lakeshore party house

At one Rave party there were a reported 200 young people in the house – police needed three hours to clear them out.

The city wanted an Interim, Interlocutory and Permanent Order restraining the Respondents Sohebur Rehman Sheikh and Sadia Soheb from using the land and building at 4319 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, Ontario in any manner except in accordance with the provisions of Part 2 of By-law 2020.

They also wanted an Order granting permission to Burlington to block or otherwise restrict access to the property at 4319 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, Ontario by any means deemed necessary and reasonable by Burlington or its authorized representatives, including the use of barricades or vehicles to block or restrict access to the property at 4319 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, Ontario, for the purpose of stopping any non-­permitted use of the property which may be occurring at the property.

By law enforcement officer, Ibrahim Darbaj, said in an affidavit that he was able to get in touch with the person serving as a wedding co-ordinator who put him in touch with the couple marrying and learned that the Air BnB fee for a wedding that took place in August was reported at $2588.80

Darbaj also identified the property owners as Sohebur Rehman Sheikh and Sadia Soheb from provincial property records.

Neither Sohebur Rehman Sheikh nor Sadia Soheb submitted a defence. They basically walked away from the legal proceedings.

One of the parties involved in the matter reported that there were 200 rentals of the property over two and a half years and that one of the events, basically a Rave, brought the police to the house who proceeded to remove everyone – estimated to be 200 young people in a house with just the one exit in a major room.

Darbaj had a chance meeting with the wedding coordinator who gave him contact information for the couple being married on August 31st. He spoke to the groom and learned what the rental fee was.

Doug Walker, a resident in the immediate area said in his affidavit that he observed non-residential activities being conducted at 4319 Lakeshore Road, Burlington.

Walker said that “for at least the last 18 months, the Property has been used frequently for various events, including weddings, and which events have had many people in attendance, liquor being served and loud music being played. “On August 29, 2019, I wrote to the Mayor of Burlington complaining about the activities occurring at the Property. A large event on August 28th caused me to write my letter to the Mayor.

“There were many people in attendance on this occasion. I heard and observed a loud and large party. Music was being played outside at this event until well past midnight.

“As a result of this event, cars were parked along Oak Crescent, meaning that people leaving the event had to come back to their parked vehicles. As these people returned to their cars later in the evening, I was subjected to persons shouting; I observed vehicles being driven away at high speeds; and I witnessed a male person urinating on my neighbour’s front lawn.

“Ultimately, later that evening, I contacted the police and the police did arrive subsequently to investigate this situation.

“On August 31, 2019 I witnessed a large wedding taking place on the front lawn and inside the Property.

“I would estimate the number of attendees at this wedding to be approximately 100 people.

“On this occasion, I observed liquor being served inside and outside the house on the Property.

“From my residence, I could hear the music being played from the Property at a very loud volume.

“On that date, I again observed that the police arrived at the Property to investigate this situation.

Mary Alice 2

Mary Alice St.James with her notes and documentation.

“On one other occasion, both Mary-Alice St. James and I saw large amounts of liquor being brought onto the Property for an event that was to happen that particular weekend. She and I talked with the person delivering the liquor and he advised Ms. St. James and me that it was for an event at the Property. I do not recall what kind of event for which it was being brought onto the Property.

“I have from time to time approached persons parking their cars on Oak Crescent by my house, and inquired of them the purpose of their attendance at the Property. I was advised by them that they were attending weddings at the Property. I did this on at least three occasions, meaning that there were at least three weddings being held at the Property between approximately June and August, 2019.

“I have observed many events occurring at the property and it is my understanding that persons get access to this Property through internet booking services. Particularly, for the past year or so, many events for the Property were reserved through AirBnB.

“Recently, AirBnB has dropped this Property from its site. However, this Property is now being advertised through AMG Properties and on Instagram and VRBO.”

Mary Alice St James who also lives in the immediate area said in her affidavit much the same, adding that “For well over a year, I have observed the Property being used frequently for various events, including weddings, proms, reunions and parties with many people in attendance, liquor being served and music being played.

“The Property does not have the parking capacity on it for all of the cars that arrive for the event.

“On November 2, 2019, I observed a Hallowe’en party taking place at the Property. On this occasion, I observed many of the party-goers being dropped off at the Property by what I observed to be older adults, whom I believe were their parents or guardians. Given the number of persons at this party and its raucous nature, I had concerns for the young party goers, and telephoned the police around 11:30 pm that night. I learned that the police were already at the Property and over the next two hours, under the direction of the police, the party-goers disbursed onto the streets in the neighbourhood, waiting for their rides, be it from Uber, taxis or parents. Those persons who had cars drove away, honking their car horns.

“On another occasion, I saw so many people at the Property attending an event at the Property that I was truly fearful for my own safety. On that occasion, I telephoned the police and the police subsequently attended to deal with the situation.

Mary Alice

Mary Alice St. James in full flight – delegating to city council

“I have experienced noise well beyond midnight on many occasions, and during this past summer this occurred generally on both week-end nights and occasionally on week-nights.

“In conjunction with the events that I have observed, I have seen an open fire pit on the Property on at least one occasion, and I have seen fireworks set off from the Property, with such fireworks being set off on dates that were not associated with Victoria Day or Canada Day.

“From my observations, the people attending at the Property are different people on each occasion. Different people are attending different events at the Property.”

