Frequent Bulldog contributor Sheridan takes issue with The Bulldog’s stance on slashing fees that developers pay.
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Sheridan’s position is below:
I don’t have such a problem with this change, at least not from what I read in the newspaper.
Matthew Pearson (Ottawa Citizen: “City considers slashing building-permit fees”) reported that: “The proposal comes after members of the planning committee in November questioned why there are millions tucked away in three separate reserve funds, which were set up to make sure the city could enforce the provincial building code despite downturns in construction activity. The combined balance, as of Dec. 31, exceeded $51 million …. The city collected $21.6 million in fees last year, but spent just over $23 million. A reduction in the number of building permit applications resulted in about $1.5 million less in revenue.”
Anyone who has had their home renovated can identify with a “permit” cost, as they probably would have seen the city inspectors visit their site to ensure that the electrical, plumbing, heating, etc., has been done to code, i.e. the provincial construction standards. Indeed, Mike Holmes’ mantra, apart from “make it right,” is “get a permit.”
This building-permit price is a small component of the broader development charges. Development charges usually account for about five per cent of the price of a new house. And development charges have to be reviewed by the city every five years. The current development charges were approved by city council in 2014.
Development charges are used by the city to fund many city infrastructure costs, as Mayor Jim Watson explained in 2014: “Through the Building a Liveable Ottawa initiative, Council has approved the roadmap for our continued growth and prosperity. Development charges are an important tool for ensuring that growth pays for growth and the new infrastructure required to move our city forward with effective and exciting new parkland, cycling, pedestrian and transportation options for our residents and businesses, including Stage 2 of our rapid transit expansion.”
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