Nov. 5, 2021

Developers will pay more to fund affordable housing

Developers are facing significant increases in the community amenities contribution they pay to rezone property, to increase funding for affordable housing in the city. A minimum of 40 per cent of the total contributed would be directed to the City’s Housing Legacy Reserve Fund. 

The policy change is on the agenda for the Governance and Priorities Committee meeting on Monday, (Nov. 8).

For about the past decade, developers have paid $1,000 per residential unit as a community amenity contribution, but that would rise significantly over the next few years.  The staff report proposes increasing all levels of the amenities contribution. The rate for a single family residence would triple to $3,000 from $1,000 by Jan. 1, 2022 and climb to $5,500 in 2023 and $8,000 in 2024. (See chart below for various housing types).

Those contributions may be reduced by 50 per cent for market rental dwelling units when the rental tenure of the units is secured by a covenant or other legal means to the satisfaction of the City. 

Until now, those community amenity contributions covered mainly parkland or bus shelters and other amenities in the neighbourhood and community at large. Since 2010 those contributions total more than $1.8 million mainly for parks and infrastructure improvements, but some money has been designated to the Housing Legacy Reserve fund for affordable housing initiatives.

The report says market realities have changed and developers are now able to provide more of an amenity contribution. The proposed CAC policy includes criteria and guidelines which will guide staff in implementing the policy as part of a rezoning or land use covenant amendment process. 

The reality council has to weigh is that when the costs to developers go up, so does the price of their product, resulting in higher housing prices. There too, some would argue that the market sets the price, so this should not have a major impact.

Under the new policy, proposed amenities will be reported to Council for consideration through the application process.

The Official Community Plan (OCP), Neighbourhood plans, and other City plans will be referenced to identify amenities that are needed in the city, and the City will secure both monetary and in-kind CACs accordingly.

A copy of the draft CAC Policy can be found here.