King Township approves its new DC bylaw

·3 min read

King Township has approved its new Development Charges Bylaw.

Development charges are fees collected by the municipality from developers, to help cover the costs of infrastructure, such as parks, roads, fire services and more.

The provincial Development Charges Act came into effect in 1997 and it’s based on the idea that growth (development) pays for growth-related costs. DCs provide a substantial amount of funds for municipalities like King. The fees are levied on each residential unit constructed, each subdivision, expansion or conversion of space.

Before updating a bylaw a comprehensive review is necessary, involving Township staff and members of the development community. Staff began this process last fall, with Watson & Associates as consultants.

Typically, DC bylaws are updated every five years and the current one expires Jan. 24, 2021. The last bylaw was prepared in 2014, and provincial legislative changes in 2015 and 2019 will result in some changes.

Municipalities were pleased with one change that now includes a 10% charge for “soft services” such as libraries, parks and recreation.

Staff noted DCs are vital in that “... the importance of ensuring that growth related costs are appropriately supported by developer contributions si paramount ot the long--term financial sustainability of the municipality. As population growth continues to proceed in a planned and timely manner towards build-out, it is essential that growth related infrastructure needs are constructed as new residents arrive.”

Among the changes are details for places of worship and special care facilities. Municipalities have begun treating retirement facilities as residential units and the better classification results in suitable DCs.

DCs pay for the development of parks, and builders provide land or cash in lieu, which is roughly 5% of the value of the land.

The higher increases in the non-residential side integrate a shift from less dense employees per square foot, to higher density of more office type employment. This has increased the costs per square metre significantly for this sector.

The overall increase for Township-wide services for single family residences rises 11%, from $28,681, to $31,838.

The non-residential rate jumps 21.7%, to $114.75 per square metre, up from $94.29 per square metre.

Staff noted the non-residential DCs are significantly higher and are calculated using expected employment growth. The employment forecast shows a shift from expected industrial/warehousing to less industrial and more commercial and office uses, which has a higher employee per square metre rate.

Development charges are of interest to new investors when looking to establish businesses. Staff believe other, more important factors, lead them to King. They include land availability, construction cost, access to transportation, workforce and infrastructure.

“Staff is of the opinion that DC rates and the higher rate increase will not put the Township out of the market for new investment.”

King’s rates are near the top compared to nearby municipalities, with Georgina at the lowest end, and nearby Vaughan at the high end.

Following adoption of the bylaw, a 40-day formal appeal period follows.

Mark Pavilons, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, King Weekly Sentinel