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Are Plan It tables a turnin’ for developers? - Metro US

Are Plan It tables a turnin’ for developers?

I watched a Flames game in a lovely house in Kincora, an outer northwest suburb.

The basement had a pool table, foosball table, hockey table, flat screen TV, and the owner’s picture at a hockey camp with Wayne Gretzky.

My kids now want to live in Kincora. They think that “man basement” is standard Kincora fare.

This type of suburb just got a boost from our mayor. He wants to rescind a planned development levy of 12 per cent and give developers a year to pay those taxes.

Those Plan-It tables are ‘a turning. Plan It is the $6-million proposed plan to densify Calgary, restrict suburbs, and cut down on infrastructure expenses like roads, sewer lines, and the like.

City council has yet to vote on it. But before it can, there will be a city council vote Mon­day on the mayor’s proposal to help home builders.

This is significant. It shows Dave Bronconnier is exhibiting the characteristics of his breed. He’s a developer.

The home builders are represented by the Urban Development Institute, and its members are among the mayor’s biggest financial supporters. When developers hurt, he feels it. Homebuilders are irritated with the move to multi-residential housing, that is the core of Plan It. They say homeowners want single family homes.

Luckily for Calgary’s homebuilders there was a precedent in Toronto — Toronto Mayor David Miller froze development levies to keep the city working. But Ontario’s Places to Grow Act also says least 40 per cent of new residential construction must occur within existing built-up areas beginning in 2015.

If you say Calgary developers got special attention, I’d say you’re right.

The city slams us with higher taxes (please Mr. Mayor, don’t tell me others pay more; that’s tired and many cities have figured out to clean snow from pavement.) There’s higher parking fees, new parking fees at LRTs, fees for recycling boxes, and monthly pick-up. There’s higher user fees on golf courses and pools.

You can argue new communities pay more taxes and are worth a tax break, but we just spent millions on Plan It and smart growth ideals.

Looking at the mayor’s donors to his last campaign, I’d have to say those lining up for special tax treatment will be taxi cab drivers, architects, Soccer Calgary and the folks who run the Italian Sportsmen’s Dinner.

And the humble tax payer? We’re still grinding.

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