Castle owner feeling cramped

Bonnie
Bonnie Belec
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Seeking more land for privacy

A man who built a castle in the town of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove has found that his secluded oceanfront property isn’t so secluded after all.

A private property sign sits on land next to a house off Marine Drive known as the castle. A hiking trail runs right next to the house. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

James Zaleski moved into the towering, turreted structure in 2007.

It’s nestled on the cliffs of Logy Bay surrounded by pristine woods and native shrubs and bush. Zaleski purchased 15 acres of private land off Middle Cove Road in 2001.

Last month, the American engineer and businessman — who began his career, according to businessweek.com, “in advanced avionics programs for the Apollo 13 rescue and historic moon landings” — filed an application with the town looking to acquire more land in order to create a buffer.

“We would like to purchase a section of Crown land that borders our property on the east side,” Zaleski wrote in the application.

“We have a problem where the hikers on the East Coast Trail are getting off the trail and hiking across the Crown land behind our house and looking into our bedroom windows and down on our rear patio.

“Because of the topography of our lot, our house was built against the southeast property line at the minimum allowed setback. The house is set down so the second floor is level with the Crown land behind us.

“This presents an annoying and unsafe condition, where hikers are looking directly into our bedroom windows. As such we would like to purchase 50 metres of Crown land that is adjacent to our southeast property line which would provide enough of a buffer where hikers could not see in our bedroom windows,” states the application.

The dimension of the land, according to the documents, is 50 metres by 277 metres, or about three acres.

Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove Mayor John Kennedy told The Telegram Friday that when a resident wants to buy Crown land in the town, a municipal recommendation form has to be filled out by the town and sent to the provincial government.

That wasn’t done in the Zaleski case.

“The land is on reserve to MUN since the 1990s, which means the land is alienated unless MUN decideds they’re not interested in it anymore,” Kennedy explained.

He said if that freeze is lifted the Crown land would become available and the town could entertain applications for it provided the development meets the zoning requirements.

Kennedy said that area of Logy Bay, which is also home to the Ocean Sciences Centre, is zoned coastal marine.

A spokesman for the Department of Natural Resources, which oversees Crown lands, emailed a statement to The Telegram Friday about the reserved land.

It says MUN applied for the land next to the Ocean Sciences Centre in Logy Bay in 1992  for a deep water intake for an aquaculture facility  under construction.

“The reserve was established and our lands branch are in the process of contacting MUN to see if it is still required. If it isn’t and it’s cancelled, Crown land applications must be first approved by the Town of Logy Bay–Middle Cove–Outer Cove and the purpose must be in conformity with the municipal plan.”

Part of that plan is the preservation of the town’s coastline.

Kennedy said the town is actively involved with the East Coast Trail Association in trying to secure land to make sure the trail goes through the town, or, in areas where there is a trail existing, that there is a green belt around it.

He said the trail near Zaleski’s property is not part of the East Coast Trail, but is one that was used by fishermen more than 100 years ago, and people still enjoy the hike.

“Unfortunately, the existing trail went through the land that Mr. Zaleski owns. The association would like to use the original trail, but Mr. Zaleski isn’t in agreement with that, and where it is private property there’s nothing can be done. So what the association did was route it so that you have to leave the trail, go onto the road and go back onto the coastline when you get past Mr. Zaleski’s property,” Kennedy said.

“There are areas where they have gained permission from private land owners to have the trail on their land, but in this case Mr. Zaleski didn’t want it there so there’s  nothing the town could do, or the association,” said the mayor.

Kennedy said the town tries to encourage development while also helping maintain public access to the coastline and hiking trails.

“For example, we have a proposed subdivision in Middle Cove and we’ve entered into an agreement that in order for that to go ahead — again, the existing trail crosses (the developer’s) property — he has agreed to turn that over to the town as green space with a buffer to ensure the trail will be kept there. On top of that, we have a 30-metre no-development buffer on all the oceanfront — even if you own the land you can’t develop within 30 metres of the cliff’s edge,” he said.

Zaleski couldn’t be reached for comment.

bbelec@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Ocean Sciences Centre, Department of Natural Resources, East Coast Trail Association

Geographic location: Logy Bay, MUN, Middle Cove Road Middle Cove–Outer Cove

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Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Jason
    December 15, 2013 - 20:35

    Got to love the rich exercising their ego and wallet.

