(The kitchen and eating area of the upgraded home currently for sale at 2 Rowan Road in Stittsville. Photos: Phil Sweetnam.)
(Editor’s Note: Phil Sweetnam is the owner of PBC Sweetnam Holdings and offers an option for home ownership for first-time home buyers or for those looking to downsize. He currently has a home for sale at 2 Rowan Road in Fringewood North that has been moved and upgraded to parallel new builds. A long-time family friend, we offered to help him out and share his story on the process he has experienced to get this home on the market. If you are interested in learning more about this updated, upgraded, affordable home, please visit the link here for all of the details. )
The 880 ft.² two section home, which we just finished upgrading and is now for sale, became available when we applied to create three lots from two former lots on Cloverloft Court. When the severance was approved the home located at 41 Cloverloft was situated on two of the newly formed lots. The Committee of Adjustment staff could not support any policy that (even on a temporary basis) would allow a home occupying two lots. The home was removed which left PBC Sweetnam Holdings with an open lot.
We decided to upgrade and move the home to 2 Rowan in Fringewood North. The move was carried out very seamlessly by CDS Movers. The road permits and police escort were expensive, but the police performed well in expediting the move allowing it to be completed in about 20 minutes.
The lot in Fringewood North had already been improved with good drainage outlets and the pad for the home was prepared with a 2% grade and 12″ of well compacted granular A. The set up went smoothly.
Two full-time and one part-time employees of PBC Sweetnam Holdings worked steadily over four months on the exterior to install water, sewer, hydro, completing the installation of 2 1/2 inches of foam to provide a continuous thermal barrier with a R value of 12.5. That doubled the R17 value of the insulation in the original wall. The team also installed siding, roof venting, soffit, eavestroughs, lot grading, and paving. As the weather turned cold staff were able to move inside. They upgraded the electrical by installing arc fault breakers on all new circuits. They replaced all the former wood paneled exterior and interior walls and the fiberboard ceilings with drywall. After mudding and painting, new laminated floors were installed, new cabinets and appliances were installed. It is now a very attractive home.
For young people or a retired couple, who do not want a large mortgage hanging over their heads, a small bungalow on a leased lot can be a good choice. It means that they have easy access to a private patio area outside or an exercise area for their pets. The home at 2 Rowan Road is 880 ft.² which is a comfortable size for two people. All the required services, such as a washer and dryer, are located on one floor.
Some Stittsville families would like to have modest sized homes to accommodate senior parents in their community where they can be available to offer assistance. It offers more flexibility and more space at less cost than the wonderful seniors’ homes in the Stittsville community. There is less chance of isolation because of a lockdown if parents are in a single-family home. The second room can be a craft room or office. Everyone talks about smaller homes but there are few available in Stittsville where the tradition is larger homes on larger lots. Smaller homes take less energy to keep warm and are assessed for lower taxes. The expected taxes for this unit are about $75 per month. The monthly estimated operating costs for lot rental, water & sewer, natural gas and electricity cost is $855.
Fringewood North is an especially good location for low cost housing. At present Hazeldean Road is a frequent service bus route which provides transportation to local stores and businesses as well as a reliable connection to downtown businesses. The future LRT station is about 1.41 km from the Rowan Road entrance to Fringewood North. As the Bell Canada Stittsville exchange building is just across Hazeldean Road residents in Fringewood have access to high-speed Internet. Several families are able to work at home.
Our present pandemic situation has meant that I now see more people walking to shop at grocery stores and drugstores. I note that the sidewalk – which I felt was always underutilized – has now become popular with pedestrians and people using powered wheelchairs. Fringewood North is certainly one of the 15-minute walkable neighbourhoods in Stittsville.
It is unfortunate that leased lot development is no longer economical within the City of Ottawa. With the high development fees in Ottawa (plus the expensive cost of servicing new lots), it really is not feasible to develop a lot and locate a small bungalow on it for a reasonably economical price. More leased lot communities would be a very good way to increase affordable housing within our City, but they will have to be financially viable and with the present development fees they are not even being considered.