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Westmount building plans hush-hush Court testimony. Westmount neighbours battle over scenic view JAN RAVENSBERGEN, The Gazette Published: 6 hours ago Anytime a Westmount homeowner wants to renovate part of a building or add an extension, their plans are considered confidential - and not the business of any of their neighbours. That's longtime Westmount policy, architect Julia Gersovitz, chairperson since 2001 of the municipality's powerful planning advisory committee, testified in Quebec Superior Court yesterday. Other than Westmount urban-planning staff, city councillors and the mayor, "we at the (advisory committee) do not discuss the cases that are brought to us with anyone because it seems to us that would be a breach of confidentiality," Gersovitz told Justice Robert Mongeon. Two other architects and city councillor Cynthia Lulham sit with Gersovitz on the committee, which she told the court operates by consensus, never takes votes and is responsible for vetting all proposed building-exterior work that requires a municipal permit. Gersovitz is a historic-preservation specialist who is a longtime board member of Heritage Montreal, a practising architect and an auxiliary professor of design at McGill University. A green light her committee gave last March to homeowner Steven Goldberg to add another storey to his home at 27 Bellevue Ave., near the top of Mount Royal, did not require any consultation with nearby homeowners whose panoramic views of Montreal, the St. Lawrence River and the Montérégie vista would be affected, Gersovitz testified. "We have no mechanism for that," she told the court. In a case that has aroused considerable interest, Mongeon has been asked by Mireille Raymond, of 20 Sunnyside Ave., to quash Goldberg's permit. A higher roofline, Raymond contends, would substantially destroy her south-facing view of the city and environs. Hearings on the case continue today. In a related development, at an 8 a.m. council meeting yesterday, councillors Nicole Forbes and John de Castell reversed positions they'd taken Aug. 25 - and voted in favour of a modified version of the permit for Goldberg which would allow him his extra storey. The council vote was 5-2 in favour. On Aug. 25, a similar motion had been defeated 4-3. While de Castell complained about missing information earlier in the Goldberg permit process, he told council that "from everything that I've learned in this file, it (the Goldberg permit) appears to be legal." [email protected]