Fire Routes - Private Property

AnnaXWZ
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Fire Routes - Private Property

by: AnnaXWZ on
Wed Aug 08, 2012 2:48 pm

Hi,

My friends live in a condo building in Thornhill with the main entrance looking to a 2-way road. Actually that road ends at the end of the building. There is a typical “Fire Route, No Parking” sign stick to the building that I believe means you cannot park on the side of the road along the building. Does this mean that you are not allowed to park on the opposite side of the road either? There are no other signs on the opposite side.

The problem is that for years people have been parking on that side of the road leaving the build road side empty for emergency vehicles, but last days the property management started calling to a towing company and requesting to take the cars away. Is this legal? Everyone got quite shocked because I mentioned before this was not an issue for years and there are prohibited signs on that side.

I'd be glad to hear any advices on how to handle this situation. Is there a way for people to get their money back form that private towing company or from the property management?

Thanks!


iFly55
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by: iFly55 on
Wed Aug 08, 2012 7:31 pm

not sure if Thornhill falls under the City of Vaughan or Markham, regardless... look online or call the city and find out their designated fire route by-laws, it should state clearly where the fire route is located

simply erecting a fire route sign, does not make it a fire-route unless there is an associated by-law that supports it

i don't think you can get your money back from the towing company, but you can definitely talk to property management and see if there is any recourse there; the reason that parking enforcement uses towing is because it's a non-refundable and immediate penalty, whereas a parking ticket is something long-term and not really all that effective especially if compliance is low


AnnaXWZ
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by: AnnaXWZ on
Fri Aug 10, 2012 4:07 pm

Thanks for your reply!
Thornhill is the City of Vaughan and their Fire Route definition by BY-LAW NUMBER 1-96 is:

“Fire Route” means a private roadway not less than 6 meters wide, providing vehicular access to or from a designated building and designated by this By-law as a fire route and shall include any part of a parking lot designated by visible markings or markers as a fire route.

Not sure what "shall include any part of a parking lot designated by visible markings or markers as a fire route" means, but likely if a whole road is only 6 meters wide (I didn't measure but it sounds to be right for a 2-lane road), both sides are supposed to be the fire route. No clue why the property management decided to enforce this after so many years with no any notice to the residents and visitors. That looks like they now have an interest paid by the towing company for each taken car.




AnnaXWZ
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by: AnnaXWZ on
Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:23 am

Another quotation from By Law 1-96 "A private roadway providing access to or from a designated building and where fire access route signs have been erected, is hereby designated as a fire route." So having a sign seems to be enough to make a route a fire route.

The road in question is 7 meters wide. A car is approx 1.8 meters, so a half of that car was on the designed fire route. But people don't carry a tape-line with them to measure who wide each road is. Moreover, they are not really supposed to know all by laws. The property management should put a no parking sign on the opposite side of the road. Doubt though there is a chance to negotiate with them about getting money back.


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by: Simon Borys on
Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:17 pm

AnnaXWZ wrote:Moreover, they are not really supposed to know all by laws. The property management should put a no parking sign on the opposite side of the road. Doubt though there is a chance to negotiate with them about getting money back.
Actually, you are supposed to know all the by-laws. Ignorance of the law is not a defence in court, no matter how obscure or unintelligible the law is. Of course the reality is that NO ONE is aware of every law and people can certainly unknowingly run afoul of the law. Still, that doesn't afford you a defence.

The second thing I wanted to mention is that if the vehicle was improperly/unlawfully towed, and I'm not weighing in on that in this case as I haven't read the thread closely enough, then you may be able to sue the property management company to reclaim your losses, since they authorized it. You're not likely going to get anything directly from the towing company.
http://www.boryslaw.ca
NOTHING I SAY ON HERE IS LEGAL ADVICE.


AnnaXWZ
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by: AnnaXWZ on
Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:58 pm

Hi Simon,
Generally, you are right. Not knowing a by-law cannot be an excuse. If you park a car at a road, which is supposed to be a fire route, let say at the very first time, and the property management arranged its towing, this is one story. However, if you have been parking it there for 2 years in front of the building security eyes, and others have been doing the same, and this wasn't an issue for the property management until the very last few weeks, they have actually broken the equitable estoppel practice towing your car and this could be very negotiable in a court. If they decided to enforce a proper parking on the road, they should have put a new no parking sign on the opposite side to avoid any confusion. The road looks wide enough to assume there is enough room for designated fire route and for parking cars.


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