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City cuts development charges by 50%, but not for residential builds

Council hopes cut will attract more commercial development
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Construction
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

City council has spoken on where its priorities lie when it comes to development in Greater Sudbury as they passed their development charges bylaw on June 11.

Meeting inside council chambers Tuesday night, council debated at length over reductions to the city's development charges, ultimately opting to cut charges for industrial, commercial, institutional (ICI) development by 50 per cent.

Council voted to scrap a resolution that would have seen residential development charges cut by the same amount while freezing that rate for the next five years with no annual inflation. 

The recently passed Bill 108 raised contention throughout the evening's debate when it came to the hard numbers as Premier Doug Ford's More Homes, More Choice Act 2019 was passed on June 6 and will result in provinically mandated reductions to development charges, in addition to the ones that the city has already passed.

Ward 7 Coun. Mike Jakubo was the most vocally opposed to reducing residential development charges, indicating that he was not comfortable with a blanket structure and would have preferred a more strategic and measured approach when it came to development charges for residential buildings.

"Our growth numbers are fairly low, I just don't really see the benefit in a reduction of residential development charges," said Jakubo. 

Council voted that no changes will be made to residential development charges, with Jakubo and a number of his colleagues stressing the importance of ICI development in strengthening the city's economy.

There will however be incentivizes for building smaller homes under 1,000 square feet by applying the multi-dwelling rate for those homes.

More debate arose when Ward 4 Coun. Geoff McCausland presented an amendment to development charge changes along the city's main nodes and corridors - areas like the Kingsway, Barrydowne, Lasalle, and the downtown.

McCausland presented an amendment that would see a reduction in development charges to residential development in these specified areas within 100 metres of the main nodes and corridors.

This was met with some raised eyebrows, specifically from Ward 10 Coun. Fern Cormier.

"Those areas are mostly zoned as commercial, the residential units in those areas have been there since the 1960s, you don't see very much residential development in those areas," said Cormier.

After some debate, council agreed to amend the amendment to read as development of multi-unit (more than four) buildings would see a 50-per-cent reduction in their development charge, in an effort to promote building upwards more than outwards in the city's more densely built up areas.




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