Halton Region News: OMB Hearings Adjourned

This is actually good news for Derry Green business park.  It gives the Region and the developers time to come to an agreement to move forward with the future corporate business park and a new survey called Boyne in Milton.  I have said many times that business growth is our biggest challenge for Milton and we need businesses to move here to help relieve the pressure on the residential taxpayer as growth continues.

I would say that we should be cautiously optimistic at this adjournment and if anything changes, I’ll post it on my website.

I’ll see you at the doors.

From the Region Of Halton Wesbite

OMB hearing adjourned on Development Charge Bylaw

Release Date: Feb 28, 2013

Halton Regional Council confirmed its position that growth pay for itself to the degree permitted by Provincial legislation, that existing taxpayers and businesses are not impacted by the costs associated with new residential growth, and that the Region’s AAA credit rating is maintained and is not impacted in any way by the cost of new growth in the Region. Staff was further directed to continue to work with the development industry to explore opportunities for a negotiated resolution to the outstanding appeals to the Development Charges (DC) Bylaw. The Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing scheduled to begin on February 25th was adjourned to allow these discussions to occur.

“I am pleased that Regional Council continues to be united on this important issue,” said Regional Chair Gary Carr. “This is another example of how Regional Council remains committed to protecting the taxpayers of Halton.”

For more information on Halton’s Development Charges visit www.halton.ca/developmentcharges.

The Regional Municipality of Halton serves more than 500,000 residents in the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton, and the Town of Oakville. Halton Region is committed to meeting the needs of its residents through the delivery of cost-effective, quality programs and services, including water and wastewater; Regional roads and planning; emergency medical services; waste management; public health; social assistance/Ontario Works; children’s and seniors’ services; social/non-profit housing; heritage programs; emergency management and economic development. For more information, dial 311 or visit Halton Region’s website at www.halton.ca.

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Media Contact:

Jane MacCaskill
CAO, Halton Region
905-825-6230
Jane.Maccaskill@halton.ca

Region of Halton Is Prepared. Are YOU?

The following is a video from Halton Region Chair Gary Carr with some information on how to be prepared in case of an emergency.  Its a great video that includes video highlites of our recent session at the Region where we did a mock emergency test with your elected officials in charge.  THANKFULLY we’re not.

Halton Regional Council Raises Development Charges for Retail

After an almost marathon regional council meeting last week, Halton Region Council voted to increase the development charges for the next few years.  As you will read in this article, the DC bylaw is updated every 5 years to have development pay for the much needed services the region provides including among other things infrastructure, water etc.

As soon as the link to the meeting is up on the Region of Halton website (www.halton.ca) I will post a link so you can watch the debate.

From Christina Commisso, Milton Canadian Champion

DC hike for retail development

Retail development will soon cost more after regional council approved a hike in development charges (DCs) Wednesday.

Beginning September, developers building spaces for clothing stores, restaurants or grocers will pay $24.98 per square-foot for Greenfield development and $22.01 per square-foot with Halton’s built boundary in DCs, which represents a 52 and 76 per cent increase over current charges, respectively.

During the DC update process, which began last September, retail developers have spoken against the increase. A Lowe’s that’s been underway in Burlington since 2007 is looking at about another $2 million in DCs, for a total of $3.85 million, without any changes in the scope of the development as a result of the increase. After speaking to council about the issue on several occasions, regional staff said the home improvement warehouse could potentially pay their DCs before the increase is implemented in September.

Non-retail development, such as office and industrial spaces will see a 25 per cent decrease in DCs while charges for homes will see a slight increase. Developers will pay more than $36, 000 in DCs for a single family home built in a Greenfield field area, which is about 13 per cent higher than what’s currently paid while the fee for houses in the built boundary will increase slightly by three per cent to about $27,000.

Changes in Halton’s DC bylaw, which is updated every five years, include a non-retail to retail conversion fee for any space that’s more than 3,000 square-feet. Also, the new bylaw states high-density development requires a minimum of 130 units per net hectare — up from the current 100-unit minimum — or a four or more storey building.

Regional Councillors Debate Development Charges

Here is an interesting article from Christina Commisso from the Champion.

Councillors debate DC issue

Corporate welfare or a tax grab?

Regional council was divided yesterday on the issue of charging business owners a development charge (DC) to convert their space from a non-retail to a retail use.

The issue was a sticking point for business improvement associations that said the hefty fee, which would amount to tens of thousands of dollars, would hurt small, family-run businesses in Halton’s downtowns.

For example, a 2,500 square-foot office, which paid DCs when it was built, that’s converted to a retail use would face a $24,000 DC.

The Region has said generally retail operations generate more traffic and wear and tear on the roads in justifying the charge.

In its 2012 development charges update, the Region agreed to wave the fee for businesses under 3,000 square-feet in the interest of economic development. However, Oakville Mayor Rob Burton called the move “corporate welfare” and asked that all businesses, regardless of size, pay the fee.

His motion was supported by most of Oakville’s councillors and Regional Chair Gary Carr, but failed after being widely criticized by the majority of Halton’s 21-member council.

“This is not welfare. Honestly, if you vote for this amendment you’re stealing money from people. Let’s find out who the thieves are,” said Halton Hills Councillor Jane Fogal. “This (conversion) amount is small to Halton Region but big for the mom and pop operations.”

Added Burlington Councillor Marianne Meed Ward, “Let’s see who is in favour of a tax grab and who is against economic development and small business owners, who are residents and taxpayers as well.”

Not all were convinced that the fee for small businesses should be waved.

“Retail, when it’s converted from an industrial or office use, it creates more demand and use of our transportation infrastructure. There is a cost, it’s not free,” said Oakville Councillor Tom Adams. “We’re talking about money that will come out of the taxpayers pocket eventually for the benefit of two or three developers. That’s the exact definition of corporate welfare.”

Fogal asked if businesses who convert from a retail operation to non-retail would receive some sort of refund on the development charges previously paid, however staff said that move would create uncertainty in terms of regional revenue.

The conversion fee was part of Halton’s 2012 development charges update, which was passed by council.

Currently non-residential DCs — office space, retail and industrial — are grouped together. The updated DCs, which come into effect September, separates retail and non-retail business into two separate categories with retail DCs increasing by 52 per cent and the non-retail charge decreasing by 25 per cent for Greenfield development.