Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Annual Secondary Suite Fee in the Township of Langley?

So, I was reading the agenda for last night's Township Council meeting and came across the following notice of motion:
At the March 5, 2012 Regular Evening Meeting of Council, Councillor Richter
provided the following Notice of Motion:

1. Secondary Suites

Whereas more secondary suites are being added in Township of Langley homes;
Whereas there are no additional taxes paid by single family home owners with secondary suites; and
Whereas secondary suites do incur additional municipal costs for services such as water, sewer, garbage, recycling, parking, parks, street use, etc.;

Therefore be it resolved that Township Council hold a public hearing style meeting to receive input from the public on whether or not the Township should implement an annual secondary suite fee or tax in future budgets to help offset these additional costs.
While the motion seems like a great idea, I think that one of the challenges that the Township will face is enforcement. I believe there are still more illegal suites than legal suites in our community and adding this fee will be another disincentive for people to make their suites legal.

I've always supported a user-fee system that changes people for what they use instead of a flat-rate system that can be unfair. Water meters capture water and sewer usage. Already, there is a limit on the amount of garbage that can put out. Many city services are already based on user usage fees.

I think the major issue for people is parking or lack there-of, and that can be solved by looking at communities like Vancouver which have on-street parking permits. All the Township needs to do is hand out 1 or 2 parking permits per legal household and change a nominal fee to cover the administration of the program. This would ensure that people with illegal suites are not "steeling" parking. I think this would be a far more effective solution.

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