Gravenhurst cuts development charges in half for home & to zero for commercial/industrial
GRAVENHURST — As governments around the world struggle with infrastructure costs — the province just begged the feds Thursday for more money — the local council here is cutting its nose despite its face.
Like the District of Muskoka, they’re cutting development charges — the money they desperately need to provide those services.
It begs the question: where is development going in Gravenhurst?
According to the town, Gravenhurst councillors “reached consensus” during their council meeting August 19 for the need to reduce development charges.
They say in a release the decision will “reduce existing development charges by over 50 per cent for residential development projects; and move commercial/industrial institutional rates from $2.89 to 0$ per square foot.”
To ensure that non-residential development charges were not perceived to be a competitive disadvantage for businesses to locate or expand in Gravenhurst, they say council followed staff’s recommendation that the town discontinue collecting them.
“Not only has council approved rates that give Gravenhurst a competitive advantage, we are clearly encouraging redevelopment and re-purposing of existing, under-utilized buildings by removing development charges entirely on these types of projects,” says Mayor Paisley Donaldson in the release. “The revitalization of our community, particularly our downtown is a priority for council,” she added.
Council’s move aims to keep Gravenhurst competitive amongst neighbouring communities in the District of Muskoka who have recently adopted similar by-laws. It is hoped that the adjustment will help stimulate economic development, encourage growth in the community and clarify existing definitions. The previous development charges by-law was set to expire November 17, 2014.
Council’s new development charges by-law is effective immediately as of (last Wednesday) August 20, and will remain in effect until 2019.
In the new by-law a number of amendments have been included;
•Exempt from residential development charges and now clearly defined as ‘Accessory Use’ – include bunkies and sleeping cabins that are built without bathroom and kitchen facilities.
•Garden suites, ResidentialBuilding within Hunt Camps and Mobile Homes and Park Model Trailers are deemed residential properties.
Development charges are not payable when an existing dwelling unit is enlarged or when an existing building is converted from one principal use to another as long as the conversion takes place within the same square footage.
Staff recommendations were developed following thorough public consultation which began in April 2014. The process included posting the proposed by-law to the Town’s website and encouraging feedback from the community.
After verbal and written submissions were received, the Town hosted a public meeting on May 21. On June 17, staff made a presentation to Council in response to public submissions.
On July 15, an update was provided to Council with regards to policy considerations identified.In accordance with the Development Charges Act, staff will provide a notice of passage to local media, update the Town website and further provide notice to those parties identified under regulation. An updated Development
Charges pamphlet will also be produced and available at the Town office or online at www.gravenhurst within 20 days.
PURPOSE OF DEVELOPMENT CHARGES:
Development charges assist in financing capital projects required to meet the increased need for services resulting from growth related development. Development charge funds may only be used for the purpose for which they are collected.Attached: Example of changes to development charges pre August 20, 2014 to Current fees.
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