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Cash for parkland fees rise

In Barrie
Jun 23rd, 2017
Barrie Arboretum at Sunnidale Park

By Bob Bruton, Barrie Examiner

Land developers are seeing red about new calculations for green-space dedication, or cash-in-lieu of parkland, in Barrie.

The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) says it was unaware the changes were coming and is disappointed there was no consultation.

“(These are) changes that would have significant effect on the work of the development community and the growing challenge of housing affordability,” said Carmina Tupe, planning co-ordinator with BILD, in a June 19 letter to city council.

That evening, council gave final approval to new cash-in-lieu of parkland policies, effective this July 1.

Medium and high density developers would pay $5,000 per unit, as would single family homes developers within the old city boundaries – prior to the former Innisfil land being handed to Barrie by the provincial government in 2010.

Industrial and commercial developers would pay 2% of the market value of their serviced land, while institutional developers would pay at a 5% rate.

Cash-in-lieu of parkland means the developer pays funds equivalent to the value of the amount of parkland the city would otherwise have been entitled to, and required to be conveyed for park purposes, as part of the development.

Barrie’s rates have not changed in more than 20 years, say city staff.

For medium to high density development, and usually approved through the site plan process, the cash-in-lieu value has been determined before the building permit is issued and is based on the land value and uses – whether residential, commercial or industrial.

For committee of adjustment or severance applications, the city has a fixed rate for cash-in-lieu of parkland values – $2,000 a unit for single-family and semi-detached homes, $1,500 per unit for medium and high density residential townhouses and $1,000 a unit for apartments.

But city staff says these set rates don’t reflect the current land values.

Barrie maintains two cash-in-lieu of parkland reserves – one from residential sources totalling $2.8 million and another from commercial industrial sources of almost $2.5 million.

City parks staff have identified parkland needs of $35 million to 2031.

In her letter, Tupe asked council to delay its decision to allow consultation with the development community.

Also, that any changes related to the city’s parkland dedication policies be phased in to allow BILD members to plan for them in development projects.

“BLD encourages (city) staff to meet with our members prior (to) proposing process and policy changes that would affect our industry,” Tupe said.

Gloria Leonardis, BILD’s communications manager, has since said her group will be meeting with city staff in the coming weeks to discuss the implications of the bylaw and determine any next steps.

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