Council seeks to increase development charges on new growth

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After two months of consultation, Council voted Thursday evening (September 5th) to increase what are known as ‘development charges’ on future development in our community. This is so that the Municipality has sufficient funds to invest in crucial infrastructure upgrades as the community grows. Development charges are reviewed every five years, and are subject to strict rules by the Province in terms of how increases are determined.

“Our community is facing up to a $31 million expansion at our sewage treatment plant in the next 3 to 5 years, crucial upgrades to both rural and urban roads, the expansion of local parks and trails, among other things, so that we can continue to ensure a high quality of life for all of our residents,” said Mayor Nancy Peckford.

“It is not fair to impose these costs on existing residents and businesses through residential or commercial property taxes or other levies. Development charges are designed so that the costs related to some of this growth are assumed by those who choose to develop, build or expand here. This better enables Council to keep everyone’s property taxes relatively stable.”

While development charge rates in rural areas are increasing, they will always be lower than those in urban areas because water and sewer services are unavailable to them. Further, North Grenville’s new rural development charges remain well below rural rates imposed by the City of Ottawa.

“Council recognizes that because we are authorizing increases to development charges throughout the Municipality (effective immediately), we want to do so in a way that is also fair to developers and the business community,” added Deputy Mayor Jim McManaman.

“With this in mind, we felt strongly that we should adopt a phased-in approach so that we could better understand the potential impacts.”

This includes:

  • For the first year of these new development charges, only fifty percent of the increase will be applied.
  • New businesses and residential development in the downtown area of Kemptville are fully exempt for a minimum of a year to support on-going efforts for revitalization.
  • Those who paid a frontage fee in the Town of Kemptville in December, 1989, for the construction of Kemptville’s first sewage plant that replaced a sewage lagoon will see that fee indexed to today’s dollar value and deducted from any new development charges.
  • Development that expands the availability of affordable housing will be exempt, and development charges will no longer be applied to builders who choose to add a secondary unit (i.e. basement apartment or granny suite) in new homes.
  • Those who plan to build in Service Area 1 will see a modest increase to development charges that is proportional to increases in other urban service areas in year 1.

Because of changes to Provincial legislation made under the Ford government, municipalities across Ontario are scheduled to make further amendments to their development charges by-law to incorporate a new community benefits formula by the end of 2020. This will give North Grenville’s Municipal Council another opportunity to review and amend this new by-law within the next year.

In 2018, the municipality of North Grenville retained Andrew Grunda from Watson & Associates to prepare the background study detailing the reasons for any increase to development charges. The rationale for increases must meet strict criteria from the provincial legislation (Development Charges Act).

North Grenville has had some form of development charges in place since 1999 as a mechanism through which “growth pays for growth’. Development charges are one of the primary tools at a municipality’s disposal to underwrite some of the costs of growth.

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