The city is proposing to restore and slightly increase the portion of development charges that are earmarked for affordable housing.
Since the introduction of the 2009 bylaw, the city has collected $189 for every single- and semi-detached home built. The charges are among those collected from developers to pay for things such as roads and transit, and the cost is usually passed on directly to consumers.
As of Oct. 1, that amount will climb to $208.
That means the revised development charge (DC) for building single- or semi-detached homes inside the Greenbelt will be $22,173, up from $21,965, while the cost for constructing the same type of home outside the Greenbelt will be $30,362, up from $30,154.
Against the wishes of housing advocates, staff recommended in May that the collection of specific DCs for affordable housing and childcare be removed from the bylaw because the money collected for each is not currently being spent.
The committee, and later council, approved the updated bylaw, but only after committee members passed a motion directing staff to further study whether the affordable housing and childcare charges could be added back.
Throughout the life of the 2009 bylaw, which included a lengthy phase-in period, the city says it collected approximately $2.1 million in the Affordable Housing Development Charges fund. That cash will be used to support the development of affordable housing in 2015 in the Longfields subdivision on lands currently held by the Ottawa Community Lands Development Corporation.
The city collected an additional $3.6 million through development charges to build new childcare spaces, but it remains unclear how that money will be used. It can only be spent on childcare centres owned or operated by the city, but such a venture is not on the horizon.
Coun. Mark Taylor, chair of the community and protective services committee, said the DC money helps support the city’s 10-year plan to eliminate homelessness.
“Collecting funds for building new, affordable housing isn’t the only tool in the tool box, but it’s an important one that we shouldn’t pass up,” he said.
As for a specific DC for childcare, Taylor said that may not come until early next year.
“It will be a couple more months before (staff) land on a comprehensive recommendation,” Taylor said.
The planning committee will discuss the DC proposal at Thursday’s meeting. If approved, council will be asked to approve the increase at an upcoming meeting.
Source Ottawa Citizen - August 19th 2014