The City will be holding a public meeting on Nov. 1 to discuss proposed updates to Planning Act application fees. The proposed fee updates will apply to requests for:
Zoning Bylaw amendments for developments in excess of 3,000 square meters of floor area or 50 dwelling units;
consent applications (required for actions such as severing a lot, registering a mortgage or easement, or adjusting boundaries on a land parcel);
securities reduction (a submission of financial securities is sometimes required from builders as part of a Site Plan Control agreement to ensure the satisfactory completion of required work on a site); and,
Site Plan Control modifications.
There is also a proposal for a new fee for the pre-application process.
The proposed fee changes are informed by a cost-recovery analysis commissioned by the City earlier this year. This process used an activity-based costing methodology, which assigns City resources costs through activities associated with services provided to the public, to identify areas where the full efforts of the City need to be more accurately reflected in fees. The study also reviewed several other municipalities in Ontario from a cost-comparison basis.
The goal of this study was to identify the costs associated with the provision of the different planning applications services and identify areas for greater cost recovery. Oftentimes, these applications involve numerous staff from different departments working together and may often involve use of City resources.
Working toward cost-recovery
There are more than 18 different City departments that may, at any point, be involved in processing a planning application. The sorts of expenses considered in this review include direct costs, support function costs directly related to the service being provided and general overhead costs associated with the service provided. More specifically, the City accounts for things like employee wages, utility costs, administrative costs (such as postage and printing), operating supplies, services and equipment costs.
Section 69 of the Planning Act authorizes municipalities to charge fees for the processing of planning applications and the City’s fee structure is contained within Bylaw Number 2005-10 – the Fees & Charges Bylaw. While the City does not recover 100 per cent of all application-related costs, the proposed changes will allow for an increase from 45 per cent to 49 per cent which will support the stabilization and enhancement of future department operations.
Opportunity for public input
Members of the public are welcome to attend Planning Committee on Thursday Nov. 1 in Council Chambers to learn more about the fee review and offer feedback. Attendees may present an oral or written submission on the proposed fee changes. Written submissions may also be made any time before council makes a decision.
If approved, the proposed fee increase would be in effect as of January 1, 2019, as part of the annual Fees and Charges Bylaw update.