Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Langley City Council directs staff to negotiate higher Community Amenity Contributions from developers

New development requires municipalities to improve existing infrastructure. This reason is why the provincial government allows municipalities to apply Developer Cost Charges (DCC) for redevelopment projects.

Unfortunately, provincial DCC regulations are highly restrictive (the province provides a 116-page book to help municipalities interrupt DCC regulations), and the provincial government has to vet every single project.

Some absurd examples of the silliness of DCC restrictions are that DCCs can be used to build a washroom or baseball diamond in a park, but cannot be used to build a spray park or a tennis court.

As a result, municipalities such as Langley City negotiate Community Amenity Contributions (CAC) as part of the rezoning process for proposed developments. The City uses CACs to improve infrastructure which is ineligible for DCCs, but must still be built due to growth.

Currently, Langley City negotiates a CAC of $2,000 per multi-family unit. Given the escalating costs of building infrastructure such as park improvements, Council passed an updated policy yesterday to direct staff to negotiate $4,000 per multi-family unit in buildings with a 2.5 FAR or lower. A FAR of 2.5 or lower would be your typical lower-rise apartment building in Langley City.

Council also directed staff to negotiate $5,000 per multi-family unit in buildings with a FAR between 2.6 and 3.0. This FAR is your typical mixed-use building in Langley City.

For buildings with a FAR above 3.0, Council directed staff to negotiate $6,000 per multi-family unit.

As density increases, the City must improve and build more infrastructure to ensure people have a good quality of life.

Because affordable housing is an amenity, Council directed staff to reduce CACs by 75% for rental units with 10% below market rents. This must be secure for the life of a building via a legally binding housing agreement.

For units with rents geared to income or deep-subsidizes such as in the Langley Lions buildings, Council has directed staff to wave CACs as long as these rents are secured via a housing agreement.

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