Region supports development charge amendments

York Regional Council supports several key amendments in Bill 197, Premier Doug Ford’s plan to rebuild the province and get people back to work.

The COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, which received Royal Assent on July 21, amends 20 statutes that give municipalities tools the provincial government says will support the ongoing economic recovery from the pandemic, including the Municipal Act, 2001, Development Charges Act, 1997, Planning Act, Education Act and Environmental Assessment Act.

York Region supports an amendment that restores development charge eligibility to libraries, long-term care, public health, parks and recreation services but not the acquisition of land for parks, child care, affordable housing and shelters, bylaw enforcement/court services and emergency preparedness.

Regional staff also support an amendment that will give municipalities two years to transition to the community benefits charges bylaw and another amendment that makes commercial and industrial developments ineligible for delayed and phased payments. Finally, staff supports an amendment that removes a cap on interest charges for frozen and phased development charges.

The Region says its support of those measures is in keeping with the feedback it provided on Bill 108, More Homes, More Choice Act, in September 2019. The cornerstone of the Provincial Housing Supply Action Plan, Bill 108 amended 13 statutes, including those dealing with development charges, Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (previously known as the Ontario Municipal Board – OMB), and land use planning.

“Development charges are dependent on the housing market and non-residential revenues. The fees received from these charges are vital to the Region funding growth infrastructure and overall debt-management,” the Region explains in a report.

With these provisions now in place, the Region says there’s no need to consider an to the development charge bylaw as reported to Council in February that sought the right to charge interest on frozen and phased development charges to help mitigate the impact of Bill 108 by helping to improve cost recovery and encouraging developers to proceed with development in a timely manner.

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