If you are a home owner, tell us your Story or leave a comment of what you think?
One of our readers sent in this story, I felt it deserves a dedicated page all to itself.

Our story for a simple 4 foot extension request from the City or Richmond Hill Planning and Development department.

Here is our story. My wife and I wanted to expand one room 4 feet out from our home. We hired a professional to draw out the plan. My wife and I then made an appointment to meet with someone at the City of Richmond Hill to review our plans so that we could obtain our permits. Once we arrived we were lead to a room and we were asked to sit down. To our surprise a young woman came in and introduced herself as a coop student and will be the one looking over our plan. Although a little surprised, we continued by laying out the plan and started asking questions. Needless to say she could not answer any of them. She said she would note our questions and get back to us. I asked her if it was possible to meet with someone who had the knowledge to answer our questions and able to provide us with a building permit. This was simply to extend a wall 4 feet out. She kindly said everyone is too busy to meet with you. My wife answered by telling her,  you do realise we made an appointment to see someone? She answered she was sorry but that she would follow up on the questions we had. We left very unhappy with our experience and not impressed to say the very least. It took over 3 weeks before we got half our questions answered. Obviously, the town of Richmond Hill planning-building department staff are not considerate for your time and they need to improve on customer service. I think they need to be reminded we pay them their salary. To finish the story, we were told it would cost us over 20,000 dollars in permits to extend a wall 4 feet and this is 20,000 dollars before even starting the project. This was told to us verbally with no clear approach on how to obtain these permits. Frustrated, I began to ask questions to others in Richmond Hill, my neighbors, friends and developers who I would meet who had to deal with the town and they all experienced the same type of run around. We have many properties and have dealt with city hall in other municipalities and have never had a problem. I had a home build in Welland Ontario, renovations done in St. Catherine’s among many other projects. Never did I experience a problem. The town of Richmond Hill planning-building department is very disorganised, in our opinion, this needs to be addressed, it is not fair to the tax payers and residents of Richmond Hill.

We even met with our counsellor in person and this proved to be unfruitful as well. He admitted to the fact that the council was divided and bashed staff and the Mayor. He went on to admit there was nothing he could do for us and that the city right now is in shambles. Needless to say that department is disorganised and an embarrassment, working against development, we feel that instead of facilitating development, they prevent it by creating useless processes and adding red tape, they also work in closed isolation from the other departments, with no collaboration to enable projects to move along smoothly.

I would also like to ad that our last experience at a council meeting was a disaster. There were 10 members of council sitting before us and it was clear most did not prepare for the meeting. Questions asked by the members clearly showed that they did not read the documents before showing up. It was also clear that the council was divided. If the right side said yes, the left side said no. It did not matter what the discussion or decisions were about. It was clear that they were up one against the other with no regard for the best interest of the citizens of Richmond Hill. We were embarrassed for these individuals representing us. It was a circus and I hope after the elections everyone from is replaced with professionals who care. For all those who have experienced the same when dealing with the city, I invite you to share your story as well. It needs to be out in the open so that media and the public ask for change and get it. It is important the public are aware on how things truly are with the Town of Richmond Hill.
In conclusion, we gave up on the extension to our little home. The processed was too long and too costly to be warranted. Not because we could not afford it financially, but because we refused to invest more time, to meet with each department individually, to put more wasted money into the numerous permits and feed the bureaucracy that exists.

Good luck

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