Tuesday September 02, 2014

Land development costs jump

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The cost to develop land in Yorkton is about to increase dramatically if a new Development Charges Bylaw is given second and third reading by Council.

Monday the bylaw, which includes major increases from the current fee of $39,604 per hectare, or $16,000 per acre, received unanimous first reading support.

Under the proposed bylaw fees would be split into three categories, each being assigned a different fee. Residential would be set at $36,000 an acre, with commercial and industrial land development charges set at $69,000 an acre.

“The residential fee is lower because this land use typically requires less vehicle trips, water consumption and waste water production reflecting a lower overall impact on municipal facilities and systems when compared to the other two,” detailed an administrative report circulated to Council.

Senior management reviewed this matter and recommended that the charge be implemented as follows:

*Fifty per cent of the charge is payable through the servicing agreement at the time of

subdivision by the developer.

*The remaining fifty per cent is payable by the developer at the time of sale and

transfer of title to a third party.

“This approach will mean that Finance and Planning Services will need to work closely together to monitor lot sales and title transfers in order to obtain the outstanding development charge for the individual lot. The city has leverage through building permit approval to ensure the development charge is paid. If it is not paid, no building permit is issued. There will be a time lag between the time a subdivision occurs and when the remaining development charge can be collected. This approach, however, has the benefit of not being as onerous on the developer then if 100 per cent of the development charge is collected up front,” detailed the report.

Gord Shaw, Director of Planning and Engineering with the City said while the new fee structure would come into effect with the passage of the bylaw’s third reading, four projects already initiated are looking to be assessed the existing low charge.

Four developers are interested in developing portions of their land holdings. These four developers are interested in developing approximately 123 ha or 303 ac. These developers seek approval from City Council to be assessed under the existing development charge of $39,604.00/ha or $16,000.00/ac.

The four parcels of land in question would end up costing the city about $200,000 that would not be covered by the existing $16,000 per acre charge.

Councillor Les Arnelien said, in making the motion for first reading, that the bylaw changes would bring development charges in Yorkton into line with other cities in the province.

Coun. Ross Fisher picked up on that theme stating the new developments fees “are more in line with our costs.”

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