  • Gerry
    December 09, 2013 - 09:57

    What a sin. Maybe I should complain about the people walking the sidewalk in front of my place... they can see in my windows sure! Come on City Hall, reroute that foot traffic around my house! ROADS NEED TO BE CLOSED ASAP!

  • dee57
    November 27, 2013 - 10:51

    Seems like mistakes were made all around. Don't agree with hikers looking in the windows, but you can't really blame people for being curious about this novel structure. Hikers should stay on the trail and not be so intrusive; the owner should erect a privacy fence or hedge and invest in some curtains or tinted glass.

  • Saucy
    November 24, 2013 - 20:24

    What's that? Newfies are a nosey bunch? No, don't believe it for a second. I would never believe that a Newfoundlander would purposely go out of their way to gawk at something. I mean, what's next, stopping and staring at traffic accidents? Oh, wait...

  • Rebel
    November 24, 2013 - 19:42

    There isn't anywhere in this article where it states that hikers ACTUALLY go onto HIS property..... As "dontgetmestarted" said, there are thousands more people that go through the Battery than on that trail.

  • ian
    November 24, 2013 - 19:23

    Plant bigger trees. Problem solved. maybe a motion sensor activated barking dog sound. I could do that for you. Or you could hire me to stand there every day and make sure people dont look in. either is feasible.

  • dontgetmestarted
    November 24, 2013 - 13:52

    So all those people who live in the Battery & suffer the thousands of people who look in their windows and walk over their decks have to put up with it because it is a well used trail but this guy doesn't. Get tinted glass.

  • Anon
    November 24, 2013 - 11:32

    I realize he built his house in a very public place, but that does not give people the right to walk up & look in their windows. The owner should have expected to have people walking by. I do not think he should be able to purchase more public land. I think he should put up a fence so people can not get to his house .

  • Kris
    November 24, 2013 - 09:47

    I don't think the trail is the problem here. He is complaining that people are going off of it and coming down and looking into his bedroom windows. Would you wan't a bunch of strangers looking into your bedroom windows? I wouldn't! I don't care how much money he has, he deserves his privacy just as much as the rest of us.

  • Skeptical Cynic
    November 24, 2013 - 09:11

    The majority of the posters on here confirm the impression that Newfies can be a bitterly envious and xenophobic lot. Mr. Zaleski is a law-abiding property owner who would prefer he and his family not to be observed on their patio or in their bedrooms, and who else on here making the snide, childish remarks wouldn't? Furthermore, who else on here would be directly impacted in a negative way by Mr. Zaleski's request for a buffer? Who of you would even bother submitting a comment if Mr. Zaleski was native to NL rather than a "rich American". It seems apparent that the admirable success of Mr. Zaleski as well as the manner in which he chooses to enjoy that success, and for which no doubt he has worked very hard to attain, has embittered the under-achievers amongst us. Well that's just bloody-well tough for them, I'd say.

    • Michael
      November 24, 2013 - 13:34

      Newfoundlander's are lucky because much of the province is crown land accessible to the public, even in close proximity to a large city like St. John's. This is due mainly to a small population and lack of arable land. Most other places in Canada near large urban populations are private land not accessible to the public. Logy Bay is a beautiful place only 5 mins from the city, it should be accessible to everyone, not just some super rich person. Its not about jealousy or under achieving, its about keeping traditional rights to the land that our provinces enjoys.

    • Skeptical Cynic
      November 24, 2013 - 15:17

      You build such a structure in Newfoundland or ANYWHERE, people are going to want to see it. As for looking in windows, how would anyone know if it is a bedroom or not. There are all kinds of property owners that have decks and windows and they can be seen from other neighbours. Build it and people will come. Guess he should have bought Little Bell Island. MAYBE people don't like the fact that its Crown Land, where people that are born in Newfoundland can't even get any, let alone an American.

    • Townie
      November 24, 2013 - 20:33

      @Michael - "Its not about jealousy or under achieving, its about keeping traditional rights to the land that our provinces enjoys." If it was really about "traditional rights" why did they sell the land in the first place? Tradition second to greed (and I'm not talking about the rich american either)

    • Gerry
      December 09, 2013 - 10:00

      I'd say the same thing about a Newfoundlander who is trying to deny his fellow NLers access to the land that we all share, to the coastline that belongs to all of us. In fact I've been much harder on natives in the past because they should know better. The entire coast of this province should be left for future generations, not cordoned off by the greedy few.

