A Langley construction crane. File photo

A “surge” of development applications in Langley City as rate hike nears

Fraser Sewerage area development cost charges will go up more than 200 per cent in May

There has been a noticeable increase in development permit applications in Langley City by builders trying to get their projects approved before new regional development costs charges drive up prices.

Effective May 1, the Fraser Sewerage area development cost charge (DCC) will more than triple in the Langleys, with the cost of a single family residential project going from $1,711 a unit to $5,428, a 217 per cent hike, while townhouses go from a DCC of $1,515 a unit to $4,695, a 210 per cent hike, and apartments go up from $1,082 a unit to $3,531, a hike of 226 per cent.

Non-residential properties also face a big jump, from 82 cents per square foot to $2.67 a square foot, a 226 per cent hike.

Those are the highest increases in Metro Vancouver.

The three other sewerage areas, Vancouver, North Shore And Lulu Island, will see hikes ranging between 78 and 111 per cent.

According to a Metro report, this is because the Fraser area is expected to see 73 per cent of all the growth in Metro Vancouver and the majority of projects are within the Fraser Sewerage Area.

While exact figures are not available, staff at Langley City are reporting an increase in applications from builders specifically asking if their application can be processed before May 1.

“I think there has been a surge, for sure,” said Rick Bomhof, director of Engineering, Parks and Environment.

The DCC hikes represent a catch-up by the Metro Vancouver regional authority, which said the rates have not been adjusted since they were passed in 1997.

“At the introduction of the DCC program (in 1997), rates were set based on the development plans of member municipalities and the necessary infrastructure expansion required to service that development,” Metro Vancouver noted on its website.

“Since that time, DCC rates have not been updated, despite the significant growth in development throughout the Metro Vancouver region, the increasing need for system expansion, and the rising cost of liquid waste infrastructure.”

Councillor Gayle Martin said Metro should have phased in the increase rather than implementing it all at once.

“Here we are, 20 years later. Why wasn’t someone looking at this?” Martin said.

“It’s unbelievable. Our increase is three times what everyone else’s is.”

Housing affordability is already a huge concern in the Lower Mainland, Martin said, adding the sharp increase in DCCs won’t help.

“There’s going to definitely be an added expense, Mayor Ted Schaffer said.

“It will affect the new developments.”

The ability of the City’s already-busy permit staff to accommodate the surge of requests for expedited processing is limited.

The municipality saw the number of projects more than double last year, passing the $100 million and setting an all-time record.

Much of it was the result of an increase in multi-family condos, townhouses and market rentals, from 128 residential units worth $22.4 million in 2016 to 421 residential units with a value of $77.7 million in 2017.

In all, 368 building permits were issued in 2017 compared to 333 the previous year.

Over the previous five years, building permits have averaged $41.5 million a year.

READ MORE: Langley City is in the middle of a building boom

READ MORE: Langley City sets $100 million construction record

Over at the Township of Langley, while permit appliocations are up, Ramin Seifi, the Township’s general manager of Engineering and Community Development, doesn’t think the increase is tied to the DCC hikes.

“The Township of Langley has received an above-average volume of development applications over the past year or so,” Seifi said in response to a Times query.

“While fees and charges are always a factor in the timing of development applications, (Township) staff does not believe that the increase in activity is directly attributed the proposed increase in regional DCCs.”

The Township of Langley recorded $511 million in building permits in 2017, up from $444 million the year before.

– with files from Brenda Anderson



dan.ferguson@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

North Langley Kodiaks defense dominates in Victoria victory

Five separate Kodiaks players scored touchdowns during lopsided win

Traffic lights going up on accident-prone 16 Avenue in Langley

Work is underway on safety improvements at three intersections along route

Thousands attend speech by Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints leader in Langley

President Russell M. Nelson is accepted by the church as a prophet, seer, and revelator

VIDEO: Rough days for Langley Rivermen

Chilliwack Chiefs proved tough opponents in back-to-back games

Free day at the new Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre

Event held to mark completion of the project coincides with $17K donation by Aldergrove Rotary Club

U.S. congressman issues dire warning to Canada’s NAFTA team: time is running out

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is expected to resume talks with the U.S.

Researchers tag great white shark in Atlantic Canada

Information will be used to learn more about where white sharks move in Canadian waters

Mix-up of bodies leads to funeral home reforms in Nova Scotia

One woman was was mistakenly cremated, another was embalmed and presented to family members during a visitation that went horribly wrong

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

Cyclists finish North America trip to highlight Ukraine struggle

The 10,000 bike ride raised over $10,000 for victims of the war in Ukraine.

21 new paramedics promised for B.C. Interior

A total of 18 new full-time paramedics will be hired for Kamloops and three are being hired for Chase.

Federal stats show slight increase in irregular migrant claims in August

113 extra people tried to cross the Canadian border last month

Tornado reported near B.C. lake

Environment Canada investigates, says a ‘possible’ tornado took place in Mission, by Hayward Lake

Most Read