902 Foul Bay Road
Site Context & History
Located at the junction of Quamichan, Redfern and Foul Bay, the subject site is within the Victoria neighbourhood of Gonzales but adjacent to the District of Oak Bay.
The site was previously occupied by a 1911 heritage house originally designed for Victoria lawyer David S. Tait. Sadly, in January of 2016 the home burned down and the property has sat vacant ever since.
The housing stock of the area ranges from heritage to bungalows and estate homes. While there is currently little multifamily housing in the area, the Official Community Plan envisions single family homes, duplexes, and townhouses in order to form a neighbourhood of diverse housing and tenures.
When we remove vegetation and outline the building footprints, what is being proposed is no larger than the existing zoning allowance for four single family homes or many of the existing homes in the area.
This location is well supported by walking, cycling, transit, parks, schools, retail and service offerings which makes it a great place for some incremental density.
Our inspiration for the architectural expression of the project came from the neighbourhood, which has many lovely craftsman era homes. A strong theme of the design is front gabled roof forms, fine textured cladding, either wood lapped siding or shingles.
Windows and balconies inset into the roof volume and classic front porches that are sheltered and look out over the street.
The proposed homes are arranged in two clusters at the Southwest and Northeast corners of the site. The cluster along Foul Bay Road are stepped in plan to follow the curve of the road.
The northwest corner of the site has been kept open to minimize building shadowing onto the neighbours to the North as these are their backyards that share a property line with the proposal.
This area holds 16 parking spaces, most of which will be sheltered and screened from view by a green roofed carport.
We developed a concept for the site that would be of a comparable scale to larger houses in the neighbourhood, that would maintain meaningful open space on the site, and provide respectful clearances and alignments with surrounding homes.
The series of roof gables calls out each townhouse as a distinct element and creates a house-scaled rhythm along Redfern Street and Foul Bay Road.
We envision the future residences nestled in a semi-wild landscape of native perennials, grasses and shrubs; creating an exciting visual contrast with the clean lines of the architecture and enhancing biodiversity within the urban ecosystem. The establishment of a Garry Oak meadow reflects the pre-development landscape of the neighbourhood and complements the existing Garry Oak trees, while also supporting the successional growth of a new Garry Oak grove. A variety of attractive native shrubs are arranged around the perimeter of the site to create a landscape buffer that also provides wildlife habitat. A formal clipped hedge along the property line and regularly spaced boulevard trees contain the wilderness within, and present an orderly and well kept face to the neighbourhood.
Foul Bay Street Elevation
The group of four is settled into a densely landscaped frontage with the natural topography sloping up to Foul Bay Road, meaning the average grade for this grouping is about 5’ below the level of the roadway.
Redfern Street Elevation
Sheltered front porches about 3’ above the ground connect to the sidewalk between screening trees. In addition, the first floor is raised to porch height in order to bring daylight into the basement spaces, that have windows looking onto landscaped lightwells. The roof heights step down to the North, transitioning to be more in keeping with the houses on Hawes Road.
Quamichan Street, looking East
On the Quamichan Street frontage, the Redfern cluster addresses the street with a covered entrance porch and the gabled roof profile is visible at the corner which includes small balconies inset into the roof volume
Foul Bay Ave, looking North
From the corner of Quamichan Street and Foul Bay Road, the view is dominated by the landscaped open space and the heritage rock wall.
Foul Bay Ave, looking South
These townhomes step Eastward to follow the curve of the road, emphasizing these as distinct volumes. The mid-tone grey has been selected for a warm, natural feel, like tree bark, that will harmonize with the surrounding trees.
From the subject property's doorstep there are diverse cycle routes, bus routes, and walking options. The City's 25 year transportation masterplan places even more focus and investment in alternative transportation options with additional transit service and bike lanes planned for the area.
The area is well served by local, collector, and secondary arterial road networks. The immediate neighbourhood is blessed with short neighbourhood blocks which is indicative of a fine grain road pattern. This road design allows for ease of movement through the area as there are multiple connectivity options in all directions. From the subject property, North/South movements are captured by Foul Bay Road, the main collector for this service. For East/West movements, Richardson Street, Oak Bay Ave, and Fairfield Rd are all within a short distance.
On-street parking availability near the subject property is as follows:
200m / 2.5 min walk/ 252 parking stalls
- Residential Parking Only: 1,021m or 113 stalls
- Unrestricted Parking: 1,247m or 139 stalls
400m / 5 min walk/ 841 parking stalls
- Residential Parking Only: 4,056m or 451 stalls
- Time Limited Parking: 719m or 80 stalls
- Unrestricted Parking: 2,796m or 311 stalls
Gonzales has the highest level of on-street parking availability in the City with an average of four parking stalls for every single dwelling unit.
The project is currently envisioned to fall under the BC Housing Affordable Homeownership Program (AHOP) whereby homes are sold below market value with the discount shared between the buyer and the City's affordable housing fund.
Benefit 1: Below Market Value Ownership
In the example above, a home that is appraised at $500,000 is discounted by 10% ($50,000) which means less of a financial burden to get into homeownership.
Benefit 2: Downpayment Support
This same home that has an appraised value of $500,000 is discounted by 10% to be sold for $450,000. The discounted $50,000 is considered a downpayment by CMHC. If the buyer was planning to place 15% ($75,000) as downpayment, their financial requirement is reduced from $75,000 (15%) to $25,000 (5%) as the initial 15% is reduced by the 10% AHOP discount.
Benefit 3: Recycled Benefits
The discount that is initially held by the qualified purchaser is a shared discount as the home is allowed to appreciate at normal market rates. When this home is sold, a portion of the appreciation will be collected by BC Housing and passed through to the City of Victoria's affordable housing fund where it can be used to finance and support further affordable housing projects and programs.
In the case of our example home, the initial discount is $50,000. If this home were to appreciate to $600,000, the buyer must repay to BC Housing the 10% discount they received which would be $60,000 ($600,000 x 10%). The remaining $40,000 of appreciation ($600,000 - $500,000) would be theirs to keep.
PROJECT: Foul Bay Rd Townhomes
ARCHITECTURE: D'Ambrosio Architecture + Urbanism
LANDSCAPE DESIGN: Biophilia Design Collective
ADDRESS: 902 Foul Bay Road
PROPOSED PROJECT: 18 affordable homeownership townhomes
CITY ALIGNMENT: Pre-application process in progress