Thursday, June 12, 2014

New column day

Here, on how the City of Regina has taken a first step - but only that so far - in making sure that new development doesn't result in the perpetual subsidization of developers by current residents.

For further reading...
- Shawn Fraser's thoughtful post on the new interim phasing and financing plan is here. And the plan was approved (PDF) (with an amendment for a single project) earlier this week.
- The Calgary study on the time it takes for a neighbourhood to start providing net benefits to a city is discussed here.
- And for those with reading time to spare, the full report from Regina's administration can be found here (PDF). Among the points referenced in the column, I'll highlight two.

First, there's the limited scope of participation in the study:
The Administration engaged the Regina & Region Home Builders’ Association (RRHBA), developers, and major landowners of the 300K growth areas. Four in-person sessions were held and two opportunities for written feedback were provided.
This was then matched by the one-sided turnout at the Executive Committee meeting which considered the report:
The following addressed and answered questions of the Committee:
-        Stu Niebergall, representing the Regina and Region Home Builders Association;
-        Bob Linner and Pat Mah, representing  North Ridge Development Corporation;
-        John Nostrand, Rev. Jerven Weekes and Daryl Brown, representing Rosewood Park Alliance Church;
-        Paul Moroz, Ned Kosteniuk and Evan Hunchak, representing Dream Development;
-        Kevin Reese, representing The Creeks;
-        Blair Forster and Chad Jedlic, representing Harvard Developments; and
-        Lorne Yagelniski, representing Kensington Greens Corporation
Second, here's the contrast between the respective views of the administration and the participating developers on the issue of municipal debt:
[The] Administration concluded that the City cannot afford to continue to pay for growth-related capital projects in accordance with the current...policy...without phasing growth. The reason for this is there would be too many projects that require SAF funding that would not generate the required revenue to pay for the projects until years after the capital expenditure had been made. This would result in the need for the City to exceed its debt limit and taxpayers to take on significant risk. Furthermore, based on the current policy, the City, and thus taxpayers, would be required to generate considerably more tax revenue to pay for its share of the plan, approximately equivalent to a one-time 7 per cent mill rate increase.
A number of Stakeholders reject debt limitations as a rationale for the need to phase development or increase SAF rates. Alternatives suggested include requesting an increase to the City’s debt limit or allocating more of the available debt to financing development.

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