Windsor

Developers decry potential 47% rise in development charges

Developers got to voice their opinion Monday night on the City of Windsor's plan to gradually increase development charges, but they couldn't sway council's opinion.
Peter Valente, a Windsor developer, says the city should reduce charges on multi-family development properties. (Makda Ghebreslassie/CBC/Twitter)

Developers got to voice their opinion Monday night on the City of Windsor's plan to gradually increase development charges, but they couldn't sway council's opinion.

Currently the charge for building a new house is about $18,000. If an increase to that fee is approved, the development charge for building a new house could jump close to 50 per cent over the next five years.

One of the developers speaking out against the proposed increase was Peter Valente.

"They want you to believe that we should compare our development charges with peer municipalities, which include London, Kitchener, Oakville, Vaughan and Barrie. I looked it up. The average new home starts in these cities for 2014 is 2,300 units. Windsor built 300 units last year, and we're forecasting 350. Why are we comparing booming municipalities in the GTA with Windsor? We have a different situation here. We need a made-in-Windsor solution," Valente said.

Such pleas did not sway the politicians Monday. They voted unanimously to move forward with higher development fees. A formal bylaw will now be drafted for council to vote on next week.

Coun. Rino Bortolin said it's time the city recouped the true costs of development.

"We're not in the position to subsidize new development if it's not causing growth," said Bortolin. "We've saddled the same population of just over 200,000 people with an extra 30, 40 per cent of costs. We talk about a road and sewer infrastructure deficit in this city, and one of the reasons is because of poor planning over the last 40 years." 

Bortolin said he does not expect the steady increases to cause a drop-off in construction. 

"Every year, when we're looking to increase it, we're going to assess if our predictions and all the assumptions that we've made for the growth, if they're on track," he said. "If they're not on track, and the number of building permits being issued is much lower, then development charges will stay that low."

The city's website said development charges are "levied against new development and are a primary source of funding for growth-related capital expenditures."  

It said the money would go to services such as fire, police, park development, parking, transit, roads and sewage treatment.

The city has conducted a 2015 Development Charges Background Study which is available online.

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