In what came as a shock to many in chambers as well as those following the meeting online via twitter, is that Council chose to accept a staff report to abandon any method of recovering the $140,000 in development charges (DC) missing from a creative application of the “secondary suites” exemptions by Jennark Homes, who built what opponents see as “duplexes” in the Aberdeen Blvd area.
The staff report recommends against pursuing the money and stands behind their belief that the ten homes are single family residences with a secondary suites and not duplexes (which would have seen far more development charge income collected by the town). The staff report goes on to state that if Council chooses to go against the staff recommendation, that a legal opinion should be sought. This is reasonable advice although we are not privy to the logic or reasoning behind the stance that sees the Planning department convinced that these “duplexes” are not duplexes and therefore exempt from the extra DC fees.
In an on-desk letter provided anonymously to us and embedded below, the points are well made and clearly call on Council to at least seek a legal opinion or at very least “ask” Jennark to consider paying some or all of the DC monies it was able to save by this “error” or “misidentification” of the duplexes.
A motion to seek legal opinion about the Town’s (aka taxpayers) options in recouping these costs was tabled at the meeting and resulted in a tie, which defeats it. So, now it is open season. Any developer can go to the Town, get approved to build single family homes, add-on a secondary suite and actually build a duplex and save the DC money AND get away with building a duplex on land and developments where only single family dwellings were allowed or zoned?
There are so many unanswered questions around this issue and we are left wondering why this was allowed to happen, what rules, if any, prevent this from happening again and how Council can justify this loss to the ratepayers all the while whine about human resource costs and look to cut and save at the expense of valued services to the community?
Read the letter below for a clear picture of the issue. Council had this letter on their desks and knew all these facts before the issue was debated and voted on. Deputy Mayor Mike Ross was absent last night and while we don’t know how he would have voted, it is too bad that his vote was not recorded as it may have made the difference between losing $140,000 dollars or recovering these funds and clearing the air around this issue and the developer.
Read the original story we posted on this topic.