Possible Town Land for Affordable Housing

Cobourg has a Town-wide Community Improvement Plan that targets affordable housing. Clause 3.8.8 says that the Town could provide some of the land it owns at a low price so as to effectively subsidize such housing and at meetings in November 2020,  Council asked staff to “put together an inventory of potential municipal-owned surplus lands, buildings and/or facilities” to potentially be used for this purpose.  At the Committee of the Whole meeting on April 19, Staff will be providing this requested report.  Based on information in the Town’s GIS System (Geographical Information System), the Town owns “a total of ~226 ha (558 ac) of land within the municipal boundary or just over 10% of the total land area of the municipality (@ 2,237 ha or 8.6 sq. miles)”.

Owning does not mean it’s suitable or available and staff have included these attributes in their report  (see links below for the full report).

  • Parkland – 60 ha.  According to the 2013 Parks Master Plan, the ratio of parkland at that time was 4.3 hectares per 1,000 population.  However, the goal is to increase this to 6.0 hectares per 1,000 population.  If Council and the public agree, then some Parkland could be used for housing but “this would be counter to the principles and recommendations of the Parks Master Plan which aim to increase the supply of public parkland (as opposed to reduce it) and foster a healthy, ‘green’ community.”
  • Environmental Constraint/Floodplain – 58 ha. These areas (i.e. floodplains, Lake Ontario shoreline, woodlots, sensitive lands, etc.) are undevelopable for any habitable use without comprehensive environmental and floodplain analyses and approval by the GRCA and/or MNRF (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests).
  • Employment Lands – 71 ha – conversion is not permitted without “an extensive employment conversion exercise being conducted in accordance with Provincial, County and municipal policies” but “given the limited supply of employment land and the generous supply of designated residential land in the municipality, it is unlikely that a conversion would be justified”.  (See full report in links below)
  • Existing Municipal Facilities – 16 ha
    • CCC complex – 11.96 ha
    • Memorial/Heenan arenas — 1.16 ha
    • Cobourg Public Library — 0.67 ha
    • Victoria Hall — 0.53 ha
    • Cobourg Police Station/parking lot — 0.37 ha
    • Dressler House — 0.15 ha
    • Municipal Parking Lots — 1.24 ha

Some of these have some level of potential for infill development. The use of these parcels may be limited by servicing, floodplain, land use compatibility and/or other physical constraints, and could have the effect of reducing land available for other municipal services, such as parking, facility expansion and so on. An amendment to the Official Plan and/or Zoning By-law and various supporting studies would be required in most cases to permit residential uses on these municipal lands. As with park lands, a public engagement and communications plan would be an integral component of this review.

Tannery Site 2014
Tannery Site 2014
  • Transportation and development Road Allowances & Main Central Commercial – 10 ha. Small and/or irregular parcels forming unopened/future road allowances (Kerr Street, Roger’s Road, White Street), stormwater management facilities, creek/floodplain lands, and sewage pumping stations.
  • Glen Watford Road Tax Sale Lots – 3 ha – no access and unserviced.
  • Tannery site – 2.7 ha – this is suitable!  See article in links below. Photo of property at top right is from 2014 – it’s still vacant today. It seems to be permanently on the Town’s carry forward agenda although it’s no longer on the ongoing Council list of unfinished business.
  • District Commercial – 3 ha. Current Status: Road Allowances, Pumping Station, SWM Pond, Creek Lands, Future Road Allowance.
  • Residential – 2 ha. Current status: Parkland, Walkways, Creek Lands, Dressler House

As well as a cover memo, the report provides extensive detail in the form of three Appendices:

  • Appendix I:  80 properties are listed with a location, area, category, services and a short description.
  • Appendix II:  A map showing location of the 80 properties
  • Appendix III:  Raw property data spreadsheet extracted from the Town’s GIS system – includes zoning.

Under the heading “Next Steps”, Director Glenn McGlashon suggests “that an ad-hoc Working Group be established to undertake a shortlist exercise and formalize an implementation plan moving forward. The Working Group could be comprised of 2-3 members of Council and a member of each of the Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee (PRAC) and the Planning & Development Advisory Committee (PDAC), with staff from Community Services/Parks, Public Works and Planning Divisions acting as a resource.”  He notes that residents should be provided “with an opportunity to review options and provide feedback prior to a decision being made by Council.”

