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Towns await housing definitions

There’s been many legislative changes around development charges.

And there’s even more to come, said Nancy Neale, a manager at Watson & Associates Economists Ltd.

“There continues to be changes,” she said. “In fact, we are anticipating additional changes this year which may actually come forth during the process of undertaking your development charge study.”

Neale walked Mono council through some of the changes during its Feb. 13 meeting.

Since 2021, the province has introduced several amendments to the Development Charges Act (DCA) and Planning Act that have affected the ability of municipalities to impose charges on development to recover growth-related capital costs.

Those amendments include the More Homes for Everyone Act 2022, the More Homes Built Faster Act 2022, the Helping Home buyers, Protecting Tenants Act 2023, and the Affordable Homes and Good Jobs Act 2023.

Since 1997, there’s been nine amendments to the legislation pertaining to development charges.

“We’re expecting a No. 10 this year to take place,” Neale said.

The More Homes Built Faster Act states exemptions for affordable housing units and attainable housing units.

Deputy Mayor Fred Nix said there’s a development in town that he believes will consist of three-storey townhouse units that will sell for up to $1 million. But the developer maintains use of the word attainable.

“I assume they’re using that word because they’re hoping they’ll get a reduction in (development charges),” Nix said. “But do we know what attainable means?”

“Unfortunately, we don’t know fully what attainable means right now,” Neale said. “The act says that attainable is not rental nor is it affordable (housing). And right now that’s all it states.”

She said the section of legislation regarding attainable and affordable hasn’t been put in effect yet.

One of the things that’s anticipated is a bulletin that will set out what the average purchase price, average rental price, and the average income level is in each municipality.

“Until that bulletin is available, the affordable and attainable exemptions don’t exist,” she said and added that there’s been changes to the definition for affordable housing but there’s yet to be one for attainable housing.

After the amendment comes into effect, municipalities will have a bulletin by which attainable and affordable developments can be measured.

“If it falls within the definition of it, then it will be fully exempt from development charges,” Neale said.

The bulletin was anticipated to be ready for introduction late last year.

“I think the gathering of information has been difficult,” she said.

Mono’s development bylaw has to be in effect by July.

“If there’s no bulletin, why would we pass that bylaw because we don’t have half the information we need to execute that bylaw,” said Councillor Elaine Capes.

“Once your bylaw expires on July 30, if you don’t have a new bylaw in place you can’t collect anything going forward,” Neale said. “So you have to undertake something.”

Any legislative changes to happen after Mono’s new bylaw is in place, those changes override the rules in the bylaw.

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James Matthews, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen