Ville de Lorraine, et al. v. 2646-8926 Québec inc.

(Quebec) (Civil) (By Leave)


Municipal law - By-laws, Validity - Municipal law - By-law - Validity - Excess of jurisdiction - Disguised expropriation - Reasonable time for instituting action in nullity - Whether adoption of restrictive zoning by-law, in this case by-law creating conservation zone, in itself constituted abuse of power and was therefore ultra vires act - Civil Code of Québec, art. 952 .


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On July 7, 1989, the respondent 2646-8926 Québec inc. paid $1,286,000 to purchase land in a residential zone of the appellant town of Lorraine. In 1991, the town passed a by-law (by-law U-91, replaced in 2010 by by-law URB-03) that changed the zoning for 60% of the respondent’s land in order to create a conservation zone, thereby preventing any residential development on that part of the land. In late 2001, the respondent’s majority shareholder learned of the by-law and discovered that the appellant had put in some infrastructures for hiking and cross-country skiing on part of its land, including culverts, stairs, fences and public benches. After contacting the town of Lorraine, which refused to amend its by-law, the respondent brought an action in nullity against the by-law in November 2007, seeking damages and the removal of the infrastructures. It also brought an action in nullity against by-law 10-02 of the appellant regional county municipality of Thérèse-De Blainville, which implemented a development plan that also changed the zoning for the respondent’s land.