Stay tuned for more on this subject.

Links

Previous relevant articles

Relevant Documents

Key clause in CIP

Paragraph 3.8.8

Donation or Sale of Surplus Lands, Guarantee Borrowing, and Exemptions from Levies, Charges and Fees for Affordable Housing

  1. The Town may, in its discretion, donate, lease or sell any surplus property of the municipality at below fair market value for the purposes of redeveloping such surplus lands for the purposes of affordable and/or rental housing, industrial or commercial development.
  2. The Town may, in its discretion, guarantee borrowing, or provide for a total or partial exemption from any levy, charge or fee for the purposes of affordable and/or rental housing, industrial or commercial development.

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Gerinator
21 April 2021 11:01 am

If all of the quotes from Michael are true then there can only be a couple of conclusions to his difficulties (excluding competencies). That is, the unidentified preferred locations, according to the Town, are: A) to the benefit the Town and / or preferred benefactors or B) he is not a favoured developer and perhaps a competitor of favoured competitors.

From Michael
“The problem is the zoning. That’s in the town’s prerogative to change.”;
“willing for forego the CIP process for the zoning”;
“….commitment from the town that if the consultants deemed the property suitable for conversion, the town would approve. That wasn’t possible.”;
“The town plan mentions that we have surplus land deemed ’employment’ and are well above the provincial mandate. I was most disheartened that, when I brought this up to council members, instead of offering solutions, it seemed easier to confirm why it couldn’t be done.” and finally
“…I was told by the planning department that there was ‘better land’ available in Cobourg for what I wanted to do. The trouble is – I never got an answer to where the land was….”

Michael Sprayson
Reply to  Gerinator
25 April 2021 7:53 pm

I don’t believe I’m a competitor to favoured developers (yes, there are favoured developers – I know that because I was told that by a councillor). My pockets are not deep enough to compete with area developers. I just saw a problem I thought I could use the resources I did have to help with. That’s it.

On Page 3 of the Official Plan it states “The Town already has a land supply designated for development which exceeds the proposed allocations, consequently no additional land is required to be designated in Cobourg for population or employment uses.” I have read in a few recent stories that employment land in Cobourg is now in short supply – so I’m not sure. Again, I know it is not a popular thing to do, but it is not impossible. I spoke to an employee in the County planning office who said it has been done in Northumberland County.

Frenchy
19 April 2021 9:42 am

The Mayor, the Deputy Mayor and all of our Councillors read this blog, I’d love to hear some of their reactions to Michael Sprayson’s post(s).

Is there another side to his story?

Last edited 3 months ago by Frenchy
Michael Sprayson
Reply to  Frenchy
19 April 2021 10:14 am

I’m not hiding anything. I’m happy to send you all the documents I have received. My email is michaelsprayson@gmail.com.

I’m not sure what you think the other side could be. The problem is the zoning. That’s in the town’s prerogative to change. It might not be easy but it is also not impossible.

My point to all of this is – when there is no effort to make these changes, perhaps the priority for this kind of housing is not as high as it has been communicated to be.

I was willing for forego the CIP process for the zoning.

Perhaps the other side of the story is actually that the Town lacks resources or a plan to appropriately assist the people who require this kind of housing once they have found it. I don’t know.

Last edited 3 months ago by Michael Sprayson
Frenchy
Reply to  Michael Sprayson
19 April 2021 2:46 pm

I never said there was another side. Rather, I asked (councillors, anybody) if there was one. I am also looking for their reactions and comments regarding your well laid out story.
I like your story and the type of housing you are attempting to build. Why you are getting hung up seems unbelievable to me.

Bryan
Reply to  Frenchy
19 April 2021 10:56 am

Frenchy:
Mr. Sprayson seems to have set out his story quite clearly. For the other side, it would be nice to hear from the Town; perhaps the planning director.

Last edited 3 months ago by Bryan
ben burd
Reply to  Bryan
19 April 2021 11:32 am

Never mind the ‘crat let’s hear from the coordinator of planning Nicole Beattie!

