Last week, we reported on the passage of Bill 73: Smart Growth for Our Communities Act, 2015 (the “Act”) and its implications for the Planning Act. This week we look at the amendments to the Development Charges Act, which mean more funding tools for municipalities for transit and recycling initiatives.
Under the Development Charges Act, a municipality may impose a development charge for developments that require certain kinds of planning approvals, like a zoning by-law or a minor variance, or if a permit must be issued under the Building Code Act, in relation to a building or structure.
Also, the Development Charges Act makes certain services associated with development ineligible services, i.e. these are services for which a municipality cannot impose a development charge.
Prior to the amendments, an ineligible service included “the provision of waste services”. The Act repealed that provision, and the regulations now indicate that ineligible services include landfill sites and services, and services for the incineration of waste.
These amendments create an incentive for providing recycling services, for which development charges can be levied, while creating a disincentive to establish more landfills and incineration sites.
A major change is the way in which transit can now be funded through development charges. Formerly, development charges could be levied for general transit, but how much was based on past service levels and was subject to a 10% reduction from the actual capital costs calculated. The amendments now allow for calculation of service costs based on future needs, rather than past use levels, and no longer subject these costs to a 10% reduction.
These are important changes. They will allow municipalities to properly fund transit expansion to meet projected and planned levels of service required flowing from development.