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Angus development charges dropping

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In Essa
Oct 5th, 2013
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By Brad Pritchard Alliston Herald Sep 27, 2013 
ESSA – It’s getting cheaper to build a new home or business in Angus.
Council has approved an updated development charges bylaw that includes significant reductions for some of the fees collected by the municipality from developers to help pay for infrastructure and service costs.
Angus will benefit the most from the lower development charges, with single and semi-detached homes dropping from the current $31,317 to $17,515 (a 44 per cent decrease) while non-residential development will dip from $135.98 to $89.88 per square metre (a 34 per cent decrease).
Thornton will also see a reduction for single and semi-detached homes from $18,296 to $15,516, a decline of 15 per cent.
The main factors for the dip in rates according to township CAO Greg Murphy was faster than expected growth, combined with the fact the township hasn’t had to spend additional tax dollars to expand the Angus wastewater treatment plant.
“The last time we did our five-year review, at the time it was projected that there was only going to be about 100 or 110 homes built per year, but we exceeded that over the five year period,” Murphy said. “So as a result the debt on our water and waste water treatment plants got paid down a little faster than what was anticipated.”
Murphy said the Angus wastewater plant was designed to handle all of the development in Angus up to 2031, eliminating the need to undergo a major expansion over the last five years since development charges were reviewed.
While noting the township can only ask for what it’s entitled to under the Development Charges Act, Essa Mayor Terry Dowdall was still pleased to see the drop in rates.
“You can’t ask developers to pay for other development in the township,” he said. “It can only be related to theirs, and then a certain portion to some things like roads.
“I think this is a good news story, especially for first time home buyers and hopefully developers will pass it on to the end users.”
The decreases are not across the board, however. Development costs are set to rise in the Baxter area to help pay for wastewater capital costs for a proposed 250-home subdivision.
In Baxter, charges for a single and semi-detached home are rising from $9,645 to $13,942, a 45 per cent increase, while non-residential will be going up from $38.11 to 67.78 per square metre.
Non-residential development costs are also going up in Thornton from $73.91 to 87.94 per square metre.
Despite the rocky economy of recent years, Murphy said building permits have been up across the township and he remains optimistic the trend will continue, especially now with the lower development rates.
“We’re quite pleased our development charges are going down and we hope it will attract more development,” he said.
The new rates also reflect eight new growth-related roads projects worth about $2.2 million.
The township’s development charges are reviewed once every five years and council ratified the new rates at the Sept. 18 meeting.
Through the Development Charges Act, municipalities are allowed to collect fees from developers to help offset the costs from the increased need for municipal services such as roads maintenance and construction, water and sewer services, parks and recreation and police/fire services.

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