Bryan
Reply to  ben burd
19 April 2021 12:20 pm

Ben:
Nic is a councilor and unlikely to have detailed knowledge of the planning department inner workings. Further, she has no power to enforce or change anything. The director, on the other hand, runs the department and therefore should have full detailed knowledge of the operation and be able to make changes and enforce process/procedures.
Hold accountable those who actually have responsibility: the director and CAO.

ben burd
Reply to  Bryan
20 April 2021 11:46 am

I don’t care what Councillor you ask about the workings of their portfolio, if they are not up to the broad scope and some details then they should not even be on Council!

I am not asking Cllrs to enforce or change anything, but they should know as much as they can about everything in their portfolio. If they don’t they are either incompetent or lazy!

PS I understand that Mr Sprayson spoke to Cllr Beattie – obviously she knows what is going on.

Frenchy
Reply to  Bryan
19 April 2021 6:41 pm

For the other side, it would be nice to hear from the Town

Isn’t that exactly what I said?

The Mayor, the Deputy Mayor and all of our Councillors read this blog, I’d love to hear some of their reactions to Michael Sprayson’s post(s).

Last edited 3 months ago by Frenchy
Bryan
Reply to  Frenchy
19 April 2021 9:58 pm

Frenchy:
You said “Town” meaning Council members and you dismissed staff (“crat”).
I said “Town” meaning staff, specifically the planning director and the CAO. They are the ones responsible for the department’s operations; the daily goings-on. They need to be held accountable.
Council members have little to no knowledge of the daily inner workings of the various departments. They, in fact, shouldn’t need to know, so why ask them.

ben burd
Reply to  Bryan
20 April 2021 11:48 am

Why ask them? If a constituent speaks to them about a problem then it should be followed up – that’s why Council members have to be more informed.

Bryan
Reply to  ben burd
20 April 2021 12:20 pm

Ben:
I agree that a Council member should follow-up with a constituent. However, I don’t expect the Council member to be fully conversant (or more than generally knowledgeable) about day to day operations. That is staff’s responsibility.

Operational problems should be taken up with the staff responsible, not Council members who have no authority (or knowledge) to fix the issue.

Council members should be involved in follow-up, especially if staff has been non-responsive. The CAO should also be involved as she/he have the authority to direct staff to act and provide discipline if staff continue to be unresponsive.

Last edited 3 months ago by Bryan
Michael Sprayson
18 April 2021 9:31 am

Let’s start with a foundational question – Affordable housing – does Cobourg really want it? I’m not sure they do. In September of last year, I purchased a property without knowing yet what I would do with it. I have been a landlord in Northumberland County for almost 15 years and got to know many people who work in stores and trades (hard-working people) who would benefit greatly from housing they could afford, having money left from their paycheque every week. On this lot I purchased, I proposed to the town that I would build 32 affordable units. 28 would be single units and the other four would be 2-bedroom units for people who may need live-in assistance. I also intended to make it a net-zero building. I was planning to rent each unit for $750 for the singles, $950 for the 2-bedroom units, inclusive of utilities and wifi. I was willing to sign a contract stating the same if that meant I would qualify for CIP funding and I would let them lean the contract against the property. This would mean that if I wanted to sell the property, that contract would follow the sale. The property is on Ontario Street. Here’s the problem – it’s zoned Employment Land. The town felt my 1-acre lot would be taking too many jobs away from Cobourg. Meanwhile, there is a residential (rental) development beside (north) and a co-op development not far to the east. The land currently has a home on it, which has been there for more than 100 years. The planning department provided me documentation stating what I would have to do in order for it to be considered applicable to re-zoning. It was written in a way that when I sent these documents to several consultants to consider,… Read more »

ben burd
Reply to  Michael Sprayson
18 April 2021 10:16 am

Murray thanks for the details of your project; and in answering your question – Affordable housing – does Cobourg really want it? I’m not sure they do” there are plenty of people who would like to see your project go through but how many on Council really appreciate the problems of converting ‘industrial’ land back to housing. I would suspect not many and if they did would probably say “that’s a developer’s problem – pay the fees and go through the process!” The answer to the lack of affordable housing is all of our responsibilities.

In your case and the background of the need a Council that got elected, amongst other promises, of dealing with the affordable housing crisis I would suggest that Council waive all fees and conditions and get on with it. But as you know they will not!

