Pitt Meadows considers amenity bylaw

Council could apply the new policy to fourth reading of Sutton Place.

The development is to have 220 townhomes.

The development is to have 220 townhomes.

Onni’s proposed Sutton Place Townhouse development in Pitt Meadows may be subject to a $900,000 charge for amenity fees under a new bylaw being considered.

Council is on the verge of establishing amenity fees, charged to developers to help cities provide citizens with library space, sports fields, bike paths and other facilities. Most Lower Mainland cities charge such fees.

A city staff report referred to Maple Ridge’s bylaw, which charges a flat fee of $5,100 per single family lot, $4,100 per townhouse unit, and $3,100 per apartment unit as per it’s 2015 Community Amenity Contribution Program.

Pitt Meadows Coun. Bill Dingwall the said the $4,100 per unit charged by Maple Ridge for townhouse units, if matched in Pitt Meadows, would net the city $900,000 for the 220-unit Sutton Place development, for which council just granted third reading.

He asked if amenity fees could be applied to the project?

“This is supposedly the last big residential development for us,” he said.

Kate Zanon, director of development services, said council could apply the new policy to fourth reading. She also said it could be dealt with as a one-off.

“With any rezoning application, council has the discretion to negotiate an amenity contribution.”

Coun. Janis Elkerton assumed the charges would apply to Sutton Place and said the fees have been an initiative of council for a long time.

“This is not something that just came out of the blue,” she added. “Other communities throughout the Lower Mainland have had this amenity charge for years.”

Coun. David Murray suggested that money from amenity fees could be used for affordable housing, to provide relief for seniors or young families.

Zanon said affordable housing is one of the areas an amenity contribution could apply to, or council could ask a developer to apply the value of its contribution to the property, to create affordable housing.

Mayor John Becker said council has done little to make Sutton Place more affordable for families.

“We’re talking about the $900,000 potentially being pulled out of the Sutton project. We’ve already decreased the density from 275 to 220,” said Becker.

“So the notion of affordability is quickly disappearing as we talk about extracting more from the developer – because the developer doesn’t pay it, the purchasers pay it.”

He said the sale price of units could go up.

A draft amenity policy is being prepared by staff.