Developers may lose downtown fee exemption

An exemption for development charges that could be partly responsible for a boom in downtown Ottawa may be disappearing within the next couple of years.

An exemption for development charges that could be partly responsible for a boom in downtown Ottawa may be disappearing within the next couple of years.

As part of a new development charge bylaw required by July 2009, city staff are recommending that non-profit housing and contaminated land be exempt from charges.

Churches, schools, retirement lots and non-profit health care facilities would still be exempt.

Coun. Marianne Wilkinson suggested Thursday that the exemption for downtown development charges should be lifted even sooner, because the exemption only resulted in inflated land values.

“The owners of the land got a bonanza, while the city didn’t (get) the money to do the infrastructure,” she said.

Wilkinson said it doesn’t make sense to postpone collecting development charges when the infrastructure they would pay for is what is holding up further development.

Development charges are collected to cover the city’s cost for building new services (roads, sewers) to new developments.

Community Sustainability Services Branch director Rob Mackay warned council has to tread the fine line between raising charges too high and discouraging growth and setting them too low and costing the city.

The city’s planning and environment committee discusses policy framework for a study into the new development charge bylaw next week.

 
 
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