But this problem of fees brings up the point why do we pay public servants a wage and then charge the public a fee. Public departments are not like businesses that need to provide a profit. If the Planning Department is going to charge fees for the work they do and were hired to do, then the Department should run on that profit. Fee for services are a detriment to initiative and imagination – just my two cents worth!

Ken Strauss
Reply to  ben burd
18 April 2021 10:35 am

If the Planning Department is going to charge fees for the work they do and were hired to do, then the Department should run on that profit. Fee for services are a detriment to initiative and imagination… 

Your two sentences seem mutually contradictory. Do you think that Planning’s work should be free to developers or should Planning be charging developers more?

According to the 2021 budget, the Planning Department plans to charge fees of about $155K while spending $650K for a net cost to the tax payers of $493K.

ben burd
Reply to  Ken Strauss
18 April 2021 12:44 pm

Do you think that Planning’s work should be free to developers or should Planning be charging developers more?”

Planning should be free to developers – no fees. If nobody developed in Cobourg would we layoff people – I doubt it. No fees means that the cost of development would be cheaper – you presumably would like that, I would like it because development would be encouraged.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  ben burd
18 April 2021 3:40 pm

Ben, actually I would not like that! If planning were free to developers then existing taxpayers would be stuck with the bill. How is that fair or reasonable?

ben burd
Reply to  Ken Strauss
19 April 2021 11:34 am

We already pay for the department in our taxes, if we want to make a profit from the people we are already paying to do the job, lets really soak the developers and make the wage irrelevant!

Ken Strauss
Reply to  ben burd
19 April 2021 11:52 am

Ben, that is a rather silly and obviously incorrect comment. Our taxes fund the difference between costs of the department and what developers pay. I provided the actual budget numbers earlier.

According to the 2021 budget, the Planning Department plans to charge fees of about $155K while spending $650K for a net cost to the tax payers of $493K.

Michael Sprayson
Reply to  ben burd
18 April 2021 12:26 pm

Thanks for your input, Ben. Couple points I would like to make – I don’t really look at this particular zoning issue as ‘converting back’. It was part of a blanket change years ago. It has never been used for industrial or commercial purposes. It’s always been a single-dwelling residence. It was occupied until I purchased it and can continue to be occupied until someone demolishes the house. This is where I get frustrated. I can’t completely accept that it’s a developer’s problem. (I don’t consider myself a developer, by the way, but this is a project that I was fully prepared to take on). Someone willing to build something like this should be able to ask for some assurances after the demand of spending. That falls to the Town. I am not completely sure, as I’m not a lawyer, but in my careful reading of both the Provincial Growth Plan and the Official Town plan, the council could, technically just get on with it. The provincial plan identifies some places where ’employment land’ may not be converted to residential – Cobourg is not one of those places. The town plan mentions that we have surplus land deemed ’employment’ and are well above the provincial mandate. I was most disheartened that, when I brought this up to council members, instead of offering solutions, it seemed easier to confirm why it couldn’t be done. I am a solution person. Both of the councillors I spoke to brand themselves as advocates for this kind of housing. I don’t know if there is a better property to suit these needs – it avoids NIMBY issues, it will be on a bus route and it would not negatively affect surrounding property values. And, most importantly, I was willing to do it. All I needed… Read more »

Liz
Reply to  Michael Sprayson
18 April 2021 12:51 pm

Very enlightening Mr. Sprayson and very disappointing to read. When I selected the people I decided to vote for in the last town election I reviewed their running platforms and selected candidates who stated they were very interested in building further housing and affordable housing. Unmask! Unmask! You are to be commended sir.

Michael Sprayson
Reply to  Liz
18 April 2021 1:09 pm

Thank you for your comment, Liz. To be clear – I’m not looking for any kind of commendation. I simply saw a problem, got a good deal on a property that I thought would serve to make a small dent in the problem, crunched numbers until I was happy with the result and started asking questions so I could move forward. My big roadblock was the town.
I’m not giving up the idea, I am just not in a position that I can make it feasible in Cobourg. During this process, I was told by the planning department that there was ‘better land’ available in Cobourg for what I wanted to do. The trouble is – I never got an answer to where the land was (perhaps the result from the story John has posted about will bring this better land to light), the people (I know of) that own some of the vacant parcels of land in Cobourg have no intention of developing this kind of housing or selling the property (I have tried that angle too).

