PEI

Details of Charlottetown affordable housing policy presented to committee

The city of Charlottetown's policy on affordable housing is one step closer to being approved.

Draft document will have to be passed by council before being approved

'If a young family wants to buy a home and they knew they could have the opportunity to be able to afford it with a rental unit built in, that may be able to help them get out of an apartment complex,' says Charlottetown CAO Peter Kelly. (CBC)

The City of Charlottetown's policy on affordable housing is one step closer to being approved.

At a meeting of the advanced planning, priorities and special projects committee on Wednesday CAO Peter Kelly presented the draft document which would serve as a program for the city to work under.

"To bring forward opportunities to [incentivize] the development community and or others who wish to bring these types of housing developments into the city which are badly needed," he said. 

Tax incentives proposed 

In the document there are many recommendations put forward for council to consider, among them are further density bonuses and tax incentives for developers.

The document reads that the city could offer up to a 100 per cent property tax exemption on all new affordable housing units that meet the city's needs for a period of 20 years.

People have the right to live respectably ...​ throughout the community and if we can help get us there then we have that responsibility to do so.— Peter Kelly, Charlottetown CAO

But Kelly explains that the formula to figure out that incentive is based on many factors, including how many units will go into a development.

"Whether there's discussion for the bonus density and that may alter that formula. If there's issues about permitting that may alter that formula, or parkland dedication."

Other forms of housing

Other recommendations are to allow for alternative housing types, one being tiny homes, which are currently not allowed in the city. Kelly said the city is also looking at allowing auxiliary suites, such as garden suites or basement apartments without requiring zoning changes to the property, with the hope of freeing up more density in the city.

"If a young family wants to buy a home and they knew they could have the opportunity to be able to afford it with a rental unit built in, that may be able to help them get out of an apartment complex, free them up for other people to use," said Kelly. 

Charlottetown CAO Peter Kelly says the policy was written after research with other municipalities from across the country. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC )

A main focus of the policy is to avoid a concentration of affordable units, instead spreading them throughout each city ward.

"You don't want to stigmatize, you want to be able to blend across the entire city," said Kelly. 

"At the end of the day it would be great not to know what is affordable and what is not. People have the right to live respectably ...​ throughout the community and if we can help get us there then we have that responsibility to do so."

Getting the province onside 

The policy contains plans for lobbying the provincial government on several fronts, from matching the property tax exemption to allowing municipalities to require a percentage of affordable housing in their zoning bylaws. 

The committee voted to set up a meeting with the province to discuss the recommendations.

Then it will move forward to council to deliberate, and possibly make changes.  

Kelly hopes to get the document before a committee of the whole in August.

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About the Author

Natalia Goodwin

Video Journalist

Natalia is a multi-platform journalist in Ottawa. She has also worked for CBC in P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador.

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