Solutions

I don’t believe in complaining about problems without offering solutions.

I have previously outlined a number of actions which can be taken by our locally elected representatives, known as “local trustees,” to alleviate the housing crisis on Salt Spring.

This article will again offer those solutions.

  1. Legalize all 900 potential seasonal cottages on Salt Spring which were not legalized under the recent Bylaw 512.
  2. Legalize the use of suites on every property on Salt Spring.
  3. Rezone all Rural (R) and Rural Uplands (RU) properties to allow for a density of one permanent dwelling per 2 acres. (e.g. 10 acre properties may have up to 5 dwellings), with the following restrictions enshrined on title:
    1. On properties with more than one dwelling, all dwellings must be strata-titled via a building strata with designated common property and limited common property,
    2. Each building strata lot in excess of one dwelling on a property, must be covenanted, in favour of the Islands Trust, to restrict the sale price of the dwelling to the actual cost of the construction and sale, plus 25%. E.g. – Cost of construction and sale $200,000 – Sale price = $250,000, with a maximum ceiling sale price of $300,000 (as of 2020).
    3. Resale value of secondary dwellings will be restricted in the covenant to the purchase price plus the accumulated average, annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase, on Vancouver Island and the Capital Regional District, plus improvements up to a maximum of $5,000/yr, and $25,000 cumulative.
    4. Similarly, rents are to be pegged via covenant at a rate no more than 10% above amortized monthly cost of equivalent sale price at current 5 year fixed rate term mortgages. (e.g. $300,000 sale price = $1276/month, 5 year fixed, 25 year amortization. Add 10% = $127.00 = $1403/month rent. )
    5. Sales and rentals of secondary dwellings will be restricted to those who meet island resident/employee eligibility criteria.
  4. Apart from Islands Trust covenant ONLY CRD Building Inspection water, septic building code requirements need to be met prior to issuance of building permit.
  5. Tiny homes, Z240RV trailers and 5th wheels, are to be included within the definition of “mobile home” within the Land Use Bylaw.

Note that at the proposed maximum sale price, $300,000, minus 25%= $240,000 divided by approximate cost of construction $300/sf (2020) = 800 sf. maximum. Thus by capping the sale price, and profit, there is an automatic, de facto, tflexible, cap on the size of secondary dwelling size.

Given the caps are related to CPI’s, the theory is, as time moves along, pricing should follow suit.

Some of the components of the above solutions aren’t mine. I was advised of them in 2003 by Whistler Housing Authority consultant, Tim Wake.

Tim subsequently tried to get the message across to Trustees in 2011, but his advice was actually censored by them (see my expose at https://islandstrust.wordpress.com/2020/02/05/hopefully-post-mortem-comments-on-512/ ).

The benefit to the Community in implementing the above solutions is that they allow private property owners to become part of the solution. The 25% profit margin and caps, with reduced red tape, work hand in hand to encourage community housing creation.

All of the above bylaw changes could easily be implemented in less than 6 months.

BUT, that would require political will power that is apparently virtually nonexistent.

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