By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
Council has switched gears on implementing its new development charges.
Earlier this month, council adopted its new development charge (DC) bylaw, which will see the fees pad by developers on units increased between 20 to 50 per cent depending on the type of housing.
Councillors had previously declined to support a phase-in period for the increase over one to five years, instead choosing to implement them immediately as of July 1, 2019.
However, Ward 2 regional councillor Tito Dante-Marimpietri informed The Oshawa Express a consultant had provided some misinformation regarding how much revenue the city would forgo by phasing in the increases.
Andrew Grunda of Watson and Associates had stated during a committee meeting the phase-in would defer between $3 to $10 million, which finance staff said would likely need to be recouped through tax increases.
However, Marimpietri and development services commissioner Warren Munro told The Express the consultant had based those figures on development projections which the city is unlikely to meet.
What would have been considered millions of dollars that taxpayers would have to forgo as a result of a phased in increase, we have a situation where it is really much less than that,” Marimpietri said.
Munro said the consultant based those estimates on a regional plan that projects for 1,200 new units to be built in Oshawa.
But Munro said as of June 21, the city had only handed out approximately 130 building permits in 2019. In comparison, a total of 370 building permits were approved at this same time in 2018.
“It’s not, in my opinion, reasonable to think we are going to do 1,100 building permits between July 1 and the end of the year,” Munro said.
Almost half of the building permits handed out in 2019 are exempt from development charges due to provincial and municipal guidelines, Munro adds.
The Durha Region Home Builders Association (DRBHA) notified the city it would be appealing the DC bylaw to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, the successor of the Ontario Municipal Board.
At the June 24 city council meeting, Marimpietri introduced a motion to reconsider the approval of the DC bylaw.
While council supported this motion by a seven to four vote, it failed as reconsideration motions must receive a two-thirds majority vote.
However, council then supported a motion, again by a seven to four vote, to negotiate a settlement with the DRHBA.
Councillors Marimpietri, Brian Nicholson, Bob Chapman, Jane Hurst, Rick Kerr, Bradley Marks and Mayor Dan Carter were in favour, while councillors Rosemary McConkey, John Neal, John Gray and Derek Giberson were opposed.
Gray formally objected to the mayor’s ruling to allow consideration of the settlement offer but his challenge failed.