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Final OMB decision reached on By-Law for Development Charges

January 22, 2015

Town Council

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It was good news for the Town of Saugeen Shores when Justice Corbett of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) handed down his decision this week regarding development charges (DC) and the appeal that was made by a local developer.

 'Port Elgin Lands', the developer building a new housing project, Bluewater Estates, in Port Elgin did not agree with the Town's move to increase DC to be phased in over four years, did not like DC in general and felt that the calculations used by the Consultant, Hemson Consulting in its background study, were not correct.  The study included a proposed increase in DC for residential general services, roads, water and wastewater.

Development Charges were implemented in March, 2008 to help pay for Town services and, in March, 2013 when the existing By-Law expired, Council voted for an increase that would reach its maximum next year, 2016.

The original intent of provincial Development Charges legislation was that 'growth pays for the growth'. 

The recommendation considered at that time set out four options:

  • that Council implement general service residential DC at the full rate set out in a Backround Study that had been undertaken
  • that the DC be phased in to the full rate over four steps with the final effective in 2016
  • that the general service residential DC be discounted by 25% and phased in over the four years
  • that the general service residential development charge be discounted by 50% on the date of passage of the By-law

In August, 2014, the OMB rendered its decision to support the By-Law and calculation of increased development charges in Saugeen Shores but not before the Town has spent some $90,000 in legal fees.

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The upholding of the calculation method used by the consultant, and the final decision that was made by the OMB that the By-Law did not contravene the Development Charges Act, also has a wide-reaching impact over 143 By-Laws in communities throughout the province and how DC calculations are made.

The Town was awarded $12,000 as a portion of the legal fees that were incurred and which contributed to a major over-expenditure in the Town's 2015 Operating Budget.

Read Here to see original OMB decision


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Thursday, January 22, 2015