At a special meeting today, Council received an update and heard from delegates about anticipated impacts associated with Bill 109, More Homes for Everyone Act, and Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act. In response, Council approved staff’s requests to immediately fund an increase in staff, as well as changes to the development application fee structure. Council will also call on the Province to reconsider its plan to defund growth, which further pushes costs of growth onto local tax and ratepayers.
“Housing is unattainable for too many people in Guelph, and we’re committed to doing what we can to create more homes and improve housing affordability,” says Jayne Holmes, the City’s deputy chief administrative officer, Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Services. “We support the Province’s goal of increasing housing supply across Ontario, however the pace at which we’re mandated to comply cannot compromise quality, liveability and safety, nor should it put the burden of paying for growth on our local taxpayers. We need all levels of government, and our development industry partners, to work together to meet these targets.”
The costs associated with these additional approved staff will be included in the 2023 budget update which will be presented to Council for confirmation on January 25. Additional requests to support Bill 109 and Bill 23 may be brought back to Council through the 2024-2027 multi-year budget process.
New development approval fees
Council also approved staff’s proposed changes to the fee structure for pre-submission review meetings to ensure the additional costs associated with the application review process are not borne by Guelph’s residents. The updated fee structure is based on a benchmarking review of fees charged by surrounding municipalities and Council directed staff to undertake a full fee study with an objective of full cost recovery in 2023.
Council will call for development charges to be maintained
Lastly, Council will call on the Province to fund financial gaps resulting from the proposed legislation within Bill 23.
Currently about 80 per cent of development growth is funded through development charges and 20 per cent is funded through property taxes. Should the Province pass the proposed Bill 23 legislation as is, it will significantly reduce development charges, parkland dedication fees and community benefit charges which are important revenue sources to support growth related infrastructure. This would increase the portion of growth-related costs funded through taxes and significantly impact existing property taxpayers.
In addition, Council supported staff’s request for the Province to review policies and penalties related to approved, yet unbuilt, housing in Guelph. Data shows there are thousands of approved, unbuilt units, which jeopardizes the City’s ability to meet the Province’s target of 18,000 new homes by 2032.
“While the City continues to do what it can to improve the development approval process and expedite application approvals, developers must also be held accountable to meeting targets by pulling permits and building approved homes within a reasonable timeframe,” adds Holmes. “We encourage the introduction of timeframes for developers to ensure we get shovels in the ground faster, and get approved, unbuilt homes ready for move-in.”
The City will review and respond to 18 open consultations related to Bill 23.
About Bill 109, More Homes for Everyone Act, 2022
Bill 109 aims to address housing shortages by mandating municipalities to expedite approvals to build homes faster. This includes forcing municipalities to partially refund zone change application fees and site plan application fees if decisions are not made within new legislated timelines.
About Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022
Bill 23 introduces municipal housing targets based on population size and growth. The City of Guelph has been assigned a housing target of 18,000 by 2032 as part of the provincial goal to build 1.5 million homes in 10 years. To meet this target, the bill proposes to exempt developers from paying development charges, parkland dedication fees and community benefit charges.