  • Bryan
    November 24, 2013 - 08:57

    Serves him right. He refused to let the hiking trail at the front of his property. THIS is what caused the hikers having to take this route. So he caused his own problem!

  • Anne
    November 24, 2013 - 08:22

    OH NO, now the American's are buying our Crown land. Yankee Doodle went to town riding on a pony (looking for Crown land): He stuck a feather in his hat, and called it macaroni.

  • John
    November 24, 2013 - 07:36

    This trail has been used by the public for decades, if not centuries. That should give the trail the right to be used by the public because it has the precedent for so long. And besides that, how would he know that people are looking into his rooms. Decks are used throughout the world and many have public view.

    • Carl Sterling
      November 24, 2013 - 12:32

      John, by law, you are incorrect. Just because this land has been used by hikers for a long time, does not give hikers a right to be on Mr. Zaleski's property. He has every right to have a problem with this. Even if they weren't looking in his windows or whatever the case may be, no persons has the right to be on private property, unless invited. C. Sterling St. Phillips, NL

    • Rebel
      November 24, 2013 - 18:54

      To C. Sterling, St. Phillips, NL. There isn't anywhere in the article where James Zaleski states the people actually come onto HIS property.

  • Ann RIng
    November 24, 2013 - 06:21

    If people were staring in the hikers bedroom windows they'd be quick enough to complain and I wouldn't blame them. I hope this gentleman gets permission for the land. He deserves privacy in his home. With all the robberies here lately I wouldn't want strangers roaming around my house either.

  • kevin
    November 24, 2013 - 03:55

    Mr Zaleski.....You want to stop a generation of Newfoundlanders from using a path that is centuries old......You're just mean.

    • Townie
      November 24, 2013 - 20:12

      I hardly imagine that was the tone of the generation of Newfoundlanders when they gladly grabbed at the mound of cash he must have paid for that land. You feel no guilt at all invading his privacy and you are calling him mean?? I think he should build a god awful eyesore of a wall blocking view and lets see who's whining about invasion then. Back off and leave a man his privacy.

  • Kent
    November 23, 2013 - 22:07

    Aaaah I see all the my fellow friendly NFLDers coming out of the woodwork again... Frankly, I don't blame Mr. Zaleski.. These newsbags go out of their way and go off the trail to snoop around this man's property... And as for the for curtain suggestion; the reason we have windows is to look out them, not to cover them up. The friendly NFLDer myth is just that; a myth... People here would look up you a$$ if given the opportunity, and then ask what your problem is when you complain about it... The only thing I would agree with with regard to the moronic posts here, is that the man should go elsewhere. Though my reasoning for it would be to get away from all the busy-bodies here who are in serious need of a life.

  • Michelle
    November 23, 2013 - 21:58

    There are some wonderful items to cover windows. Blinds and curtains are amazing!

  • POP
    November 23, 2013 - 21:00

    It's curtains for you Zaleski!

  • bob
    November 23, 2013 - 20:11

    This guy must be into some freaky stuff in his bedroom .. lol. but you can't put a dollar sign on privacy though. I hope he is allowed to get the extra land.

  • Mike
    November 23, 2013 - 16:28

    Mr. Zaleski can close the bedroom Window Drapes while using his bedroom. Hickers are probably seldom walking there. He will find a solution.

  • Jennifer
    November 23, 2013 - 14:42

    Curtains? Blinds? What did he expect - build a castle and no one is going to want to come see it! I can assure you I don't live in an expensive home but I can afford blinds!

  • Baytoven's Lady
    November 23, 2013 - 13:01

    what kind of idiot builds a castle without a moat?! build castle, complete with moat, throw a few alligators in there.........problem solved

  • Marshall Art
    November 23, 2013 - 12:46

    I, King Whinesalot , have ordered the servants to raise the drawbridge, drain the moat and man the turrets. Peasants have been seen scampering among the bushes and they do not avert their eyes as we expected of them. Off with their scruffy heads !!!!. Send a message by courier pigeon to this hamlets' council.

