Steep development application fee hikes to go before council

Development industry “conditionally” backs increases if they result in shorter permitting processes

Glacier Media Real Estate
July 24, 2018

city hall
Vancouver city hall. Photo Dan Toulgoet


A series of steep development and rezoning application fee increases recommended by City staff will go before council today (July 24).

The fee hikes, which would be effective from January 1, 2019, range from a 12 per cent increase “in most categories” to a jump of 55 per cent for “downtown rezoning enquiries and large sustainable site applications.” There will be no increase in laneway housing application fees.

The staff report being put before council says that the $7.9 million in additional revenue would go to increased staffing to process building permit applications.

The report says, “Given the continuing gap between city costs to process applications and the revenues generated by these permits, it is recommended that fees be increased.”

Responding to the report, Anne McMullin, president and CEO of development industry lobby group the Urban Development Institute, said the UDI “conditionally” supported the fee increases.

She said in a statement, “UDI has been conditionally supportive of the increased staffing and associated fee increases… as long as the incremental resources are directed at resolving the City’s chronic processing and approval delays. While the fee increases are quite high… if our industry’s processing times are dramatically reduced, the significant time savings will be worth the investment. Moving forward, it is critical that the City work with industry to ensure that the anticipated improvement in processing times is achieved.”

A recent C.D. Howe Institute report found that “barriers to building” such as zoning and land-use restrictions, planning delays, development cost charges and more are adding around $644,000 to the cost of a typical new detached house in Metro Vancouver.

That report was closely followed by a study out of UBC, which said that taxes and fees make up 26 per cent of the cost of a new Vancouver condo.

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