Our rezoning request was also referred to the CRD Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC). At their meeting on January 18th, 2018, they made a motion to support the rezoning request and were in full support of the project.
Click on the above blog title to see the Driftwood article regarding the CRD PARC meeting last week – Monday, January 15th.
When the Islands Trust is rezoning for a development, PARC can request either 5% of the land or 5% of the cash value of the land. We made a presentation to them that we already intend to put a protective covenant on approximately half the land – and if PARC did request cash-in-lieu that would directly affect the affordability of the Dragonfly homes.
To see the article in the Aqua magazine, click on the above blog title. The Aqua was an insert in the January 10th, 2018 Driftwood newspaper.
As announced recently in the Driftwood’s Aqua, we have taken on a new project that we are calling Coastal House. The concept is to build a large home with 24 suites and a shared kitchen for affordable workforce rental, close to town on Eagle Ridge Drive. No rezoning necessary, or subdivision or variances. This project is still in the feasibility stage. Please see our press release which will be posted here on the website, on the Salt Spring Exchange and in the upcoming Driftwood. As explained in the press release, Dragonfly is moving along very well, but looks like it will still require another year of regulatory hurdles. So we are excited that Coastal House could break ground in 2018 !
We are working on a draft “Affordable Housing Agreement” which will be registered on title, to ensure that future home sales will remain in an affordable price range. This will be refined in consultation with the Islands Trust legal team.
In September, we registered ourselves as a not-for-profit society called Dragonfly Commons Housing Society. This was another essential step along the way and was a requirement from BC Housing. In November, the Society was able to apply and receive a CMHC Seed Funding Loan at zero-interest to carry on with the pre-development costs. We are proud that so far we have only spent $30,000 in pre-development (site planning, home designs, Riparian Area reports, surveying, drainage plan, etc). This has all been covered by the CMHC Seed Funding Grant. Much of the work going on behind the scenes is done by Fernando and Tami and the steering committee, as volunteers, instead of paying consultants. This in an effort to keep the bottom line (i.e. the home prices) as low as possible.
We are working on our licence for the well that we drilled last year. Because there was a new Water Act in 2016, things are bogged down in the FLNRO offices. We submitted our application for the new groundwater licence in August and were not assigned a Water Officer until December 2017. She has been very helpful in working through some details and it is now in the “pipeline”, hopefully we will receive it in 3-6 months.
Similar to the rezoning process, the Province (MOTI) sends out our subdivision request to a number of agencies. This in fact duplicates a number of the referrals, but we have been told there is no way to “batch” the referrals together. We have heard back from some agencies already. Within this process, BC Hydro has contacted us and we will be working with them to design the hydro service to the development.
Now that the rezoning process is coming along, we decided to start up the subdivision process. This is a separate application to the Province of BC, in the case of Salt Spring Island it is handled by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI). We submitted the application in November 2017 and heard back quickly from them. They will be looking at the development to make sure it can work and will consider many aspects: water, sewer, site planning, traffic, hydro, parking, geotechnical issues.
The Islands Trust has sent out our rezoning request to be reviewed by a number of agencies, about 30 different agencies (APC, CRD commissions, Provincial agencies, etc), plus 14 First Nations groups. This gives all these agencies a chance to give their input. Unfortunately, all these referrals take time. We have heard back from some of them and so far there have been no concerns from any agency.