Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Langley City Applies for $9.67 Million From Fed’s Housing Accelerator Fund

Townhouses under contruction

The federal government announced its Housing Accelerator Fund earlier this year. Ahmed Hussen, the federal Minister of Housing at the time, came out to Clayton to present the plan to Mayor Locke, Mayor Woodward, and myself.

The Housing Accelerator Fund allows municipalities to pick from a suite of options that will help deliver additional housing over and above what they would otherwise be able to process by 10%.

The funding for this program is based on a formula, so if Langley City were successful, we would receive $9.67 million over four years.

If Langley City received the grant, we would complete the following:

Create standard pre-approved garden suite plans to reduce the time and cost of building these units on existing detached lots - an estimated 14-unit increase over baseline.

Create standard pre-approved plex-home plans to reduce the time and cost needed to build - an estimated 8-unit increase over baseline.

Reduce parking requirements for new housing projects within 200 metres of transit to lower the cost of housing and increase the viability of building more housing - an estimated 88-unit increase over baseline.

Implement density bonusing to support creating below-market rent housing - an estimated 40-unit increase over baseline.

Waiving Public Hearings for affordable housing projects consistent with the Official Community Plan to speed up these projects - an estimated 24-unit increase over baseline.

Implementing a new/enhanced application processing systems, migrating from a paper-based system to a digital system to speed up processing time and enable City staff to process more applications - an estimated 24-unit increase over baseline.

Delegating the approval of select minor Development and Development Variance Permits to City staff to speed up the processing time for projects such as garden suites - an estimated 48-unit increase over baseline.

If the City implemented these actions, it would enable the processing of 1,680 housing units over the next three years. This is 247 units over the estimated 1,433 that the City would otherwise have processed.

Langley City’s application received the support of our MP, John Aldag.

Council approved applying to the fund at its September 25th meeting.

Now, the federal government recently paused granting Housing Accelerator Funding to Burnaby and Surrey for what I’m hoping is a misunderstanding about regional development cost charges (DCCs.) DCCs are charged on every new housing unit, commercial, or industrial development to help pay for infrastructure required to support growth. You can see Langley City’s combined DCCs on the City’s website.

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