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Wellington North council forced to withdraw development charges bylaw

by Kris Svela

KENILWORTH - Wellington North council has been forced to rescind the development charges bylaw it adopted in June, following an Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) ruling last week.

That means the township did not have the authority to reduce development charges from $17,000 to $10,000 for single family units, or to create a new bylaw retroactive to January. Council had hoped the reduction would stimulate more construction in the township.

The OMB was responding to an appeal of that bylaw by resident Jens Dam, who argued council did not have the authority to pass a bylaw reducing the development charge and make it retroactive.

Dam’s appeal was expected to be dealt with in an OMB hearing on Nov. 10, but was subsequently considered in a teleconference call instead.

“After careful evaluation of the appeal, the need to ensure that the best interests of the community are met, and on the advice of legal counsel, township’s council decided on Nov. 7 to allow the repeal of bylaw 44-11 thereby restoring bylaw 52-08, as amended,” said a township press release issued by chief administrative officer Lori Heinbuch.

“It’s back to the way it was,” Mayor Ray Tout said of the reversal. “It’s unfortunate the way it has happened.”

He blamed the size of the Development Charges Act document for the oversight. That act regulates procedures councils must follow to bring in development charge bylaws.

Tout declined to comment if developers who have taken out building permits at the reduced rate would be required to pay the full $17,000. “I can’t say too much because it’s out of our hands,” he said.

Heinbuch did not respond to an email and telephone call from the Advertiser.

Dam said he does not see the repeal as a victory, but questions why council did not get advice on proper procedures needed to pass the June bylaw.

He pointed out council is required to undertake a study before passing any new development charge bylaw. Dam said council should have been made aware of the proper procedure by staff.

“The bylaw was totally flawed because they had to have a study, which they didn’t,” he said.

Tout said council is committed to putting together a new bylaw with the reduced charges, and he hopes it will be in place early next year.

“We are as committed today as we were in June to stimulating economic growth and vibrancy in our community,” he said in the press release.

“That said, both myself and council recognize that procedural steps are required before a development charges bylaw can be amended. Starting today we are going refocus our efforts to reducing development charges, while dotting every I and crossing every ‘T’.

“This matter is far from over, and I look forward to in the near future announcing further steps the township will take to ensure development charges remain competitive.”

Dam said, “This is going to be quite interesting,” referring to any fallout from the repeal.

 

 

 

November 18, 2011

 
 

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