In a previous Breaker item, we noted the Town’s admission of having to re-do the “professional” calculation of the increase in value of the 2.59 hectare land parcel should the Todsens be successful in pulling it inside the Urban Containment Boundary (UCB) and subdividing the land into 16 individual building lots. Included with the Planning department’s documentation for the recent February 10, 2021 Public Hearing was an updated analysis with a startling opinion: “The subject property, if rezoned, is valued at $1,600,000.”
Let’s cut through the fog. Or is it smoke, hard to tell. What is not hard to tell is the market value of a good sized serviced building lot in that area.
Adjacent to the Todsens’ property are 18 lots originally intended to become the “Cottages” at Eaglecrest. These cottage lots are, on average, only half the size of the lots proposed in the Todsen subdivision, but are assessed a land value of roughly $300,000 each by the BC Assessment Authority. The assessed value of an 8,000 square foot lot under the typical modest bungalow in Qualicum Beach like our own is in the $300 – 350,000 range. A third grader can calculate that the 16 Todsen subdivision lots in total, without any buildings, would therefore be worth at least $4,800,000. Probably more, given that two homes could be built on most of the lots, and the lots themselves would range from a minimum of 9,700 square feet up to 14,700 square feet, according to the Todsens’ submitted specifications.
So how can the Town support the opinion that the aggregate land value of the subdivision would only be $1,600,000?
Our hunch — and it can only be a hunch given the lack of full disclosure and explanation by the Town to date — is that they are attempting to give the Todsens a huge financial break by calculating the hypothetical value of a 6.59 acre parcel that is inside the UCB and approved for development, but has not yet been sub-divided! In our opinion, a technicality — unless the real plan is to just get the parcel excluded from the UCB, zoned for development, but then sit on it as an investment.
Couldn’t happen, you say? Essentially, that is exactly what happened on the adjacent Cottages parcel.
Many years ago, the then owners of the Eaglecrest Golf Course, pleading financial duress, convinced a gullible Town – Administration and Council – to allow them to convert the driving range into eighteen modest homes – the old “affordable housing” ruse. Only in 2020 did some construction begin and, frankly, it doesn’t look like a “cottage” to these eyes. Meanwhile, the current land speculators who own the golf course appear to be looking for ways to convert half the course into condos.
To correct the misinformation that readers may have swallowed from other local ‘news’ sources, that story probably has very little to do with the modest lease payments to the Town for the portions of Town land that enable the 18 hole golf course to work.
The forecast is for continued fog until, and unless, the Town comes out from behind closed doors and tells us if they intend to, and are committed to, assess an additional 50% land lift when the “$1,600,000 parcel” gets formally subdivided into 16 individual lots, tripling again in value, with titles filed and individually assessed by the BC Assessment Authority. Maybe the Town will also tell us just what “amenities” the residents of Qualicum Beach could expect from the Todsen levy.
All of which will be moot if the Town instead sticks to the Town Planner’s original recommendation to turn down the Todsen application. Third reading is scheduled for the February 24, 2021 Council meeting.