Proposed Victoria townhouses would sell with no down payment

Crowdfunding movement aims to stop development on Foul Bay Road

Through an innovative partnership with B.C. Housing, a new townhouse proposal on the border of Victoria and Oak Bay will sell units without a down payment.

The 18-unit development is designed for 902 Foul Bay Rd. where a fire destroyed a heritage house in 2016. Fairfield-based Aryze developments is in the early stages, seeking to remove a covenant and get rezoning in place.

Aryze is also in discussion with B.C. Housing to use the Affordable Home Ownership Program, with a goal of providing a $200,000 discount per unit. As such the homes are expected to sell for about $700,000 instead of their market value of $900,000, said Aryze’s principal operator Luke Mari.

Aryze developments has proposed an 18-unit townhouse complex at 902 Foul Bay Road that uses a partnership with B.C. Housing to sell at below market cost by about $200,000.
(Aryze Image)

Add to that the fact the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation will recognize the $200,000 discount to include the down-payment, and Mari expects he will have a lineup of first-time homebuyers seeking to get in the market.

“People are very curious about the program and once understood, they think it’s super,” Mari said. “That there is no down-payment is huge, because saving that much is so hard.”

The Affordable Home Ownership Program comes with some stipulations. Owners must be the primary resident of the home for the first five years and if they ever sell it, assuming the home has appreciated in value, they must surrender 10 per cent of the current fair market share.

In this case, that 10 per cent would go to the City of Victoria to fund future projects in their affordable housing fund, Mari said.

In total, the proposal has nine four-level buildings, which are three storeys high with one level partially below ground. Each has a two-storey suite below and one above, and units range from 1,100 to 1,300 square feet.

There are 16 parking spots, 18 car-share memberships and 36 bike parking spots.

To help the project along Aryze is removing a restrictive covenant removed that may prohibit development, and which some neighbours are oppose.

Peter Nadler lives in the vicinity and has started a Gofundme crowdfunding account to hire a lawyer with the purpose of stopping the development.

“We have a lot of issues with the development, the amount of units, the density, the destruction of trees, the layout, the lack of parking,” Nadler said, adding, “the neighbourhood is in favour of densification.”

Aryze has had similar covenants removed before, Mari said. They are generally seen as outdated, as the covenant registered in 1917 may restrict the property to four single family homes, Mari added. However, they must be removed by application in court. The process is easier when there is no opposition.

In this case, Nadler started the Gofundme to raise $30,000 to retain a lawyer to defend the covenant.

In total 29 trees of various sizes would come down.

“You look at a photo of Fairfield from 1937, it was a forest,” Mari said. “All the houses there had to remove trees. This is nothing new. Many of them are quite small and we’re replacing [40].”

READ ALSO: Victoria neighbourhood takes city to court over variance approvals

Should the covenant be lifted, the proposal would require rezoning and a heritage-alteration permit, which have been applied for concurrently through the City of Victoria.

As of Friday the Gofundme account to oppose the development had raised $4,400 from 19 donors.

It’s actually the second time a group of Fairfield residents have attempted to challenge an Aryze development. Last September, John Wells and neighbours set out to challenge the Victoria council’s approval of variances to permit a 2.5 storey townhouse (the OCP permits two storeys) at 1720 Fairfield Rd., next to Hollywood Park.

READ MORE: Mixed-use density proposed for Oak Bay Avenue

reporter@oakbaynews.com

– This story was updated for clarity.

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