North Huron council holds special meeting to discuss development charges

·3 min read

NORTH HURON – The Township of North Huron met with Lisa Courtney, from BM Ross and Associates, at a special council meeting on March 26 to discuss the development charges bylaw.

Development charges (DC) are collected from new residential and non-residential developments.

Courtney presented to council to educate those who were new to the process and update council on recent changes to the by-law criteria.

The process, governed by the Development Charges Act, includes the background study and public consultation.

Her presentation began with the process of implementing a DC bylaw:

-Undertake a Background Study

-Forecast of future growth

-Review of projects (take out old projects, add new ones, review costs)

-Calculation of DCs for each project

-Background Study must be available for review 60 days prior to passage of by-law

-Present calculated DCs to staff and council. Council sets proposed DC.

-Prepare draft bylaw (available two weeks prior to a public meeting)

-Host a public meeting to get feedback on proposed DC

-Council passes DC bylaw

-Issue notice of passage

A 40-day appeal period starts immediately after bylaw passed.

The changes included the timeline for the public process, increasing the amount of time to 60 days for community members to have access to the background studies.

“Also significant, was the need to link included projects to your asset management program,” Courtney said in a letter to council sent before her presentation. “More recently, with bills 108 and 198, there were amendments to the types of projects that can be included in development charges, changes to payment periods for certain types of development, and types of exempted development,”

The definition of DC, available on the Ontario.ca website, said “the council of a municipality may by bylaw impose development charges against land to pay for increased capital costs required because of increased needs for services arising from development of the area to which the bylaw applies.”

In the previous bylaw – which expires in October of this year, – council chose not to charge new commercial businesses the development charges.

Some municipalities choose to do this to provide incentives to potential capital projects.

The decision to continue this practice or change it is part of a brainstorming sessions between council and BM Ross.

According to the report, DCs are a tool available to allow municipalities to recover capital costs associated with infrastructure and services that benefit growth.

This includes new infrastructure and services that support growth and pay down existing debt for past growth works or services.

The general idea is that ‘growth pays for its share’ so that the existing tax-payers are not bearing the cost of servicing growth;

DC’s can not be collected for operating or maintenance costs.

Council directed staff to begin the process of implementing DCs and to pay BM Ross $19,500 plus HST. This cost can be recovered through the DC charges.

The complete presentation can be viewed at on the North Huron website.

Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times