Guelph seeks to finalize new Community Benefits Charges and updates to Parkland Dedication Bylaw

Summary

The City is proposing new Community Benefits Charges and making legislatively required updates to the Parkland Dedication Bylaw at a Council meeting on Monday, July 18.

Watch or participate in special council meeting on July 18

Guelph, Ont., July 11, 2022 – The City is proposing new Community Benefits Charges and making legislatively required updates to the Parkland Dedication Bylaw at a Council meeting on Monday, July 18.

“It’s important to the City of Guelph and the residents who live here that growth pays for growth in a way that is responsible, affordable and achievable in the long-term,” explains Tara Baker, city treasurer and general manager of Finance. “Exploring new funding options, like Community Benefits Charges, eases the tax burden for residents and allows us to better fund community services needed in intensification areas of the City.”

Community Benefits Charges

As part of the City’s long-term planning for capital growth revenue staff is proposing a Community Benefits Charges to provide additional funding for City facilities and services including arts and culture parking and in some cases, parks. Community Benefits Charges would cover the capital (building) costs of public services associated with new, higher density growth, which aren’t covered by development charges or parkland dedication.

Under the Planning Act, any municipality in Ontario can create and collect Community Benefits Charges for new residential buildings or structures that are at least five storeys high with 10 or more residential units. The charge cannot be greater than four per cent of the property’s land value on the day before a building permit is issued. The Community Benefits Charge is paid as a one-time fee by the property developer or builder; it’s not part of property taxes.

Parkland Dedication Bylaw update

The Parkland Dedication Bylaw is one financing tool that helps the City create parks and open spaces to match the community’s growing needs in two ways:

  1. Developers may transfer land for parks and public recreation, or
  2. Developers may provide money for future parks, park equipment or recreational buildings.

Guelph, like all municipalities, is required to update its Parkland Dedication Bylaw based on provincial legislative changes before September 2022. These updates include:

  • Improving bylaw transparency and clarity, such as updating definitions
  • Making operational improvements, for example, specifying that the bylaw only applies to the portion of the property impacted by the proposed development for commercial or industrial redevelopment, making it easier to apply the bylaw and calculate the fee

The Parkland Dedication Bylaw contains rates and limits, known as “caps”, which determine how much the City can charge in certain high-density or small land parcel situations. The rates are based on provincial legislation and City Council approved the caps in 2019. City staff are not proposing any changes to the rates and caps in the Parkland Dedication Bylaw as part of this update. The City plans to complete a full review of the Parkland Dedication Bylaw starting in 2024, including a review of rates and caps, acknowledging that consistent reviews will help the bylaw evolve as Guelph’s population grows.

Those interested can learn more about the Parkland Dedication Bylaw, including commonly asked questions and answers and review the proposed bylaw updates.

As part of the provincial requirement related to parkland dedication, the City developed a Park Plan that was ratified by City Council on April 25. The Park Plan will support the Parks and Recreation Master Plan update in 2023.

Register to delegate or submit feedback by July 18

Both the Parkland Dedication Bylaw and Community Benefits Charges will be presented to Council on July 18 for review and approval. If approved, the Parkland Dedication Bylaw would come into effect July 19, 2022, and Community Benefits Charges would take effect on September 18, 2022.

Residents can register online or email [email protected] to delegate in person or submit their written feedback about Community Benefits Charges or the Parkland Dedication Bylaw update by 10 a.m. on Friday, July 15.

Media contact

Tara Baker, City Treasurer and General Manager
Finance
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2084
[email protected]