Development Charges Study outlines needs for servicing future growth

Submitted by Lisa Peimann

Kawartha Lakes – Council received a presentation on October 8 outlining the new Development Charges Background Study that will inform the replacement of the Development Charges By-Law later this year. The study was conducted by Watson and Associates.

Mayor Letham reminded Council that, “We need to continue looking at being competitive to attract and incentivize commercial and industrial development that will bring jobs to Kawartha Lakes.”

The purpose of Development Charges (DCs) is to recover the capital costs associated with residential and non-residential growth within the municipality. DC revenue helps fund growth-related expansion of such services as water and waste water facilities, roads and other infrastructure.

Karl Repka, member of the Development Charges Task Force commented, “The Task Force has been meeting every three weeks since January 2019. We’ve actively sought input from the development community. Staff from Peterborough and the Kawarthas Homebuilders Association has attended our meetings. Most of the feedback so far has been that the current DC rates are generally fair on the residential side. We’ve also engaged local developers and the agricultural community, but we want to hear from everyone involved as we move into the comment period.”

Of the 27 recommendations made by the Task Force, Repka noted a few key recommendations:

1.    Implement a uniform DC rate for non-residential development (commercial, industrial and institutional development). This would result in minor decreases to current commercial rates and minor increases in industrial rates.

2.    Keep the current payment deferral policy that allows residential developers to defer DCs for up to three years until occupancy.

3.    Align in advance with some of the new changes in provincial legislations (Bill 108).

4.    Current DC rates should be “grandfathered” for a transition period for developments currently in the planning approvals process.

Sean-Michael Stephen, Senior Project Coordinator, Watson & Associates took Council through the study, noting that it is based on the need to recover capital costs associated with the growth that has been projected for Kawartha Lakes.

Council will review the recommendations in light of the initial goals and considerations the Task Force was asked to review including:

·         The effectiveness of current payment deferral options for residential developments

·         Affordable housing incentive options for private sector development

·         Consider discounting commercial and industrial development charges (from 50% to 100%) where job creation goals are met

·         Review development charges on derelict buildings to encourage demolition and protect development rights

·         Study the merits of charging development charges within the property’s existing zoning

“The end goal is to ensure we are attractive to the type of development that will bring job creators and expand the tax base. At the same time, we need growth to pay for growth. We’re looking to find the balance that makes good business sense,” concluded Mayor Letham.

A public meeting will be held on November 5 at 10am in Council Chambers at City Hall, 26 Francis Street, Lindsay to review the DC study recommendations and receive comments from the public. The comment period will run from October 10 – December 9. Any comments submitted to the Clerks’ Office prior to November 15 will be considered in the preparation of the final DC study. Comments can be submitted to Council until December 9 via the City Clerk’s Office.

The Development Charges Background Study, draft By-Law and draft Policy are available on the municipal website under Major Projects.