Huron County municipalities to review planning fees report

·4 min read

MORRIS-TURNBERRY – Director of Planning Sandra Weber presented a report to the councillors of Morris-Turnberry, updating them on the progress of the Planning Fees Review Working Group, which will now be sent to the surrounding municipalities for approval.

Once all municipalities have had the opportunity to review and provide comments, the final report will be taken to Huron County council. Once approved, the finalized fee schedule will be provided to municipalities to adopt a bylaw to come into effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

Historically, planning application fees are reviewed every five years. The previous review happened in 2016 for the 2017-2021 fee schedule.

“At that time, all councils across the county approved a two per cent increase each year over this five-year period, with the increase occurring on Jan. 1 each year,” the report said. “Since planning is a shared service, there is a cost-sharing that is built into the fee schedule, and the fees are reconciled quarterly with the local municipalities. There is a need to review the fees this year to establish a new fee schedule to be effective Jan. 1, 2022.”

This review was based on the guiding principles that planning fees should continue to be user-pay and cover the local municipality and county’s costs for staff time and disbursements.

Section 69 of the Planning Act allows municipalities to establish a tariff of fees to cover the anticipated costs of processing planning applications.

The Planning Fees Review Working Group consists of Brad Knight (Huron East), Trevor Hallam (Morris-Turnberry), Carson Lamb (North Huron), Florence Witherspoon (Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh), Rebecca Msuya-Collison (South Huron), Planning Co-ordinators – Arlene Parker (Bluewater), Vanessa Culbert (South Huron) and Planning and Development staff including Sandra Weber, Craig Metzger, Laura Simpson, and Lisa Finch, Land Division Administrator.

The working group reviewed fees from other municipalities across the province and reviewed the current cost for each type of planning application to determine recommended changes to cover staff time and disbursements. In addition, they discussed the need for additional fees for services that are not currently included in the Fee Schedule.

The recommended changes were then reviewed with the Huron County Clerks and Treasurers Association and sent out by email for comment to all CAO’s/Clerks across the county.

The working group recommended the following changes to the planning application fees:

- maintain a two per cent yearly increase for all planning fees;

- consents (severances) to be split into two categories:

1. Technical consents, such as easements, right of ways, correction of title, well block, validation certificate, minor lot enlargement, and re-creation of original farm lots would be set at the current rate plus two per cent at $2,250.

2. Consents for new lot creation, such as surplus and creating a new lot, would be increased to $3,250. This reflects the increase in staff time in responding to concerns of neighbours, reviewing studies, drafting conditions, etc. It was agreed that a fee would not be charged for breaking an original severance (e.g., one square foot) if combined with a consent application which is currently the practice in most municipalities.

- plans of subdivision/condominium – base fee increased from $6,623 to $9,000, plus $170 per lot/block/unit over 10, with the maximum cap deleted. This increase reflects the complexity of the files and the increased staff time required to review;

- increase fee for draft plan extension to $2,000;

- final approval/phased final approval – fee for each phase for approval: $1,125. Note: There will be an additional fee if new lots/blocks/units are being created at final registration of $170 per lot/block/unit (can occur when processing Block Plans).

- part lot control bylaw – remove discount if following a related planning application. The new fee proposed to be $2,250 plus $170 per additional conveyable part over two;

- new fee of $300 for a re-circulation of any type of application if a result of a change made by the applicant; and

- removal of holding symbol – no fee if combined with a planning application imposed by municipality (deleted words “following a related planning application”).

Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times

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