  • Sleeveen
    November 23, 2013 - 12:28

    So, chances are he knew all about the trail and traffic before he built there and decided to build it anyway. Are we suppose to feel sorry and change things for the poor man in his castle?

    • Gerry tobin
      November 24, 2013 - 18:25

      Nobody deserves to have ignorant idiots invading their privacy. I have personally seen these low life's climb this mans gate and go right up to his windows and doors. I hope he puts up a big electric fence. As for this trail used for past hundred years. Not true as I am from there and fishermen used another access to their wharf area

  • Barbara Peddle
    November 23, 2013 - 12:15

    He built the castle but forgot the moat! Or he could just put up a privacy fence along that side of the property where the trail runs. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out :)

  • seanoairborne
    November 23, 2013 - 12:07

    He's a "millionaire"therefore he must be a bad person to have earned (honestly) all his money in that nasty free enterprise system!Right!I get it,kinda like penis envy for many of you letter writers,huh?I'm outraged that this property was bought and developed by this honest taxpayer so he could have some privacy.He should have just turned it over to some poor noble (LOL) working or homeless people after it was built! Shame on him for being wealthy!Got it!!

    • Wild Rose
      November 23, 2013 - 14:56

      I agree totally Private Property is freedom. We should be allowed to protect our private property from tresspassers because the police won`t do it.

    • Lyndon
      November 23, 2013 - 19:38

      @ seanoairborne More power to em if he has millions but very few places anywhere that are built around cities have much privacy . If he was looking for genuine privacy he should have built it in a more secluded place , not next door to several tourist attractions and a booming urban sprawl like St. John's and environs .

    • Shawn Ferrie
      November 24, 2013 - 06:54

      When you build a spectical it is hard for people not to want to look at it. May I suggest drapery.

    • seanoairborne
      November 24, 2013 - 12:58

      I agree with all of the responders to my missive.I was sarcastically trying to point out that there were quite a few letter writers that seemed to resent this mans money.As for the privacy issue,I agree with the three people who responded to my sarcasm!!

  • Zila
    November 23, 2013 - 12:04

    Get window-glass tainted

  • mary stewart
    November 23, 2013 - 11:42

    Land for sale on Mars.Someday you,ll get 6 feet.And come on by we never seen a castle before lighten up have us all in for a cuppa tea and a bun.Could be worse move to spencer street the passers by come in through the windows.God bless ya you need prayers.Cry me a river

    • Lyndon
      November 23, 2013 - 19:28

      @ mary stewart Your comment is priceless and so true . Made me laugh out loud . Thanks for that .

  • David Wilson
    November 23, 2013 - 11:28

    Curtains bye, have you ever heard of them? I think the. ECT should build a suspension bridge across Logy Bay for the hikers. Then this guy can look out his front window and watch all the hikers.

  • Christopher Chafe
    November 23, 2013 - 11:22

    Simple solution.....set up camera's around his property and charge all those peeping tom's with invasion of privacy.

  • Waverly
    November 23, 2013 - 11:22

    Sounds like "I'm an American, you can't do this to me!" type guy. Sorry, bud. This is Newfoundland and we respect people's historical right to commune with nature. We also get along with people for the greater good. You made a mistake. You built a castle and expect people not to look at it? You bought a trail, expect people to use it? Welcome to the real world!

    • Townie
      November 24, 2013 - 20:19

      "We also get along with people for the greater good" Sure you do, that's why people are still gawking in his windows.

  • Boo
    November 23, 2013 - 10:58

    Oh boo hoo. People have been hiking the shoreline for hundreds of years, bozo. If you want utter seclusion, go somewhere else you crybaby

  • Wallace Ryan
    November 23, 2013 - 10:55

    Get curtains.

  • Peggy
    November 23, 2013 - 10:39

    Signs signs, everywhere signs, Do this, dont do that, cant you read the signs? Who gives you the right to keep mother nature in....lol

  • david
    November 23, 2013 - 10:36

    Mr. Zaleski obviously wants privacy above all else....yet he designed a "house" that screams "look at me!" to anyone who might pass by, and should reasonably have been expected to draw local people out to see it for themselves. Sorry, Mr. Rocket Scientist, but Rule #1 of castle construction is to build them where they provide maximum privacy and protection from the "roaming hordes". You screwed up.

