Cost of applying to develop in Esquimalt going up

New charges expected to keep township competitive in region

As part of a comprehensive review of outdated bylaws, Esquimalt is planning to increase its development application fees.

The old development fee schedule was passed in 1995 and is “not up to snuff,” Bill Brown, director of development services, told council Dec. 17.

He said staff looked at similar fees in other Greater Victoria municipalities and found the updates are competitive. But he admitted there was “enormous variation” in how municipalities charge for development application fees.

“Because we all use different types of categories, it’s impossible to make direct comparisons,” Brown said.

Council passed the first reading of the updated bylaws and directed staff to forward the documents to relevant stakeholders for feedback. The Esquimalt Residents Association, the Urban Development Institute and the Esquimalt Chamber of Commerce will all weigh in on the proposed changes. The township is also accepting public input until Feb. 1.

Coun. Tim Morrison said developers have complained about bureaucratic delays when applying to build in Esquimalt. He said staff should be working to provide incentives for builders.

“We also hear about Langford waiving charges or negotiating reduction (in fees),” Morrison said. “Is there an option there?”

Brown said staff won’t be waiving fees, but said Esquimalt will remain competitive against building boom areas such as Langford.

“A development variance permit in Langford is $1,250. In Esquimalt, it’s $250,” he said.

Mayor Barb Desjardins pointed out that Esquimalt, unlike many municipalities, has no development cost charges. Rather, it’s the cost of land that makes it expensive to develop in township.

“This is information we really need to put together so that we’re very clear, and people understand what we’re saying about costs,” she said.

Coun. Dave Hodgins said the township should be working to entice developers. “We need to be sure we’re treating developers with a lot of respect.”

The new fees accurately reflect the amount of time staff devote to processing development applications, said Coun. Lynda Hundleby.

“I know a lot of these applications do take a lot of staff time and I’m happy to see we’re asking for more money,” she said.

To review the bylaw, visit esquimalt.ca and look under “news releases,” or call Bill Brown at 250-414-7146.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Skygazers spot mysterious flaming object during Sunday’s lunar eclipse

University of Victoria astronomer explains the “glowing object”

Evicted UVic student questions Saanich’s housing bylaw

Emma Edmonds had been living with six roommates, while the bylaw states you cannot exceed four

Ousted legislature officials say report released to further blacken their reputations

James and Lenz say release was ‘Contrary to all principles of fairness and decent treatment’

Sooke trade show targets local business

Sookrama planned for April

Home care complaints up 45% on Vancouver Island

Number of home care hours delivered down 6%, complaints up 45 %

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

Guide no longer lists milk and dairy products as a distinct food group

Judge annuls hairdresser’s forced marriage to boss’ relative

Woman was told she’d be fired if she didn’t marry boss’s Indian relative so he could immigrate here

Liberals look to make home-buying more affordable for millennials: Morneau

Housing is expected to be a prominent campaign issue ahead of October’s federal election

Cannabis-carrying border crossers could be hit with fines under coming system

Penalties are slated to be in place some time next year

Man accused of threatening to kill ‘as many girls as I see’

Christopher W. Cleary wrote he was angry because he’d never had a girlfriend and wanted to ‘make it right’ with a mass shooting

Canadian talent abound on newly revamped Vancouver Whitecaps squad

Lineup is full of new faces after the organization parted ways with 18 players over the off-season

B.C. Green leader calls for long-term legislature financial audit

Andrew Weaver says trust in clerk and sergeant at arms is gone

No charges in fatal police Taser incident in B.C.

RCMP watchdog concludes no evidence of excessive or disproportionate force was used by officers

Most Read