Council mulls development cost charges

Oak Bay takes new look at development cost charge program

Oak Bay reignited its investigation into a potential development cost charge program.

“We looked at this quite a number of years ago,” said Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen. “At that time we found administration costs would outstrip income.”

A DCC program allows a municipality to collect fees from new development to help cover the cost of off site infrastructure services. Rates are typically calculated based on information such as the type, location and amount of growth that is projected to occur over a specified future period and the infrastructure services required to accommodate the growth.

“It really is a matter of reviewing the impact new development would have on our infrastructure,” Jensen said.

Beyond water mains and sewage pipes, it looks at road and park use as well, as a “surcharge recognizing the burden of development.”

Now, council felt with more ongoing renovation and redevelopment of multi-family dwellings, it was time for a review of that decision and hired Urban Systems to provide an overview for council during the May 24 meeting.

“Development cost charges would allow us to collect monies in anticipation of expanding services to meet future needs,” Jensen said. “There are other tools we can use to ensure rezoning and new development add to the overall quality of life in Oak Bay,” he said.

Requiring amenities packages, for example, or the requirement for off-site servicing (pipes and roads) should they require upgrades to allow for a development.

Council opted to hire a consultant have them report back to council later this year about a potential Oak Bay-specific DCC program.

“At which point council will have to make some decisions,” Jensen said. “We’ll still look at balancing administration costs with reserves we could build up using development cost charges.”

Municipal staff support the use of DCC’s in Oak Bay to offset the cost of community infrastructure.

Development cost charges are also identified in council’s strategic plan to proactively support reasoned community growth that stems from the implementation of the Oak Bay Official Community Plan.

“There are other tools that might be as effective,” Jensen said.

“These are all issues that have to be balanced before a decision is made.”