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City of Mission’s proposed new developer-fees would increase rates exponentially

Residential rates would triple; commercial, industrial, institutional rates would quadruple

The City of Mission’s proposed new developer fees would increase rates exponentially, forcing developers to “pay their fair share of growth-related infrastructure costs,” according to a draft report of the new rates.

A draft of the development cost charges (DCC) bylaw was presented to council on July 11. Staff have now been directed to begin consultation with the development community before approval is sought by the province.

Director of Finance Doug Stewart said from a finance perspective, the rate is just a math exercise calculating what they need to pay for growth.

“Without the DCC increase, we wouldn’t have the funds to build the infrastructure required,” Stewart said. “If we don’t charge the right amount, the current existing taxpayers are covering the difference.”

The last review of the DCC bylaw was in 2018. A raft of master plans and strategic studies have been completed since, and construction costs have soared, according to the report.

It says the recent studies have contributed to the new DCC figures, taking into account growth estimates, capital projects, roads, water, sewer, drainage and parkland. Shared regional sewage and water utility costs have also been updated.

A big change is that most of Mission – except for specified areas in the Cedar Valley, and two industrial areas – have been amalgamated into the same price schedule.

Residential development rates have tripled, and commercial, industrial and institutional development rates have quadrupled in this area.

The municipal fee for a single family home would increase 340 per cent, from $14,700 to $50,400; 326 per cent for a townhome unit, from $10,600 to $34,600 and 319 per cent for an apartment unit, from $8,400 to $26,800.

Fees per square-metre of floor area on commercial land increases 439 per cent, from $88 to $387; 422 per cent on industrial land, from $35 to $148; and 454 per cent on institutional land, from $103 to $468.

The updated DCC bylaw would take Mission from a city with some of the lowest developer fees in the Lower Mainland, to being on the high end.

For instance, the current fees for building a single family home in Mission is nearly three times less then Port Moody’s fees – a city with over 10,000 less residents, similarly undergoing a development boom.

Stewart said proposed rates are in line with other comparable municipalities, and wouldn’t, in his opinion, scare away any potential developers.

But increased rates can put downward pressure on the land value of undeveloped parcels, he added.

“If anything the land value in Mission may have been slightly overstated, because we had low DCCs,” Stewart said.

The new rates will come into effect immediately after the bylaws are updated; applications that are submitted prior will not be affected.

Mission is also looking to increase community amenity contributions (CAC), which are used to fund improvements to benefit the general public. These are voluntary payments, but are considered a normal aspect of rezoning requests, often traded for increased density.

The current bylaw has not been updated since 2011: $2,815 for a new single-family residential lot, and the same amount for each unit in a multi-family development.

The proposed rates would change the amount from a “per unit” calculation, to a rate based on the size of the property being rezoned and land use being considered.

CACs would range from as low as $9,300 per hectare in the rural-residential designation, to as high as $2.7 million per hectare in Mission City Downtown designation.

Staff are recommending that 20 per cent of CACs should be used to support affordable housing initiatives.

Over the next month and a half, staff will be getting input from the development community, Stewart said, and he hopes to have the bylaws come before council by September.

Provincial approval can take months, he said, but they hope to have the new rates locked in by the end of the year.