Community

Development charges income drops dramatically

York Region collected $240 million in development charges last year, down 58 per cent from $568.1 million in 2022. But the decrease was hardly a surprise.

“While development activity remains strong and York Region continues to show promise of growth, the current economic conditions in the housing market and other various factors, including labour shortages, interest rates and modifications from the More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022, have all contributed to changes in development charges income,” the Region reports.

Development charges are fees collected by municipalities on new developments and help pay for growth-related infrastructure such as water and wastewater servicing, roads and transit. The Homes Built Faster Act, 2022 – also known as Bill 23 – aims to address the housing affordability crisis by streamlining the development approval process and creating more affordable housing options.

It reduces the amount of development charges municipalities can collect to pay for those essential services. Last year, York Region estimated the changes could reduce revenues by at least $497 million and potentially up to $1.6 billion over the next decade.

Meanwhile, the fees collected for reviewing development applications increased three per cent to nearly $5.3 million in 2023 – a sign that development is set to ramp up, according to the 2023 Annual Development Activity Summary.

The Region received 1,740 development applications and pre-consultations in last year. That’s a year-over-year decrease of 17 per cent from 2,092 applications. The City of Vaughan led the charge, making up 28.7 per cent of new development applications, while the City of Markham made up 18.3 per cent and the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville made up 8.6 per cent.

The proposed residential units received as part of new draft plan of subdivision applications increased 48 per cent to 4,688 in 2023 from 3,168 in 2022 and proposed residential units in new site plan applications decreased 15.6 per cent to 15,650 in 2023 from 18,547 in 2022.

The Region ended 2023 with an approved housing supply of about 73,100 units or, based on its approved Regional Official Plan forecast, a supply of more than seven years of growth and within the provincial requirement of a three- to seven-year supply of draft approved and registered plans.

Learn more about York Region’s Growth Management at york.ca/Planning and stay up to date on Housing Affordability initiatives at york.ca/HousingAffordability. Developers and businesses can find more information about fees and approvals at york.ca/LandDevelopment.

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