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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Opposition to Development Fees

Grey County | by Bayshore News Staff  

Realtors, Contractors oppose suggested 80 per cent hike in development charges.

Residential development charges in Grey County could go up by more than 80 per cent next year.

And two local real estate agents -- one of whom is also a home builder -- are speaking out against it.

They warned Grey County Council on Tuesday that not only will more and more home buyers be priced out of the market -- huge increases to development charges will also hurt one of the few thriving local industries -- construction.

Ellen Crymble of Royal LePage in Owen Sound says the multitude of fees for new home buyers include municipal development charges, HST, frontage fees and more.

She notes they add up to thousands of dollars on top of the cost of the house itself.

Crymble also points out Bruce County seems to manage quite well with no development charges -- noting they pay for their development through the tax base.

Crymble adds she's not opposed to charges as long as they're reasonable -- but she says the proposed increase is "ridiculous."

Grey County council expects to pass a new development charges bylaw at its first meeting in January.

Project director Craig Binning of Hemson Consulting told councillors the proposed residential charge is $4,183.

That's an increase of $1,869, or nearly 81 per cent, over the current charge of $2,314 for homes measuring between 1,184 and 2,422 square feet.

The proposed charge for smaller homes is $3,346.

For larger homes, it's $5,020.

Bryan Whaling of Whaling Home Construction in Hanover says it's not fair to single out the construction industry by making it pay for improvements that all county residents are able to use -- like road construction.

Whaling says the county or at least some members of council probably consider the construction industry to be a cash cow -- but he notes that industry in general is taking a hit in this area, and construction is no exception.

Blue Mountains Deputy Mayor Duncan McKinlay is the chair of a steering committee directing the issue.

He says the committee will likely meet once more before a bylaw is presented to council for debate in January.

McKinlay says the numbers presented on Tuesday by Binning are not carved in stone, but council will have to decide how much development is desired in the county and who will pay for it.


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