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Richmond strata surprised they have to share driveway

The right-of-way at Kingfisher Park didn't come up when people bought into the complex.
Driveway
Strata owners at Kingfisher Park have found out their driveway will be shared with a new development next door.

Residents in a townhouse complex on No. 2 Road didn’t know they were legally obligated to share their driveway with their new neighbours.

But a right-of-way, registered at the Land Title Office, gives a new development next door – a land assembly of six lots which will have 25 townhouses on it – the right to use their driveway to get into the new complex.

When the new complex at No. 2 and Blundell roads is built, 35 townhouses will use the shared driveway, located largely on the existing 10-unit townhouse property, Kingfisher Park.

This legal right-of-way came as a surprise to the residents of Kingfisher Park, who said, after searching land titles when buying their units, the future use of the driveway for the two complexes wasn’t made clear to them.

Strata president Barry Kwok said four people have moved in, in the last few years, and none of them were told that there was a shared driveway, despite their lawyers doing land title searches.

While he acknowledges the right-of-way exists, Kwok and his fellow strata owners don’t understand why some other place for the driveway couldn’t be found, for example, a parallel driveway in the new development.

“They’re doing this because of the fact they can,” Kwok told the Richmond News.

The current standard-sized driveway, with a fence on the north side separating Kingfisher Park from the existing single-family homes next door, will be expanded by 1.5 metres.

Kwok estimates to fight it legally would be in the tens of thousands of dollars, something that isn’t possible for a small strata like theirs.

The architect of the new development, Xue Dong Zhao, told the Richmond News the new development is “legally entitled” to the right-of-way and suggested the realtor selling the properties should have made them aware of this at the time of purchase.

After their experience, Kwok wonders how many other right-of-ways there are on private properties in Richmond that are “hidden in files” and that other homeowners aren’t aware of.

A land title search of the strata units does indicate several right-of-ways, such as for utilities, but details on the right-of-way in the common areas are found through a search on the covenant on the property.

This covenant shows the driveway as a statutory right of way – the original paperwork was signed by Richmond lawyer Hong Guo, who ran for mayor in 2018.

A city staff report notes similar shared driveways have been built in other developments in the city.

The development was approved by city council in May.

Kwok said he went to speak at the May public hearing, thinking it was early on in the development process, but, to his surprise, it was voted on that evening.

Council approved the development in a 5-4 vote with Couns. Chak Au, Carol Day, Harold Steves and Michael Wolfe voting against it.

 

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