North Saanich fleshing out new developer fees

District seeks clarity on its new amenities charge

Contributions to the District of North Saanich by potential land developers is the subject of a new policy under debate.

Mayor Alice Finall says the proposed Community Amenities Charge (CAC) came to a recent council committee meeting and was sent back to staff to get a clear picture on what the fee will be and how it compares to what developers in other communities in the region would pay.

The amenities policy, said Finall, looked at charging developers $16,000 per lot in a single family residential subdivision — plus a parkland dedication of 8.5 per cent of the total property. It includes different rates and dedications for commercial development and higher density housing options.

Council, said the mayor, questioned the amount, thinking that it seemed quite high.

“From my perspective, the report didn’t provide a full picture.”

Her motion to send it back to more work was supported by the majority of council. They asked staff to show what developers are charged in other communities — for their amenity contribution and development costs charges (DCCs), that latter of which the district does not have.

DCCs are a base fee applied per lot to cover the impact of development on municipal infrastructure. Amenity charges, said Finall, can be cash or could come in the form of land, service or other physical contributions to the community.

“We just needed a better picture,” Finall said.

“What this will do is give council the right information and give developers a clear picture.

“We haven’t had this before,” she continued. “North Saanich is an unusual community in that we don’t have development cost charges and no amenity policy in place, because we haven’t had (development pressure) before.”

The policy is expected to come up at a future council meeting, as staff refine the report and the district’s various public committees review it and make comments.