Changes to Bruce County's development fees offer developers a break

·2 min read

BRUCE COUNTY – Mark Paoli, land use planning manager, presented a report to the planning and development committee in December recommending changes to the current fee schedule. The changes will be phased in within one year.

At the November meeting, the committee passed recommendations arising from the development fees final report by StrategyCorp that included recovery of all activity costs and appropriate overhead; four new fees (general inquiries, pre-consultations, studies over five hours, and pit/quarry Official Plan amendments); deposit for peer reviews; and resume increasing fees annually by the Consumer Price Index in 2022.

The recommendations included that the matter return to the committee in December for approval.

The committee approved the following amendments:

• Allow for a flat fee for one or two minor variances in the same application, and add to it a separate flat fee that is 30 per cent higher for cases of three or more minor variances in the same application.

• For multiple consents, reduce the price of each additional lot in the same application to 50 per cent, after the first one.

• Segment fees for major county Official Plan amendment and minor county Official Plan amendment, based on whether it requires more than three technical studies or not. For major amendments, increase the new base fee by eight per cent for each additional technical study required over the threshold of three studies.

Paoli’s report stated there’s more involved than greater transparency and ensuring fees fully reflect costs. Fees should “also recognize ‘bulk rate’ savings that come from economies of scale in multi-unit applications, to the benefit of the developer-user. Passing on the savings of economies of scale will accurately reflect actual costs, to the benefit of both the county and the user.”

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times