How much should Langley Township developers pay in exchange for building more units per acre?
That was a question the Township council mulled at a recent July meeting, after receiving a report from consultant Eric Vance about the various possibilities and the ways in which neighbouring communities collect fees.
The Township already collects community amenity contributions (CACs) in some areas. CACs and density bonuses are typically used to fund additional local services and amenities, such as parks, trails, public art, and other features that a growing community needs.
Vance’s report went through three years of Township developments, and noted that out of 60 residential construction applications that sought some kind of amendment to community planning regulations, 27 (45 per cent) were seeking an increase in density.
The average increase in density was 35 per cent. The closest thing to a standard fee for municipalities seems to be asking for three times the normal CACs on the increase in density allowed.
“My sense is you’re going to see more of these,” Vance said, noting that the increasing cost of land may drive developers to seek out the advantage of greater density.
There was very little consistency in how different communities in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley collect CACs, Vance noted, but he praised one key aspect of how the Township already handles it – they are very transparent about their process and where the money will go.
Different communities collect different fees for different things, he noted.
“Affordable housing is one that’s in flux right now.”
Port Moody is putting part of its CACs towards an affordable housing fund, while Coquitlam is asking developers for daycare contributions.
Several councillors asked about the impact of greater costs on developers, and whether those will be passed along to home buyers.
“There has to be some impact,” said Vance.
But it’s difficult to say how much, he said, with the answer depending on the market, the neighbourhood, and other cost factors.
“There is no sort of black and white answer to that question.”
The council voted in favour of having staff put together a proposed policy for density bonuses.
“It looks like staff have some more work to do,” said Mayor Jack Froese.
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