MiriamM
Reply to  Michael Sprayson
18 April 2021 4:02 pm

Good conversation here that you started Mr. Sprayson. I wonder, is the property you write about within the sphere of influence of the railways? If so, the Town may not have the final say in a matter of proposed zoning change or return to a previous zoning.

Michael Sprayson
Reply to  MiriamM
18 April 2021 9:20 pm

The property is near a decommissioned railway that is being turned into a road so that’s not a factor in an inability to build. It’s strictly because it is zoned employment.

Sandpiper
Reply to  MiriamM
21 April 2021 8:46 am

What would that matter Stall wood homes seems to be allowed to build
nearly on top of the Rail lines on Ont . st and Brook Rd and the Town thanks him for it
I was advised several yrs ago this could no longer be done even if Berms were implemented due to the slide path of derailed cars and the flammable materials they some time s carry I guess its who you are Time is Money

JimT
16 April 2021 9:08 pm

Once again so much talk about “affordable housing” without any definition of what it is, nor information as to who is to subsidize it or pay for it. I repeat here an earlier comment by Bryan, slightly edited for brevity:

Bryan 
9 April 2021 9:33 pm
The terminology used regarding housing adds to the confusion because the terms are used interchangeably but have quite different meanings.
Subsidized, geared to income, community. All are terms used to refer to housing that is available at rent rates somewhat (significantly?) below market. The properties are often owned by a tier 1 (upper) municipality (county, region or city) that has provincially mandated responsibility for housing. In our case, the tier 1 municipality is Northumberland County. Church and other non-profit organizations may also be involved.
Affordable is the term most misunderstood. All rents are affordable by some demographic so more detail and context is needed. Affordable housing (rent) is term that comes from a CMHC program that provides incentives to encourage new build/renovated housing (rental) where the rent is less than market. A landlord must offer a proportion of the units at 80% (or less) of the area average market rent (AMR) in order to qualify for the incentives…The AMR is NOT the vacant unit “asking” rent. It is the average rent for existing rented units as determined by the CMHC survey…CMHC defines “affordable” as 30% of the tenants gross (before tax) income. Someone earning $25 per hour has a gross income of about $50K. Their “affordable” rent is $15K per year: $1,250 per month (preferably utilities included).

Last edited 3 months ago by JimT
Marie
Reply to  JimT
17 April 2021 9:58 am

… very helpful definitions.
both affordable categories are partially funded or subsidized by tax income (the town and county are funded greatly through property taxes).
Hence I suggests that the more high end condos become available here to attract GTA residents (who can afford to pay healthy realty taxes and boost our tax roll) – the more funds the town and county will receive to support those who have a real need for Affordable Housing.
Let us attract more who can, to help those who can not!

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Marie
17 April 2021 10:38 am

Perhaps we should institute a moratorium on any new construction (other than of “affordable” housing) with a per residence value of less than $1M?

Liz
Reply to  Marie
17 April 2021 12:25 pm

Marie – Currently Cobourg is rich in high priced property. 11 Pebble Beach Road for sale currently – listed at over 2 Million dollars sales price, Church Street – ditto, the Waterfront has already been built with expensive property – living in a smaller town carries the penalty of higher taxes – Whitby is a prime example and also carries very little affordable housing units along with the escalating real estate in Bowmanville. Not to mention the mansions being built along the water front in Grafton.

Last edited 3 months ago by Liz
Ken Strauss
Reply to  Liz
17 April 2021 3:31 pm

Liz, living in a smaller town need not carry the penalty of higher taxes. Taxes could be much lower if Council were to limit spending on unnecessary frills — subsidized buses, subsidized art galleries, subsidized housing, subsidized curling clubs, subsidized repairs to downtown businesses, unwanted sidewalks and all of the other things upon which Cobourg’s taxes are squandered.

JimT
Reply to  Ken Strauss
17 April 2021 5:24 pm

Re: subsidized art galleries:
According to the Town of Cobourg 2021 Operating Budget, the “Net Art Gallery” expense is forecast as $170,000. for the year, with no offsetting income. That’s $3,269. per week by my calculation. For an art gallery.

Somebody please tell me I’ve got it wrong.

