A citizen sought redress from the Ombudsman de Montréal because he believed he had the right to a grant that the city had refused him, for the demolition and reconstruction of a property he had recently acquired. Before buying this property, the citizen had checked the applicable by-laws to find out if the modifications he was planning to do on this house were allowed.

The city asked the citizen to undertake major modifications of the plans he submitted to support his application, in order to promote a better architectural integration of the new house in its urban environment. According to city representatives, the projected new construction was too dissimilar to the style of the neighbouring houses, and this is why they made the requested modifications a mandatory condition for the approval of the grant.

Despite the apparent merit of this condition imposed by the city, the Ombudsman de Montréal observed that the prerequisite criteria for the grant concerned were specifically governed by regulations, and that the applicable by-law did not include the « architectural integration » criterion the city was relying upon in its decision to refuse the grant.

Accordingly, the Ombudsman de Montréal intervened with the concerned department to explain that even if the conditions imposed on the citizen could be justified from an architectural point of view, they were not justified legally.

Consequently, the department admitted their error and approved the grant to the citizen.

Over the course of the exchanges with representatives of the concerned department, the Ombudsman de Montréal also explained the type of changes that should be made to the regulatory text, should they deem it important to have the right to impose certain criteria of an architectural or heritage nature, before allocating a grant to a citizen.

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