City Council Preview – What’s on the Agenda for the January 21 Meeting?

The current bylaw governing Development Charges expires on March 2, so what are we going to do? Pass an all-new updated bylaw, of course.

The update for the Development Charges, or DCs, has been in the works since last summer. But what are Development Charges? The City of Guelph kindly produced a video to explain:

If you don’t like watching videos, then read this:

Municipalities in Ontario use Development Charges (DCs) to recover certain costs associated with residential and non-residential growth. Companies building houses, subdivisions, shopping centres, industrial parks and other developments help the City pay for the additional municipal services required—things like new water and wastewater systems, roads and transportation infrastructure, community centres, parks, trails, fire and police facilities.

So to get down to brass tacks, the residential DC rate is set to increase from $29,909 per single detached home to $35,098 per single detached home, which represents a 17.35 per cent increase. For the non-residential DC rate, it will be increased from $107.40 per square metre, to $133.15 per square metre, which is an increase of 23.95 per cent.

The DC study identified nearly a billion dollars in capital costs needed to accommodate the buildout to 2031; some of that is to update the current infrastructure, and the rest is for new infrastructure in undeveloped areas. So yes, we need more DCs to foster growth, but there has also been changes to legislation, updated Master and Secondary Plans, and changes to asset management at the City that have required the update too.

To understand the breadth of the expense in terms of capital costs that DCs will help offset, staff provide a number of examples including transit. The next 10 years will see the purchase of 30 new buses, and the expansion of the transit facility that houses them. DCs will cover the cost of 61.5 per cent of the buses, and 40 per cent for the facility.

For waste diversion, DCs worth $4.6 million will be used for new vehicle storage, packers, carts and other expenses.

Of the $68 million needed for the South End Community Centre, DCs will fund 85 per cent of the budgeted cost, and for the new main branch of the library, nearly $17 million of the $50 million project will come from DCs.

Stormwater will see $6.8 million in improvements to the infrastructure, and $4.2 million of that will be money collected from Development Charges.

For the record, a lot of our neighbouring municipalities will be updating their DCs in the next six months including Brantford, Hamilton, Kitchener, Cambridge, and Woolwich. Guelph will sit somewhere in the middle for residential DCs, and will remain near the cheapest end for commercial.

In all, the changes to DCs are expected to bring in nearly $348 million more in revenue from residential development, and just over $188 million in non-residential development for a grand total of $535.85 million for growth-related capital costs for the next 10 to 13 years.

The new Development Charges, and the changes to the appropriate bylaws, will all be referred to the February 11 planning meeting of City Council for final approval.

Other changes to the DCs? There will now be a single DC payment instead of two, with all DCs being due for payment at the time of the issuance of the building permit. Also, stacked townhouses will now be classified as high density instead of medium density, and purpose-built accessory apartments and non-residential parking structures will now by exempt from DCs.

Another exception is the Clair-Maltby Secondary Plan. It was left out of the calculations of the 2018 study since the deveopment os the plan is still in progress, and there wasn’t enough information to consider the exact needs for the plan. That will have to wait until the next time the DC bylaw is reviewed.

DCs for developments labelled “Bona Fide Farm Use” will be eliminated since they really no longer apply within the city limits, and two new categories will be created for “Special Needs Facilities” and “Lodging Housings. Meanwhile, the University of Guelph will lose it’s 100 per cent exemption and see it reduced to 25 per cent.

The  final touch is that the new bylaw will also make sure that the definitions between the zoning bylaw and the DC bylaw are the same.

2 thoughts on “City Council Preview – What’s on the Agenda for the January 21 Meeting?

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