Area residents delegated at city council meetings pleading with council to do something. At the time both bylaw enforcement people and legal services didn’t offer all that much in the way of support.

The bylaw enforcement staff seemed to be taking the position that their hands were tied and the police weren’t seen as being all that pro-active.

By law person

City bylaw enforcement officer.

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte worked diligently behind the scenes to get someone to do something. She appears to have prevailed. On December 12 the owners of the property were served with notice that an application was being made to prevent them from renting the premises to people who were holding noisy parties.

On January 23rd Justice Gibson signed an order that was draconian in what the city, with the help of the police will be able to do.

THIS COURT ORDERS that the Respondents Sohebur Rehman Sheikh and Sadia Soheb be restrained from using the land and building at 4319 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, Ontario in any manner except in accordance with the provisions of Part 2 of By-law 2020.

THIS COURT ORDERS that the Respondents Sohebur Rehman Sheikh and Sadia Soheb be restrained from using or causing or permitting to be used the land and building at 4319 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, Ontario for the purpose of a non-permitted use, namely a commercial premises, in breach of the provisions of Part 2 of By-law 2020, as amended, being the Zoning By law of Burlington.

THIS COURT ORDERS that all expenses incurred by Burlington in relation to the implementation and enforcement of any Order granted herein, inclusive, but not limited to, the cost of Burlington staff and authorized representatives retained by Burlington to block or otherwise restrict access to the property at 4319 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, Ontario, be added to the Tax Roll for 4319 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, Ontario, with such charges to be collected in a like manner as realty taxes

Snow plow city hall sq

Park this puppy in the driveway and see what happens.

THIS COURT ORDERS that the Applicant be granted permission to block or otherwise restrict access to the property at 4319 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, Ontario by any means deemed necessary and reasonable by Burlington or its authorized representatives, including the use of barricades or vehicles to block or restrict access to the property at 4319 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, Ontario) for the purpose of stopping any non-permitted use of the property which may be occurring at the property,

THIS COURT ORDERS that the Sheriff for the Regional Municipality of Halton (the “Sheriff”) shall do all things reasonably able to be done, with such force and assistance as is required in the circumstances, to prevent or stop breaches of1his Judgment.

THIS COURT ORDERS that in the event that the Sheriff believes that the execution of this Judgment may give rise to a breach of the peace, he or she may require a police officer to accompany him or her and assist in the execution of this Judgment.

THIS COURT ORDERS that the Respondents Sohebur Rehman Sheikh and Sadia Soheb pay to The Corporation of the City of Burlington costs on a partial indemnity basis fixed in the sum of $9,500.

The Court decision sends out a really clear message to the Air BnB community – you can’t do that here anymore.

Shawna Stolte hand to mouth

Shawna Stolte asked a lot of questions and pushed people who weren’t used to a Councillor working this hard for their constituents

Burlington has done not only the province but the whole country a favour by taking a risk and petitioning the courts.

Mary Alice St. James said she was proud of the way her community fought back and pushed the city to take some action.  Two years of abusive neighbors was enough.

The ward 4 Councillor worked all the angles and did what had to be done to get some serious action – she is becoming a rock star.

Related news story

Immediate action decided upon in October – by January they had a decision.

Residents keep the pressure up – but action is slow in coming – and the noise prevails.

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6 comments to The city now has the authority to actually barricade the party house on Lakeshore Road if that is what it takes to bring an end to the noisy parties

  • Alfred

    Just curious? I noticed there are 6 houses or rooms in Burlington listed on AirBnB for short term rentals right now. Are they all illegal. What distinction is there between them and this scenario. There are numerous furnished houses, rooms and suites also for rent on a short term basis in Burlington. Looks like a slippery slope to me. Can anyone advise?

  • Elan

    And thank you to Councillor Stolte, who would not accept Legal and enforcement’s “our hands are tied”, response, and enforcement’s inattention and dodging of citizen complaints, to force finding a creative and urgent solution to this difficult problem. I think I recall the first recommendation from Legal and Enforcement at Council in the early fall, in response to this urgent citizen issue, was shockingly that they would wait three years to start the formal study on this issue. At that moment in Council, Stolte took Council into closed session. I wonder what sparks flew in that private Council session with Legal and Enforcement representatives to affect their attitude adjustment and get Ward 4 citizens the relief they deserved?

  • Charlie

    Yes congratulations to everyone involved especially the City’s Legal department and Bylaw Enforcement for making this happen. Very rare but clever taking this approach via superior court outside of the provincial offences court. I wonder if other city’s will now try following Burlington’s approach.

    • Elan

      So great it worked out…But By-law enforcement is not a hero in this story. I have heard certain individuals were consciously slow walking any attempts by the Councillor to solve this. I think there was some reorganization in the By-law Enforcement group as a result. The City Manager provided stern re-direction on this, and also deserves credit for the change in direction.

  • Wendy

    Kudos to Mary Alice and her team of local residents who spearheaded this. Well done! Hopefully you can sleep in peace now.

  • Carie

    Congratulations and Well done MaryAlice for bringing together and organizing the community to bring awareness of this issue to city hall. I’m very glad for the positive and speedy outcome.
    There has been excellent coverage of this story in all media outlets. I hope your neighbourhood can finally have some peace and quiet. Interesting to note that the offending house is now listed for sale.

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