County wants development back on track

By Karen Best, Chronicle Staff Writer

Home construction is on troubling downward slide according to Haldimand County council members.

In January 2006, 18 permits were issued. Within a year, only 10 were issued. Then five in 2008 and only 4 last month.
In an attempt to stop the slide, the county’s planning and economic development department has streamlined planning application processes, and reduced requirements. Council will consider a policy to defer some fees.

C oun. Lorne Boyko questioned keeping the home permit projection at 18 per month as it has not been reached since 2006. Next year, the actual monthly total may be one or zero, he added.
“If they’re putting a ‘no development’ lock on the door, they have to come out with that,” Boyko said of the provincial government.

The monthly projection is based on a population study prepared for the development charges bylaw. This spring a draft charge bylaw will have updated numbers and will be presented to developers for informal input.  Coun. Buck Sloat wanted a realistic permit projection but Coun. Craig Grice wanted to retain the higher total so the provincial and federal governments can see how the county was supposed to develop.
The province has provided no new funding to cover costs or lost revenues due to Douglas Creek Estate issues, noted Karen General, corporate services general manager.
When council members debate the development charges bylaw in June, they will have to look at infrastructure costs related to growth and fair and reasonable charges to developers, said General.

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