The City’s Planning Committee has approved a framework for a community benefits charge by-law, to enable the City to collect fees that would fund community-oriented projects.
Under Section 37 of the Planning Act, the City can sometimes negotiate a financial contribution from a developer in exchange for approving greater density than local regulations permit. The City can then use those revenues to pay for projects that benefit the surrounding community.
In September 2022, provincial legislation will end the City’s ability to collect Section 37 revenues. Instead, municipalities will be able to enact a community benefits charge by-law to collect fees and fund a range of community services required as a result of new growth.
Councillor Gower explained, “the Province of Ontario is changing planning laws that will end Section 37 benefits. These benefits were a tool that the City used to negotiate with builders for extra funding for community infrastructure. We need to put a new by-law in place to replace these revenues before the fall of 2022, so this workplan will ensure that we have everything updated in time. As far as I’m aware, no previous developments in Stittsville have qualified for Section 37 benefits. The new program won’t be a big revenue-generator for the City, but it should give us more flexibility and fairness“.
Section 37 revenues in any given year are completely dependent on the number of large development projects underway at any given point in time. It is not a reliable or predictable source of revenue and cannot be accurately forecasted. Notwithstanding the relatively small amount of revenue (in comparison to other revenue sources), these funds have been used for purposes that would otherwise be difficult to finance. Examples of growth-related projects that benefitted from Section 37 include:
- Affordable housing
- Park improvements
- Cycling accessibility
- Public realm improvements
- Traffic calming
- Community gardens
The new by-law would detail the charges that would be levied on new developments or redevelopments. The Committee-approved framework includes a process to define the types of growth-related capital projects that would benefit from the new fees.
You can read the full framework report at this link.