PEI

New parking rules a hindrance to creating affordable housing, developer says

Changes to Charlottetown’s bylaws that require new apartments to provide all parking on-site will hurt the push to build more affordable housing, says a local developer.

City says old rule allowing developers to provide off-site parking 'wasn't working well'

The City of Charlottetown says the old rules allowing parking within 780 feet of an apartment building became confusing and difficult to enforce. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

Changes to Charlottetown's bylaws that require new apartments to include all parking on-site will hurt the push to build more affordable housing, says a local developer.

Under the old rules, developers could sign parking agreements with other property owners within 780 feet of their building in order to meet the city's parking requirements.

Now, developers will need to provide the required number of parking spaces on their own lot, or pay the city $6,000 for each space they need.

Tim Banks, CEO of APM Group, says that will have to be added on to rental costs.

Driving the costs up on the unit is not affordable housing.— Tim Banks

"It just drives up the rent," he said. "And here we got a new mayor and a bunch of councillors that want to talk about affordable housing. And driving the costs up on the unit is not affordable housing."

Tim Banks, CEO of APM Group, says rental costs will go up if developers have to pay a $6,000 fee for every parking space they cannot provide on-site at new apartment buildings. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

Alex Forbes, the city's planning and heritage manager, says the bylaw was changed because there were too many problems trying to police the parking agreements.

He said the agreements also caused confusion, as tenants and customers of businesses weren't clear on just where they could park off-site, and would park outside neighbouring businesses instead.

"Wasn't working well'

"In some cases, the old arrangement where you could be within 780 feet of a property, people just didn't realize where that parking might be," Forbes said.

"Conditions were changing, properties were selling, it was hard to stay on top of these contracts. So it wasn't working well at all."

The city says it plans to lower the number of parking spaces required in buildings used for affordable housing, though it's not clear when that will happen.

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With files from Steve Bruce

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