A reasonable set of by-laws will contain none that have past their use by date. By-laws about architectural guidelines are in point.
There are those who are fans of seventies architecture but not many are ‘out’. The decade is a little too recent to be ‘retro-chic’ and some just haven’t got around to replacing that mission brown fence or that amber beer bottle coloured glass feature panel on the front porch. Be that as it may, there is no good reason to enshrine these standards in by-laws for the enclosing of balconies and force our children, and our children’s children to live with these aesthetic atrocities.
A by-law that thirty years ago, before the advent of seamless glass, imposed a standard for enclosing balconies with the permission of the ‘council’ as committees where then pretentiously called, with brown framed windows of a certain size, all in the name of consistently when viewed from a Boeing 747 is not today, a reasonable by-law, if it ever was. Yet some poor wretch among the many that went a little early with their renovations and conformed to this standard will demand that the by-laws be observed by the owner of the penthouse with the million dollar harbour view undertaking renovations featuring floor to ceiling seamless glass walls.
Unreasonable by-laws encourage unreasonable behaviour both in the breach and the enforcement. By-laws are a legitimate way of enforcing community standards, including those of an architectural type but they must be written with enough flexibility to enable a building to age gracefully but then face the reality that it’s time for a little brow lift and a tummy tuck if you are to keep up with the neighbours.