Opening Doors, a new report funded by the BC government suggests revenue from community amenity charges (CAC’s) are a disincentive for municipalities to proactively rezone to an appropriate density.

The report says: Zoning-based charges (CACs) discourage proactive zoning for more homeslocal governments can generate CAC revenue by keeping zoning below levels that make redevelopment possible and selling additional ‘air rights’ through the zoning powers they have been delegated. Consequently, the additional costs, time, and uncertainty associated with the rezoning process—including their negative impacts on housing supply—persist.

The report recommends phasing out CAC’s, however some municipalities such as Saanich are moving in the opposite direction.

On July 12, 2021 council is considering charging $3,000 to $5,000 per door for rezonings within the Official Community Plan (OCP); $5,000 per door outside the OCP up to 6 floors; and for 6 floors plus, requiring 50% to 75% of the property’s increased value.

Saanich recently boosted Development Cost Charges 180%, increased a variety of fees, and leaped from BC Step Code 1 to 3, adding $30,000 to the cost of new homes. They are posting million dollar surpluses for inspection fees, despite a 68% decline (since 2017) in new housing.

It’s no wonder the CD Howe Institute determined government fees and regulations add $230,000 on average to the cost of a new home in Greater Victoria.

A recent Scotia Bank study revealed that among the G7 countries, Canada has the fewest dwellings per 1,000 people. To achieve the G7 average of 471 homes per 1,000, Canada would need an additional 1.8 million homes.

The federal and BC government policies promote needed population growth, but they have no housing strategy, other than more taxes, to boost supply for new Canadians and millennials starting families.

The myth that more taxes will provide more housing for Canadians has been debunked as shortages continue and prices rise.

The government’s own report reveals high housing prices are the result of low supply caused by dysfunctional rezoning processes enabled by a BC government that also refuses to rein in municipal cash grabs.

This column appears Wednesdays in the Times Colonist newspaper.

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