Friday, January 11, 2013

Municipalities own too many road right ways and should consider selling some


Location of Evans Street in Vic West

Looking south on Evans
Too much land in most cities is owned by the municipality as road right of ways.  This is something I have been interested in seeing changed for many years.   There many examples of unnecessary roads in Victoria, here are a couple of small examples from Vic West.

Evans Street in Vic West is an odd connection between Raynor Ave and Langford Street.   It is s short street with no houses fronting on to it.  It is a piece of road that the City does not need and should consider getting rid of.  

The area of the road right of way is about 650 square meters or 7,000 square feet, it is 32 feet wide.
Looking north on Evans

You could make two 32 foot wide lots on this this land, neither one would be large, but they would be wider than other properties in the neighbourhood.  The lots would 3500 square feet, which is small, but certainly not unreasonable for Vic West.

In the immediate area there are similar small narrow lots at 914 and 930 Russell Street, 650, 654, 723, 725, 727, 729, 731, and 735  Belton Ave or 655, 657, 661, 665, 725 and 727 Pine Street.   Two of the Belton Ave and the Pine Street properties are only 2200 to 2400 square feet in size.

310 L:angford Street is narrower and much smaller, only 1850 square feet.

A property that would be about almost the same size and shape as the two that could be created out of Evans Street is 313 Edward Street.

Evans is not the only street without a purpose in Vic West.   I can see a number of other locations where there are road right of ways not doing much of relevance to the world:

  • The southernmost block of Fullerton only serves as a private drive way for the two houses which do have good frontage onto Langford Street.
  • The City owns a full right of way for Russell Street between Edward Street and Wilson Street but there is a 35 meter chunk that is missing.  This is an area of 350 sqaure meters, enough to have another house on it.  
  • South of Wilson the City owns a right of way for Russell Street that is not being used, this could be two more houses.
  • On Burleith Crecent the very last 39 meters are not needed and two houses could go into this 780 square meter area
  • Northcott Ave on the eastern end could be closed off allowing for another lot
All in all this is space for eight more house building lots in Vic West on land currently owned by the City and not being used to any real public benefit.  Selling this land would bring in $2,500,000 or so for the City, it would also increase the property taxes of the City by about $20,000 a year.

I am know that many of the people neighbouring on these unneeded road right of ways might not be thrilled to see a change.   My suggestion would be that 21 neighbouring properties all be given part of the value of the sale.   If each one were to get to $25,000 to $30,000 this would go a long to making them happier with the change ans still leave the city with around $2 million more than they have now.   

The eight new houses would also add an extra 20 people to Vic West, I know this is not a huge number but it just that many more to make local schools and businesses just a little bit more sustainable.

I do not know enough about the individual examples I have highlighted here and there may be some important reasons for the City to own the right of ways such as for utilities, but I doubt many of them have any reason stopping their sale.
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