Development Charges

Development Charges Act

The Development Charges Act, 1997 enables municipalities in the province to enact by-laws to impose development charges against lands to be developed to pay for growth-related capital costs for municipal services such as roads, water, wastewater, public works, recreation, police and fire protection.  A municipality has to complete a development charge background study and hold at least one public meeting before passing a development charge by-law.

A development charge by-law may be appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (formerly the Ontario Municipal Board) within 40 days of the passing of the by-law.

The Development Charges Act, 1997 also has a complaint procedure, under Section 20, whereby a person required to pay a development charge may file a complaint with the council of the municipality imposing the development charge for the following reasons:

 (a)        the amount of the development charge was incorrectly determined;
(b)        whether a credit is available to be used against the development charge, or the amount of the credit or the service with respect to which the credit was given, was incorrectly determined; or
(c)        there was an error in the application of the development charge by-law.

Such a complaint must be made in writing within 90 days after the day the development charge is payable.  The decision of council regarding a complaint may be appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal by the complainant.

Wood Bull Services

Wood Bull provides advice and representation to both private and public sector clients on questions and challenges involving development charges.  Some of these challenges have involved hearings before the Ontario Municipal Board/Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, while others have been resolved through negotiations and settlements.  For instance, Wood Bull negotiated a favorable settlement for a client, resulting in development charge savings of approximately $4 million.

Wood Bull also has extensive experience advising clients on all types of land development agreements, including front-ending agreements under the Development Charges Act, 1997, cost sharing agreements, and other types of development agreements that may be entered into between a landowner and a municipality or between two or more landowners.

Dennis Wood is one of the leading authors and commentators on development charges and municipal infrastructure financing, and authored the first comprehensive textbook on development charges in the province.

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