Liz
Reply to  Ken Strauss
17 April 2021 5:48 pm

Sounds like a town with nothing Ken where the social spectrum is not spread. Public transit – offered in any town of this size, subsidzed housing, offered in similar town of this size, taxes are squandered are they? Why not move to some place that only then looks after the upper echelon? Don’t know of any places such as that do you?

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Liz
17 April 2021 8:08 pm

So you agree that high taxes are not inherent in small towns but rather a result of squandering taxes on expenses that pander to those who expect subsidies? I’m curious. How often do you visit the AGN (closed since March yet costing us $170K this year alone)? Do you feel good about providing downtown landlords with hundred of thousands of dollars in CIP grants? Do you feel good about removing trees to install unwanted sidewalks? Do you feel good about paying almost $10 per ride in order to have public transit with pollution spewing and empty buses? I don’t!

Liz
Reply to  Ken Strauss
17 April 2021 8:36 pm

I said Ken transit is funded in every city, I said Ken subsidized housing and affordable housing are present in towns and cities everywhere. Taxes are proportionate to income and dwelling everywhere. Should you own a home in the higher echelon cost and have income in this category you and everyone else not in the lower teir will be taxed. A free ride exists nowhere except perhaps for some – one of my jobs was with a tax accountant – his files made very interesting reading with many in the high income/ownership categories evading tax through loop holes. Perhaps you could seek the services of one to show you how to pay little in taxes should you be in a higher echelon but they do charge.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Liz
17 April 2021 9:56 pm

Liz, you appear to have ignored all of my questions:

How often do you visit the AGN (closed since March yet costing us $170K this year alone)? Do you feel good about providing downtown landlords with hundred of thousands of dollars in CIP grants? Do you feel good about removing trees to install unwanted sidewalks? Do you feel good about paying almost $10 per ride on your taxes in order to have public transit with pollution spewing and empty buses?

Last edited 3 months ago by Ken Strauss
Liz
Reply to  Ken Strauss
18 April 2021 1:17 pm

Ken – as you suggested to me maybe YOU should run for town council. I see many things in every centre I question why they are funding. Perhaps people that can’t afford cars could be enrolled in fitness programs instead of having public transit as you deem it a waste of money, sidewalks – many people have stated they want them and as for downtown there are many well heeled citizens here ignoring downtown – buying on line for instance – if they supported their downtown the tax dollars would not go there.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Liz
18 April 2021 4:53 pm

Well heeled or otherwise, customers shop at friendly merchants with the products that they want at competitive prices and open when they want to shop. For my needs only Smors qualifies.

Kevin
Reply to  Liz
18 April 2021 7:27 pm

The issue with sidewalks is where they are being built. A quiet street with little traffic does not need one. How many people want a sidewalk on the north side of Queen St.? It is planned.

Bryan
Reply to  Kevin
18 April 2021 7:50 pm

Totally agree Kevin.
I find it strange that the Town’s sidewalk priority guideline doesn’t include any safety or resident preference metrics.
A location very much in need of a sidewalk is Spenser St E; Walton to D’Arcy. There is lots of traffic (shortcut from D’Arcy to Division), a park, Columbus Centre and poor street lighting.
The Town says this street is not on the list because there are no curbs; therefore sidewalks can’t be installed. But there are other non-curb streets with sidewalks. The excuse doesn’t hold.

Last edited 3 months ago by Bryan
ben burd
16 April 2021 2:55 pm

Must be election time with this report coming forward now so that Council can claim that as well as abdicating the main responsibility for affordable/public housing to the County they also can say that they have will now have a Cobourg plan to help the County in its time of crisis (“but re-elect me and I will complete it!”).

“……Town could provide some of the land it owns at a low price” this is a complete copout because if the Town was really serious about helping developers/coops/interested groups with their housing plans they would not sell but DONATE the land!

cornbread
Reply to  ben burd
17 April 2021 10:04 am

Why should the town give away its assets and cause an additional tax burden on the already over-taxed residents. Use the land to bring needed industry & jobs to Cobourg.

