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Pemberton examines development cost charges

Planner proposes new developments help pay for community amenities



The Village of Pemberton council has directed its planning consultant to research the feasibility of employing development cost charges to offset recreation amenity costs.

Planning consultant, Michael Rosen, brought the matter up at the April 25 VOP council meeting. He stated that the idea was a "work in progress" that had surfaced months before the new council was elected.

"We wanted to come to this council to make sure this was the right path to go down," said Rosen." It was clear that through meetings we had all been to that what is lacking is community amenities. People feel that it is important to have those amenities to become a complete community.

"With so much new development planned why not take the opportunity to collect money from new development to finance these facilities the community wants so badly?"

Development cost charges (DCCs) applied to new construction offset what is considered hard infrastructure: water, sewer, drainage and roads. There is no current mechanism to pay for softer infrastructure.

Rosen estimates that there are 1,000 potential residential units coming online in Pemberton over the next 10 to 20 years. He estimates that the amenity package the community wants – pool, arena, community centre, water park, skateboard park – would cost approximately $15 million. Assuming the Squamish-Lillooet regional District shared the costs, the VOP would be responsible for $7.5 million.

"Since the existing community will obviously benefit the existing community should have to bare some of the costs," said Rosen, proposing a 40/60 split.

The result would be 60 per cent, or $4.5 million, being spread over the new housing starts at a rate of approximately $4,500 each. By comparison, current DCCs for a single-family home are approximately $6,000.

"This is a starting point," said Rosen. "Obviously this needs a lot more consultation. We want a policy, kind of like Mission has, that we can take to the public and development community for discussion."

Some of those discussions with the development community have occurred in the context of larger discussions.

"We have already requested and secured commitment from developers to contribute to community amenities," said Rosen." Specifically the developer we are dealing with tonight at Silverthorne (See story page 27)."

To date no money has come from developers for amenities offsite of their developments, but there was been commitment of money or land set aside for recreation. This was the case with the proposed Raven’s Crest development. The issue arose a few weeks ago in a presentation from Lyle Leo about a 2,012-unit development that would offer 60 acres for a $9.5 million recreation facility.

Rosen said that rezoning provides the municipality with opportunities to set the terms of negotiation and that securing amenities through new development was becoming more commonplace.

"In Squamish they do it. West Vancouver is going through a policy now. The City of Vancouver has had it for years."

A time-line attached to the feasibility report will be forthcoming.