….a small, isolated and remote up-the-BC-coast village. Twenty five or so cabins sprinkled higgledy-piggledy on a slanted 10 acres of ocean front. It has a store, a cafe and a minimal amount of services although water, power and sewer are in. Power is communal solar and communal generator supplemented by your own small units. Plenty of water. Maybe 25 buildings. Population in the ‘village’ is around 40-50 in the summer, maybe half in the dead of winter. Population on the rest of the island is another 60 or so. Maybe 200 in the general vicinity, 300 in the political catchment area. The village has a school, a community centre and a dock complete with a post-office on it. Bi-weekly (every two weeks) doctor visits in the clinic. Yoga on Wednesday.
Your cottage site is amongst the 25 or so and consists of just enough land to build on and have a small garden. The rest of the property is the ‘commons’. It is a ‘village’ after all. You do not own the land. The village is incorporated and it owns the land and leases it to you for $1.00 a year for 25 years at a time. There are building guidelines so that the village is pleasant looking but it is NOT as tightly controlled as some controlled and gated suburbs in the city. Roughly speaking, you can build up to 750 sft, it can not exceed 1.5 storeys, it should probably be board-and-batten siding and metal roofing but not necessarily. It has to be somewhat minimalist in it’s power consumption but there will be telephone and internet. Other than that, you are off-the-grid for the most part.
Or, something along those lines…..basic needs, the environment, harmony, good taste and common sense prevails.
Generally speaking, you can have whatever windows you want, whatever door you want, whatever interior configuration you want and that sort of thing. But it has to be built to the national building code in most regards….a bit of relaxation when it comes to some things (wanna give stack-wall construction a try? Fine. Want some stonework? No problem)…..the village decides on your plan with consideration for others and environmentalism uppermost in mind. Until the village is populated, a small development group will decide what is permissible using the same criteria. But there will be emphasis on live and let live with respect and good manners for your neighbours. You want round windows and triangle doors? Go for it – no harm done.
The village CAN build your place for you….if you want. Or you can build it yourself if you want. You can do some of it and the village can do some of it….just work out the details on a per customer, per contract basis. Each household is independent. There will eventually be a village council but it’s mandate will be severely limited to maintenance and ‘problem solving’. No cars in the village but, instead, maybe golf carts, boardwalks, trails and paths. Real vehicles will be parked at the upper edge and will likely consist of few shared pick-ups as there is really no where to go. A couple of communal vans for book club maybe.
The ‘theme’ or spirit is that of a retirement village. Sleepy. NOT ‘party’. But with enough ‘other types’ sprinkled in to keep it from zombification. Some larger-building sites will be available for young families. Maybe. Some apartments for the needing-more-care types. Maybe.
Your entry fee is $25K or whatever all the services and the land costs determine (should be close to that in my estimation). Money held in trust with national law firm til we have enough to get going (likely 20 shares at least have to be sold but 8 have said yes so far). You get one of only 25 shares in the village corporation. It can be submitted in $10K chunks but it has to be all in before you undertake construction. Time limit: three years. The sum will be put towards building the infrastructure and buying the land. Every dollar accounted for. No profit taking. Just village building. The village will own the land but you will have a ‘share’ in the village ‘company’.
You can sell that share if you want to (after you have paid it off). Later. You will also own your house – when you build it. If you eventually leave, you sell your village share and your building (for whatever you can get for a house with round windows and triangle doors) or else you sell your village share and take your building with you. Most people would opt for the former.
“Hmmmmmm…..assuming everything you say is true and accurate with all the legal issues resolved and all that……25 sites…….10 acres……so, in effect, I own almost half an acre?”
Nope. You DO NOT OWN THE LAND! You lease it for a nominal sum. Likely a maintenance fee, too, for taxes and typical village expenses. Council controlled.
“But I own my house?”
Yes. Like you own your own car but pay to park it in the office parkade. Bigger space, tho. Prettier, too.
“Can I live there part-time? Like just for the summer?”
Yep. There will likely be summer-only-residents, seasonal (6-8) month types and full-timers. You can even rent it out if you want…or the village will act as rental management for you – for a fee.
“Got a place for my boat?”
Depending on size….yes. Probably. Maybe. The property has a water lot lease but the dock would have to be built. Same model as above, most likely.
“If you guys build my place for me, what is the cost?”
Don’t know. Different counter tops for different folks. But, generally speaking, think $200-250 a sft. All construction done on a cost-plus basis. Local builders. You see the receipts and you pay them plus 15% for the plus part going to supervision of the subtrades. The good part? No salary for the village council. Maybe an honorarium. The village is non-profit.
“Who picks my site?”
Typical mechanism. First come-first served. But they will all have water view and water access and be in a park-like setting.
“Why are you asking me this hypothetical question?”
Just wondering if there are enough people interested to make such a village work. If 25 of you said, “I like it, we’re in.”, then I may do it. Maybe not. Just wondering. First step though, would be to take deposits so that the land can be had and so you’d have to ‘pony up’ at least $10K pretty quick…say within three months. I won’t take any fees until I really do something and just buying the land is not fee worthy.
“Is this for real?”
No. Not yet. Depends on how you, dear reader, responds. If five of my readers do not step up then I cannot realistically expect to find the other 15 or so by way of marketing and advertising. I have five locals already indicating yes but, for a non-profit, minimal fee effort, I need no risk. Full commitment up front. I would need some serious encouragement to undertake this even then and you are the indicator. Or not. Either way, it’s OK with me. Just wondering………