VIDEO: Low-Martin House Owner in Court Fighting Zoning Issue
A court fight is on the horizon over gatherings being held at a historic home in Windsor.
Neighbours have issued formal complaints over events being hosted at the Low-Martin House.
The 4,800 sq. ft. Walkerville home was built in 1928 and was restored by Vern Myslichuk after he purchased it in 2012. Since then, he's hosted parties and fundraising events at the historic mansion on the corner of Ontario St. and Devonshire Rd.
Myslichuk says he's taken great pride in sharing the home built by rum runner Harry Low. It was also owned by Paul Martin Sr. for more than 30 years, serving as the boyhood home of former Prime Minister Paul Martin Jr.
Myslichuk, the owner of Better Made Cabinets, tells CTV Windsor holding events at the home is something city officials say they can't overlook because the home isn't zoned as a public hall.
"Do I want to have the Kidney Foundation here, The Cancer Society, Alzheimer's [Society], yes. Do I want them here, absolutely. Do I want them to benefit from the house, absolutely," he says. "That's my way, you know, I've been fortunate enough I can actually live in this house and I want to be able to share it. This is my way of giving back."
The City of Windsor doesn't have a problem with Myslichuk's philanthropy, but officials say they can't ignore zoning bylaws according to Supervisor of Licensing Craig Robertson.
"Once we're using the building or parts thereof for public assembly, we do license public halls and fits under that category, so a license would be required in this instance," he says.
Myslichuk says he hasn't made any money by opening his house and any funds he does collect, cover the cost to clean up after events.
He doesn't want to have to rezone his home to keep hosting members of the community.
"I don't want it to be a hall, I don't want it to be a venue, I don't want to have all kinds of events here, that's not what I want to do," he says. "There needs to be a halfway, a middle ground, There has to be something in-between that."
While Myslichuk might have good intentions, Robertson says the city has no choice but to react because of complaints from neighbours.
He says lines have been crossed, lines designed to protect everyone involved.
"Once you start inviting the general public inside your building and you're charging a fee for it and conducting business it falls under that realm of public halls," he says. "If there's an issue that happens it puts the corporation in liability as well as the homeowner. These bylaws are in place to protect everybody."
The issue is now a case in Provincial Court and Myslichuk is due back in court on June 12.