A Co-Op gas station is planned for the old OK Builders site on Okanagan Landing Road. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Development fees to drop in Vernon

Changes to Development Cost Charges bylaw to result in overall reduction of $103 million

Vernon city council has approved bylaw changes that will lower development cost charges for most new developments in the city.

Council adopted changes to the Development Cost Charges (DCC) Bylaw at its regular meeting Monday, May 11. Council says the result will be an overall reduction of approximately $103 million in DCC costs.

“These amendments integrate council directed and supported changes to other bylaws,” said Mayor Victor Cumming. “This is part of an overarching goal to improve sustainability for residents by effectively managing infrastructure and supporting opportunities for growth in Vernon.”

DCCs are a one-time charge to a property that provide funds to help cover a city’s capital costs — such as constructing or expanding the sewage, drainage and highway facilities — which directly or indirectly service the development being charged.

City staff reviewed the DCC bylaw in 2019 to confirm the city work that will be required relative to expected growth over the next 20 years.

Council adopted the bylaw changes after a number of proposed amendments, an open house for the public and, more recently, approval from the B.C. government.

The changes to the bylaw include:

  • removal of projects that are no longer required.
  • removal of projects beyond the 20 year scope of the bylaw.
  • removal of completed projects.
  • addition of new projects required to support growth in the next 20 years.
  • update all project costs and benefit allocations as appropriate.

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In January, city manager of engineering development services Ed Stranks said the dramatic reduction in costs to developers is due in part to the tightened timeframe of 20 years.

“The 2009 DCC dealt with end of development in the city and this now deals with shortened time frames,” he told council in a presentation.

“A lot of projects, not just the size and scope, but the timing of those projects basically aren’t within the current timeframe so we were able to dramatically cut those projects down.”

The projects that have been included in the DCC Bylaw are those that are necessary to provide improved transportation facilities and address drainage concerns in Vernon, the city said.

DCCs are charged at the subdivision stage when creating new single family lots and are charged at the building permit stage for any other development type.

Developments for single-family lots will see a 16.2 per cent decrease in DCCs, from $16,429 to $13,766, in Development Districts 1 and 2, while developments in District 3 will see a 2.3 per cent decrease — from $21,182 to $20,692. This excludes additional DCCs for Regional District of North Okanagan’s Water and Parks, nor the City of Vernon Parks DCC costs.

For comparison, DCC rates in other communities in the Thompson-Okanagan region as of June 2019 (for single family DCC) are as follows:

  • Kelowna – $23,606 (core) to $41,125 (outer)
  • West Kelowna – $21,669
  • Penticton – $13,262 (core) to $17,458 (outer)
  • Kamloops – $10,673

For more information regarding DCC rates for the City of Vernon, visit www.vernon.ca/DCC.

READ MORE: COVID-19 affecting Kelowna rental market

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Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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