Given that in the past 2 years 32% of public library CEO’s have changed, with 21% in the past year alone, many of our CEO’s have never had to deal deeply with development charges and this topic is in their purview with their Boards. These are a major funding mechanism given to municipalities for building infrastructure like sewers, road and even libraries and community centres.
We’ve assembled this little list of links as an orientation to the topic. We (OLA, FOPL, SOLS) plan to cooperate with AMO and AMCTO in delivering a webinar on development charges and libraries in 2019.
You can likely find your municipality’s or county’s development charge policy by searching Google and “development charges” and the name of your jurisdiction.
Pro-Tip: Be aware of the cycle of development charge reviews in your area. Some exclude social infrastructure like libraries, culture centres, and community centres. Some have odd rules (at least from our perspective) about new builds versus renovations/additions. Be ready to influence when these opportunities come up – especially if you dream of an addition, replacement, or new building/branch in your system’s future.
TorStar: A brief explanation of development charges
“BILD (the Building Industry and Lane Development Association) agrees with the principle that growth should pay for growth and it is important to understand that the people who come to live in this region will pay for the infrastructure they require to live here. Of all the government charges and fees related to the construction of new homes, development charges are the most significant and they are becoming a big part of the cost of a new home. They are imposed by local and regional municipalities, as well as GO Transit and school boards. Rates vary across municipalities, but the combined residential fees can range from $12,000 to over $63,000 per home.
The over-arching legislation that exists to regulate the collection of these funds is the Province of Ontario’s Development Charge Act. The act sets out a process for municipalities so that they can pass their own development charge bylaws. These bylaws are accompanied by a background study, which outlines the estimated amount, type and location of development within a municipality, and the related calculations of how the new development will affect municipal services like water, wastewater and roads.
A development charges bylaw can only be passed within one year of a background study’s completion, and there are mandatory public meetings that take place as the information is prepared by municipal staff. Once that occurs, a municipality can impose charges against land that is ready to be newly-developed or redeveloped.
Provincial legislation also regulates how revenue from these charges can be used. The revenue pays for increased capital costs related to hard and soft services that come as a result of more people and businesses moving into the municipality. For example, the revenue could go toward the construction of new sewer and road systems that might not have been required before. The revenue could also be put toward soft services like new municipal recreation centres and libraries.
Critical infrastructure like water, wastewater and roads is integral to building vibrant, well-planned and well-designed communities where people can live, work and play. Hubs like community centres and libraries are also important to growing neighbourhoods. We all need and want these services, but we also have to keep the rates affordable so that the future generations of new homebuyers will one day be able to put them to good use.”
Ontario Ministry of Housing: Development Charges in Ontario 2013
18 page PDF
AMO Dispelling development charge myths and misconceptions
“A few myths and misconceptions about municipal development charges (DCs) have held up the pressing matter of DC reform in Ontario. This is a companion piece to MFOA’s report “Frozen in time: Development charges legislation still underfunding infrastructure 16 years and counting.” That report articulates the case for reforming the Development Charges Act, 1997. In this backgrounder, we unpack the following
1. DCs are ‘high’ because municipalities provide services at “gold plated”
service levels that were not provided to existing residents.
2. Residential DCs can increase the price of some kinds of housing.
3. Non-residential and industrial DCs can make municipalities less economically
competitive than they would be without DCs.
4. Some growth-related capital should be paid for through property taxes.”
18 page PDF (includes reading list)
Understanding Development Charges (Rodrigues Paiva LLP)
Development Charges Act, 1997, SO 1997, c 27