Development Charges Act Proposals
The government intends to introduce legislative amendments to the Development Charges Act and related provisions of the Planning Act that would, if passed, help municipalities recover more costs, enhance transparency and accountability, and support higher density development.
Development charges allow municipalities to recover their capital costs related to growing their communities. Examples of these capital costs are roads, water and wastewater systems, and libraries for new residents.
The government also announced the launch of a Development Charges Working Group of key stakeholders, including municipalities and developers that would provide advice on complex issues needing further consideration.
A province-wide review of the development charges system and related legislation took place between October 2013 and January 2014. The proposed changes reflect feedback from public and stakeholders consultations that took place during the review.
The government's proposed changes and related initiatives would, if passed:
Help municipalities fund growth:
- The amount of capital costs that municipalities can recover for transit services would be increased.
- Municipalities would be allowed to recover capital costs for waste diversion.
Make the development charges system more predictable, transparent and accountable:
- Municipalities would be required to follow reporting requirements that reflect best practices and detail to the community how money from development charges is spent.
- The government would create better reporting requirements for municipalities collecting money under section 37 of the Planning Act related to density bonusing, and related to parkland dedications, which details how the funds are spent.
- Development charges would be payable at the time the first building permit was issued for a building so that developers could be certain of the cost.
- Municipalities would be required to better integrate how development charges fit with long-term planning, including local asset management plans.
- The government will help municipalities identify and share their best practices on using development charges to address local planning and financial objectives.
- There would be more stringent reporting and greater oversight of any funds or municipal charges on new developments that fall outside what is allowed in current legislation.
Protecting and Promoting Greenspaces:
- The proposed changes promote the development of compact communities that make the best use of resources. To encourage parkland and greenspace, more municipalities would need to put in place a parks plan to direct some of these resources. The plan would involve input from school boards and community members.
- Municipalities would need to consider strategic development charges in different areas within their communities.
Development Charges Working Group
A Development Charges Working Group will be established to recommend to government a formula that would better reflect the needs of growing communities, increase eligible capital costs for municipal services beyond transit and advise which services should be eligible for the collection of development charges.
It would also provide advice on how strategic development charges might be put in place.
The working group is expected to report back to government with their recommendations by the end of 2015.