| Sep 17, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - September 17, 2009South Frontenac Council - Sept 15/09

South Frontenac Council raises development fees

By Jeff Green

South Frontenac Council needs to renew its bylaw regarding development fees, and council has been considering how much to charge people who seek to develop new building lots in the township.

Development fees are something that the province has made available to municipalities as a means of raising revenue to cover for the infrastructure costs that are associated with new development.

“They apply only to developments on newly created lots,” said South Frontenac staff planner Lindsay Mills, “not to upgrades to existing dwellings.”

Under the township’s five-year-old development fee bylaw, which is up for renewal this month, anyone seeking to build on a new lot is charged $2,290 by South Frontenac Township. This fee, which is in addition to building permit fees and property taxes, is designed to allow the municipality to pay for increased capital costs that are expected to arise from the development.

According to a consultant’s report prepared for Council as it considers a new bylaw, most of the development fees collected, 83%, is spent on public works needs – roads, bridges, waste sites, etc.; 12.5% is spent on fire protection, 2% on police and 2% on library facilities.

The consultant also calculated, based on forecast growth and its impact on township service needs, that South Frontenac’s development fee should increase to $5,100 for new residential development.

This was more of an increase than Council thought was reasonable. They are instead proposing to raise the fee to $4,000, and to phase in that increase over five years. On October 19, when the new bylaw is to take effect, the fee is slated to become $2,500, and it will go up on January 1 of each year until 2014, when it will hit the $4,000 mark.

The South Frontenac fee compares favourably with many other municipalities, but not to others.

For example, the fee in Rural Kingston, which South Frontenac borders, is a whopping $7,280. Stone Mills and Central Frontenac, which also border South Frontenac, do not have development fees at all, Tay Valley has a $2,500 fee and Loyalist Township a $3,892 fee.

“It seems that the closer you got to Toronto, whether it is a rural or an urban area, the higher the fees are. It’s similar as you get towards Ottawa,” said Lindsay Mills. “The desirability of the location seems to have something to do with it.”

The fees for commercial development are based on a per square foot calculation. They are slated to rise from the current charge of $2.00 per square foot to $2.18 next month, rising to $4.00 by 2014. So, for example, a 10,000 square foot development would pay $20,360 next month, rising to $40,000 by 2014.

The development fee bylaw was the subject of a public meeting in Sydenham on Tuesday night, and will be considered by council on October 6. 

Sustainability Planner

By Wilma Kenny

Joe Gallivan, the newly appointed Manager of Sustainable Planning for Frontenac County, came to introduce himself to council. He has a background in planning, and most recently worked for the City of Kingston as their Project Manager. One of his immediate projects will be to complete the county GIS mapping initiative. "I'm here to help out," Gallivan noted, saying he'd be happy to be of assistance to township staff, or community groups with planning related to sustainability issues.

Public avoid meetings

There were no members of the public present regarding either a severance in Portland, or the proposed Development Charges by-law. Mayor Davison suggested that perhaps the by-law was being brought forward too quickly, and council might wish to postpone the final adoption.

Councilor David Hahn pointed out that current residents were unlikely to be opposed to the development charges, as they benefited from them. Councilor John Fillion was the only one to vote against passing the revised by-law, saying he feared a development charge might discourage development in the township.

Waste collection

In regard to the recommended changes to the solid Waste Collection program, Public Works Manager Mark Segsworth called the extension of waste pick-up services to Bedford district "a significant step in the evolution of the township and harmonization of services."

As in the rest of the districts, commercial businesses can either provide their own waste disposal, or come in & sign up for residential level services at residential costs. There will be the same level of service across the whole township. Councilor Bill Robinson expressed concern that the phrase "where practical" was much too vague. Segsworth said that pick-up would beprovided at the roadside wherever the school busses travelled. Residents on less accessible roads would have to bring their waste to a pickup place. He said a significant amount of work remained to get thedetails sorted out.

Waste management will be financed by dividing net costs equally between residences (including any businesses that opt for the residential level ofservice) as opposed to using the mill rate to determine individual costs. Planning will focus on collection issues in 2010, and landfill operational plans in 2011.

Councilor Hahn pointed out that the charge forany bag tags above the 50 to be issued annually would be lowered from $3.00 to $2.00. Council passed the Waste Collection Plan, with Councilor Robinson opposed.

Library architect chosen

Council endorsed the recommendation of the Architect Selection Panel, to recommend to the County the acceptance of the firm of Shoalts and Zabackfor the design of the new library in Sydenham. The building is to be constructed to LEED environmental standards.

Council unanimously supported this motion.

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