Development Cost Charges are proving to be extremely challenging issue.
According to Mayor Bruce Lantz, the idea of Development Cost Charges is one that the City has been “wrestling with for over a year”. The implementation of DCC’s was halted at Monday’s City Council Meeting, due to confusion with City Council members regarding some issues involved with the process.
One of the issues raised involved the amount of assistance that would be provided once the Development Cost Charges were implemented. Originally, developers would only be assisted 30 per cent after the programs beginning in 2012. The assist factor would then decrease to 15 per cent in 2014 and would diminish after the year was over.
However, some members of City Council were under the impression that the assist factors would start at 40 per cent when the program begins in 2012, then decrease to 25 per cent in 2014 and would reduce one final time to five per cent in 2016.
After discussing the issue, it was agreed upon that further development would be necessary before any implementations could occur.
Another issue raised with regards to implementing DCC’s involves non-profit housing. Not only was there an unclear definition of the term but also building such developments would be extremely expensive for non-profit organizations. Some Council members felt that such housing should be exempt from Development Cost Charges and the bylaw should be re-examined and modified to accommodate this idea.
The issues above prevented the first reading of DCC’s during Monday’s meeting.
Council agreed that more time was necessary before progressing with the program. Issues needed to be clarified and Council recommended another meeting for the public and developers to inform them of the changes.
Lantz stresses that since this is the first Development Cost Program in Fort St. John, its imperative that “we get it right.”