VALLEY - When it comes to selling her home, Judy Prodger feels like she has been lodged solidly between a rock and a hard place.
"Angry and frustrated all together," the 65-year-old Valley resident said of her sentiment, regarding the difficulties she has had in trying to sell her house on the upper end of Pictou Road.
Sometime after Prodger's husband died, almost two years ago, she decided she wanted to sell so she could move into an assisted-living apartment.
She received two "very solid offers," but deals fell through when the prospective buyers ran into difficulties surrounding insurance because the property is zoned commercial, as opposed to residential.
"There's a hundred and some thousand dollars insurance on this place. But if it burns down, I only get 75 per cent of it and I can't build on it again," she said. "What the hell am I doing here with a house that I can't do anything with?"
The area where her home is located had been zoned commercial prior to when she and her husband purchased it in 1994.
"But when my husband bought it, he did not know it was commercial," she said.
Prodger's property remains assessed for tax purposes as residential under a non-comforming clause that essentially grandfathers it as such. But because it is located within a commercially zoned area, regulations set out by the province under the Municipal Government Act stipulate that another home could not be re-built there should it burn down or otherwise be destroyed.
"What you have existing can continue to exist but we can't allow you to expand, or, and this is the kicking point, if it is fully destroyed or over 75 per cent (destroyed), you can't rebuild residential in that zone," said Colin Forsyth, a development officer with the Municipality of Colchester.
"From my point of view, it's not a zoning problem, it's more an insurance issue."
However, Liz Cosgrove a representative with MacDonald Chisholm Trask Insurance (which recently purchased the insurance company that insures Prodger's home) said she does not understand why insurance would be an issue either, given the circumstances.
"I'm totally perplexed as to why that might be," she said, of why the property cannot be properly insured by a prospective buyer.
While most residential insurance policies do carry a "same site requirement" clause that states a home that is destroyed must be rebuilt on the same property, Cosgrove said, "you can get that removed from your policy" in situations with extenuating circumstances.
Before offering further comment, however, Cosgrove said she wanted time to follow up on Prodger's specific situation in an effort to have it clarified.
That can't come soon enough for Prodger who said she has lived through too many anxiety-filled moments and "many, many sleepless nights" trying to deal with the situation.
"It makes me mad. I'm really disappointed," she said.