Planning department proposes affordable housing levy

City wants to charge developers a fee that will be forwarded on to help create affordable housing in Revelstoke

City wants to charge developers a fee that will be forwarded on to help create affordable housing in Revelstoke

Developers could be required to pay a new fee to the City of Revelstoke that will be set aside into a fund that will be used to support affordable housing.

That’s the very basic outline of a new concept being proposed by city hall, but the new idea is already getting a rough ride from opponents who say it would harm an already anemic development sector in Revelstoke.

The proposal was discussed at an April 25 planning committee meeting and is in its early stages. There are next to no specifics, just a request by the city’s planning department to further develop the idea, including its legal framework.

Planning director John Guenther said the initiative was designed to boost affordable housing initiatives. “It’s usually a win-win situation for affordable housing,” he said. “I think it is kind of trying to balance out the needs of the community.”

At the April 25 city planning committee meeting, Coun. Chris Johnston expressed opposition to the idea, saying a development boom wasn’t on the horizon for the next five years. He said the levy would be a disincentive to existing activity.

Guenther said the policy would be appropriate in the case of redevelopment planning for the Mountain View School site, for example.

Reacting to news of the plan, Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Judy Goodman said she was confident the board would be opposed to the idea.

“At first I was shocked,” Goodman said. “We don’t have a lot of people lining up to build high density in Revelstoke.”

She said the chamber’s submission to the city’s budget process this year had asked council to go in the other direction. They want the city’s development cost charges (DCC) policy to be reviewed, “to make it more competitive, not uncompetitive.”

Goodman noted very little high density housing, such as condos, had been developed in recent years. “We’re almost at a standstill here,” she said. “We need to be stimulating opportunities.”

 

 

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