City Council Preview – What’s on the Agenda for the April 13 Meeting?

This is definitely going to be a meeting that gets a lot of attention from our park-happy public. In a special meeting of city council, the horseshoe will look at changes to the Parkland Dedication Bylaw and the new Community Benefit Charge, which means we’re talking about parks and growth. Get ready for another long night!

NOTE #1: Delegates will be able to appear at this meeting via telephone, but you do have to register with the clerks office before 10 am on Friday April 8. You can also submit written delegations and correspondences for agenda items.

NOTE #2: The meeting will be the open to the public, but if you would like to follow it from home, you will still be live-stream the meeting on the City of Guelph’s website here.

Community Benefit Charge and Parkland Dedication By-laws – The More Homes, More Choice Act. The Plan to Build Ontario Together Act. The COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act. And the Better for People, Smarter for Business Act. These are four big pieces of provincial legislation that have necessitated a change in a couple of key pieces of City of Guelph planning business: Updates to the Parkland Dedication Bylaw and the creation of the Community Benefit Charge.

There are some relatively minor changes being proposed for the Parkland Dedication Bylaw, including an amendment to make the requirements for the conveyance of land or cash in-lieu equal for developments outside of downtown. There are also some changes due the addition of accessory apartments, so if you’re replacing one dwelling with another, you’re exempt from the PDB, but not so much if you’re adding units to a property.

Things get somewhat more complicated once the new Community Benefit Charge is factored in. The new CBC is more services that were once eligible to be covered by Development Charges, like parking, and they can be applied to other services that were not eligible for DCs like public art, museums, community gardens, and space for non-profits.

Not all developments will see the CBC applied to them. The legislation limits the application of the CBCs to residential developments with a minimum of five storeys above the grade and contains at least 10 units. For the next 10 years, there are about 5,553 units likely to be built in the city for whom the CBC will apply, including developments in Clair-Maltby, the Dolime properties, and the Guelph Innovation District.

The CBC rate is proposed to be capped at a maximum of four per cent, which will generate nearly $5.5 million in revenue over the first 10 years. Sounds like a lot, but the capital needs are for parking, culture and parkland would require a 9.3 per cent fee, so there might still be some questions about covering the full cost of growth.

The final bylaw will come forward for passage on July, and the new and amended fees will come into effect this September. More public engagement on this matter will be coming later this month.

See the complete agenda on the City of Guelph website here

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