Ontario Bill 108 may increase your property taxes

Ontario Bill 108 may increase your property taxes
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Nolan A Machan

Nolan A Machan

Nolan Machan is the Publisher of OakvilleNews.Org and has over 41 years of local Oakville knowledge. He is committed to providing Oakville residents with the most up-to-date information about our great town.

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According to Oakville Town Council, Ontario isn’t allowing the town time to study the impacts of Ontario Bill 108 the More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019.

The council asks: How will Bill 108 deliver more affordable housing and ensure that growth will pay for growth?

“In May, when the town’s comments and concerns on Bill 108 were forwarded to the province, we requested more consultation before the province took any further steps,” Mayor Rob Burton said. “Despite the serious concerns raised by municipalities and citizens across Ontario, on June 6, the Provincial Legislature passed Bill 108 into law.”

“Once again, the province is not listening to municipalities and has even adjourned the Provincial Legislature’s summer break to almost five months. The timeframe for the review of these proposed regulations, coupled with the lack of detail or consultation, completely undermines our ability to conduct a comprehensive analysis of their impact on the town’s financial position and our Official Plan, and our ability to protect the character of our existing neighbourhoods,” Mayor Burton concluded.

On June 21, the province posted four proposals seeking comments on draft regulations related to Ontario Bill 108 including:

  1. Community Benefits Charge,
  2. Planning Act,
  3. Development Charges Act
  4. LPAT Act

Oakville’s Town Council endorsed a staff report outlining the town’s position on the proposed regulations. They directed staff to submit it to:

  1. Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
  2. Office of the Attorney General

Ontario Bill 108’s impacts our town. It changes the financial tools that fund parks, libraries, recreation centres and other community infrastructure. The Bill changes where the town can require new affordable housing, how heritage buildings are conserved and how development applications are reviewed by the town and at the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT). These changes might result in reduced service levels or a property tax increase.

Ontario Bill 108 proposed new regulations and regulation changes:

  • Reduces timelines for municipalities to make decisions on “complete” development applications. A proposed regulation would make these timelines retroactive to June 6, 2019. The town’s position is that the reduced timelines should only apply to complete applications submitted after Bill 108’s Planning Act provisions come into force. Municipalities should also be permitted to deem a development application incomplete for qualitative reasons (e.g., a required study did not provide sufficient technical analysis).
  • Reinstates the former powers of the Ontario Municipal Board. The Board determines the “best planning outcome” in development disputes and potentially ignores the town’s planning decisions. Proposed regulations requires most unresolved appeals to be decided under the new rules. It revokes existing prescribed timelines for the LPAT (agreed to by all political parties) to dispose of appeals. The town requests that appeals filed under the existing LPAT Act (Bill 139) be completed under the Bill 139 rules regardless of whether a hearing has been scheduled. It is also the town’s position that the removal of the timeline requirements for the LPAT to dispose of appeals – and the return to lengthy de novo hearings – will slow down the resolution of land use disputes.
  • Changes how the municipalities will finance development-related services. Currently, development charges (DCs) – the fees collected by municipalities on new developments – pay for “hard services” such as roads and water infrastructure, and “soft services” such as libraries, community centres and parks. Under Bill 108, soft services would be removed from development charges and financed through a new “community benefits charge” (CBC) based on land value. A CBC formula has not been  proposed by the province. It is unclear how any CBC methodology based on land value could ensure revenues are maintained among Ontario municipalities so that complete communities are delivered in response to growth needs. It is the town’s position that significant consultation is needed regarding the CBC formula, and the requirements for a municipal CBC by-law, together with more time to implement it, which should run parallel with DC studies and the expiry of an existing DC by-law.

More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019, is a result of the province’s interest in increasing housing supply in Ontario. It received Royal Assent (became law) on June 6, 2019 and amends 13 different statutes. The bill impacts municipal land use and financial planning.

Ontario Bill 108 changes:

  1. Development Charges Act
  2. Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) Act
  3. Planning Act
  4. Ontario Heritage Act, among others

It comes into force by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor as the related regulations are finalized.

To learn more, read the staff report, item 7 on the August 6 Planning and Development Council agenda addendum.

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