Comment 71173

By anon (anonymous) | Posted November 09, 2011 at 08:10:19 in reply to Comment 71167

Unfortunately in Hamilton -- which could possibly be the personal injury lawsuit capital of Canada -- I would not expect the city nor the fire department to ever make progressive changes that expose them in any way to potential frivolous lawsuits. So even if a building is next door to a fire hall with a wired and monitored alarm, we will never see a logical bylaw variance that allows an exterior fire escape. Because the city would assume that someone might stub their toe on their way out of the burning building and sue them for approving the variance.

I simply don't see any way out.

That being said, the old buildings are still ripe for adaptive re-use, with studios or two level apartments being much more easy to make legal - it's just going to be hard to squeeze in higher density residential in many of them.

What would be interesting is if the city would relax the restrictions and allow multiple units in the houses surrounding the retail areas. These houses might be easier to make legal because they have more space around them and are usually not as tall. This could help fill the market for smaller less expensive units which are harder to put in the commercial spaces.

If anyone reading this owns a building - don't remove external fire escapes or un-do residential uses. You gotta nurture that grandfather clause!

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