  • mj
    November 23, 2013 - 10:35

    With the info in this story I am wondering how/why this land was sold to begin with. Also, with 15 acres, albeit rocky and hilly, couldn't this engineer find a way to build his "castle" further from his property line. The trail being used passes near his property, it is not on it. People have the right to use that trail. All he has to do is use blinds/curtains/shears. Instead of complaining, maybe he should be writing about, and promoting, the active and healthy locals who aren't sitting on their behinds getting fat. Better still, strike up a conversation with the passer-bys, might get a feed of moose, a fresh head of pesticide free lettuce or a bottle of pesticide/additive free rhubarb jam..

  • Amanda
    November 23, 2013 - 10:29

    I had the same issue living in downtown St. John's so I decided to put up a set of blinds. Worked like a charm. Get over yourself!

  • Gern
    November 23, 2013 - 10:03

    The poor guy! My heart breaks for him. Maybe he should just go home!

  • Doug
    November 23, 2013 - 09:23

    As a non-multi-millionaire Ammerican who would consider sacrificing a body part to live on The Rock, I have a proposal for Mr. Zaleski: let me live on your land for free and I'll make sure those pesky "outdoorsy" people don't look in your window. I've gotten quite good at saying "Move along. Nothing to see here." Alternatively, my family is quite good at servitude and conducts itself with the utmost propriety. Your choice…

  • W Bagg
    November 23, 2013 - 08:33

    shoulda thought more about that when you put the house close to your property line. engineers huh!

  • Me
    November 23, 2013 - 08:16

    99% of us have that problem. People walk in front of my house and can look in my living room window. Neighbours behind me can see in the bedroom window. That's why they invented blinds. If it really bothers him, put up a fence and blinds. That's easier than buying more land.

  • K Power
    November 23, 2013 - 07:59

    Your headline is misleading. The property owner does not indicate he feels cramped, implying 15 acres is not enough, he indicates a hiking trail runs close to his home in which his privacy is compromised....why mislead, because the headline is more controversial and inflammatory???? Shame on you for these poor journalistic tactics...you are a paper not a tabloid.

  • Bobbi
    November 23, 2013 - 07:59

    The way I see it there was a mistake made when the land was sold in the first place. I have no idea how Zaleski acquired the land. It seems he is greedy person and does not want to cooperate with the ECT which is good for the community and brings in a lot of tourists. I would suggest Zaleski send one of his servants to wal-mart or target and purchase some curtains like everybody else because after all he is the King of the castle and we're all dirty rascals.

    • Townie
      November 24, 2013 - 20:24

      The greed ones are the people who charged him a fortune for the piece of land in the first place and are still demanding free access to it. If you wanted to keep the trail then why did you sell the land in the first place?? I'll tell you why, because your greedy hands were empty.

  • P F Murphy
    November 23, 2013 - 07:57

    Seems to me that there would be a lot of better uses for the enjoyment of this parcel of land by a lot more people than just the isolation of one multi-millionaire. I wonder if he has ever heard of the concept of curtains?

  • Laurie Roche
    November 23, 2013 - 07:07

    I'm sorry but I have no sympathy for this man. I'm from this community and I hate seeing people move in and try to change the dynamic of the town instead of trying to make it a better place. This guy doesn't even live in that house for most of the year. And cut off access to what was a public trail.

    • California Pete from NFLD
      November 23, 2013 - 12:35

      Put a hedge up and that will be it

    • Gerry tobin
      November 24, 2013 - 18:38

      Laurie think you missed the point. I own neighbouring land and was dumb enough to let east coast trail through. Now I have rude ignorant and dirty people leaving the trail to enter my land where they have left garbage broken beer bottles and even started a small forest fire that could have been devastating On long weekend in may. I now encourage all others to deny access to east coast trail due to the many ignorant and dirty people with no respect

    • Gerry
      December 09, 2013 - 10:08

      Mr. Tobin: no member or legitimate user of the ECT would treat your property and the trail with that much disrespect. You're having issues with hooligans, and unfortunately, they don't limit themselves to the ECT. Things like open fires are strictly prohibited on the ECT, and users obey these prohibitions. Most ECT trail users actually subscribe to a philosophy called Leave No Trace (http://www.leavenotrace.ca/). I'm sorry that you've had negative experiences, but I wish you'd put the blame where it belongs. The members of the ECT could be allies in this.