DEVELOPMENT CHARGE DEBATE MAY BE A SIGN OF THINGS TO COME AS CITY COUNCIL REJECTS 4 OF 5 CITY STAFF RECOMMENDATIONS AND ACCEPTS 4 OF 5 NEW SUGGESTIONS BY COUNCILLORS

 
City Council will make a final decision on the development charge increases at the June 10, 2014 Council meeting as a result of the debate at last night's meeting. Your feedback on the following would be appreciated since the whole development charge issue is likely to come back to the table during the first term of the new Council in order to stimulate growth and development of both our residential and commercial sectors.

City staff initially brought five options to council, but the only one accepted was to Phase in proposed rates over three years on July 10, July 1, 2015 and July 1, 2016. Phase in semi-detached dwelling rate change over three years..

Then, councillors presented another five options and accepted the following four:

1. Freeze DCs for one year and phase them in over years two to five. Re-evaluate the semi-detached rate to fall between the single-family and multiple rate.

2. a) Get a report on when to collect development charges (currently they're collected before building permits are issued; Coun. Jacques Barbeau suggested collecting them at the occupancy stage).

 b) Semi-detached homes already in the planning stage be grandfathered at the current semi-detached rates..

 c) Freeze DCs for the first two years, phase them in over years three to five.

 3. Freeze DCs for the first year, phase them in from years two to four..

 4. Exempt the Flour Mill BIA, as well as BIAs created over the next five years, from being charged DCs.

City Treasurer Lorella Hayes warned Councillors that if development charges are frozen the difference will have to be made up in other ways likely via property taxes or water and wastewater rates.

However, there would be no need for any increase in development charges if City Council examined its priority projects and cut back on any of them that may no longer financially viable, such as the Maley Drive Extension and some of the other more aggressive projects on the books. Also, scaling back on some of the more enhances projects would lower the projected need for development charges. So this is not a choice of charging new development or current residents. There is no need for any additional charges to be incurred if City Staff is told to go back to the drawing board and "sharpen their pencils" to come up with new plans.

Right now, the fact that development charges are collected when building permits are issues is a deterrent to builders beginning construction of a new home prior to pre-selling the home. It also means that home buyers may be strapped to pay for the development charge fee since their construction mortgage is based on the progression of the construction.

 Once again, while this development charge issue has been discussed for a long time, allowing two weeks for City Councillors to wade through the mountain of information in order to make a decision that is going to have an effect on residential and commercial development over the next ten years may not be enough time.

http://www.thesudburystar.com/2014/05/28/sudbury-councillors-sort-through-fee-structure

 
 
 
 

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