The Town of Creston has embarked on a review of development cost charges (DCCs), a system that pre-determines the costs of building and upgrading water, sewer and roads to accommodate new development.
“This is a process that should be reviewed regularly to ensure it meets the needs of developers and the town,” municipal services co-ordinator Ross Beddoes told town council last week.
Beddoes said one public meeting was held on May 31 and about 15 residents and developers attended and were asked for input.
DCCs were first introduced in Creston in 1980 and included property in the extreme southwest portion of the town. In 1981, the Alice Siding area was designated as a DCC site. The most recent update was in 2009.
At the direction of town council, Focus Corporation, a Rossland firm, was contracted to review the DCC bylaw, which addresses how water, sanitary sewer, storm drain and road improvements off of development sites are financed.
While developers foot the full costs of infrastructure on a site, expansions or upgrades to systems away from the development are often required, at no direct benefit to the existing taxpayer. DCCs are intended to ensure developers know the full cost of proposed developments when they embark on a project.
“Developers from outside of town generally consider that DCCs are an indication that local government has a plan in place and that they can operate without fear of surprise financial charges once the work is underway,” Beddoes said.
Town engineering manager Colin Farynowski took council through a process in which infrastructure upgrades and their costs are identified in anticipation of new development. He explained that some of the upgrades would be of benefit to existing taxpayers as well as any new development, and that council would have to decide how to apportion the costs.
The presentation by Beddoes and Farynowski was intended to provide a basis for town council as it moves through the DCC bylaw review process, which will continue with another public meeting later this summer, on a date yet to be announced.
“This is very interesting and thoughtful approach to development and how the costs are allocated,” said Mayor Ron Toyota. “By working with developers and taxpayers we can prepare for the future and ensure that future developments fit with the official community plan, which is also under review.”