Bryan
Reply to  cornbread
17 April 2021 10:47 am

Cornbread:

  1. they are different areas I doubt a housing developer would buy property in an industrial park for the purpose of housing.
  2. Many other Ontario towns are also trying to attract industry (why just industry?) and the related jobs. You suggest using the land to attract industry. The Town is already doing this and some believe they are giving away Town assets in the process..
Liz
Reply to  Bryan
17 April 2021 2:47 pm

Property for Affordable Housing – should it be given? Is a desperate need been proved to allow such a circumstance? Is it overall in the end good for the community to prevent homeless encampments? Or economic down turn as there are fewer dollars being spent in businesses as the rents take up so much of income for renters?

Council – I realize I am not qualified to run as there are many laws governing development and finances. Still the need for such housing is there. As the County has been tasked with Affordable Housing it would seem logical the Town Council would bring these needs to the County with appropriate reports seeking funding for such projects. Town Council and County could join hands lobbying the Federal and Provincial governments for funding as Peterborough seems to have done as they have been the recent recipient of affordable housing grants.

What by-laws and building regulations are needed? An area I am short on. Myself I would like to see Co-op Housing receiving a real boost. Tenants are involved in the upkeep to keep their properties maintained and in good repair at lower cost to offset lower rents.

As for the homeless there have been many services neglected through the years. A review of the people in tent cities and living on the street. Perhaps for many it is not housing they need to cure their homeless problem. A whole other topic.

Last edited 3 months ago by Liz
JimT
Reply to  Liz
17 April 2021 4:52 pm

Liz: You are right about co-op housing: not only are tenants “involved in the upkeep to keep their properties maintained and in good repair” but more to the point, there is no landlord, so your rent is just your portion of the ongoing expenses of operating the property. No rent increase to line the landlord’s pocket and no boosting rent to whatever the market will allow.

There are others here who could enlighten us further about how co-ops work. 

Last edited 3 months ago by JimT
Wally Keeler
Reply to  JimT
17 April 2021 6:42 pm

Just as you said JimT

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Liz
17 April 2021 8:26 pm

I realize I am not qualified to run as there are many laws governing development and finances.

Liz, please don’t let a lack of ability deter you from running. Consider many of our current representatives.

Liz
Reply to  Ken Strauss
18 April 2021 12:45 pm

Ken – Any job I have held was gained through qualification – education, excellent marks post secondary courses, related experience – not net working, not being in the deemed particularized hiring categories. That is just me Ken – unlike many who are hired or promoted through reasons that have nothing to do with job qualification. I have worked in many places where the supervisor never came out of their office, was late every day and rushed home as soon as it was quiting time.

Last edited 3 months ago by Liz
Ken Strauss
Reply to  Liz
18 April 2021 3:49 pm

Liz, why is your comment directed to me? As a balding white male who went to high school and university thousands of miles away and with no local alumnae and no local relatives, I’m a poster child for those not hired or promoted through reasons that have nothing to do with job qualification!

Liz
Reply to  Ken Strauss
18 April 2021 9:08 pm

Because you directed an inquiry to me suggesting I should run for office Ken and I replied – very simple.

Bryan
Reply to  ben burd
17 April 2021 10:07 am

Ben:
Land cost is a significant component in the cost of a housing development. If the Town donated land (assuming it legally can) to developers, how could the Town ensure that the reduced cost flows through to the end user (tenant)?. What is to prevent the developer from charging market rent (or selling the property after a few years) and pocketing the extra profit?

Last edited 3 months ago by Bryan
ben burd
Reply to  Bryan
17 April 2021 3:30 pm

Very simple Bryan – donate the land with the proviso that the materials used (second highest component of the project) are within market costs. But as you ask how to stop the homeowner reaping a huge profit when selling; well Habitat for Humanity does by having the owner only sell back to the builder – HoH.

My preferred method (I know this goes against the majority of the Board) would have the units never leaving the public domain or non-profit that built them.

Bryan
Reply to  ben burd
17 April 2021 4:29 pm

That could work. If the County or non-profits owned the units, . Private developers such as Balder (William & University) or the Monroe St developer are unlikely to agree to such restrictions.

ben burd
Reply to  Bryan
18 April 2021 10:20 am

Perhaps you should ask the Balder people why they chose to build 10 out of the 70 units for low income people? Was it PR, a sense of social responsibility or just some other reason,

Bryan
Reply to  ben burd
18 April 2021 10:51 am

Ben:
Low income people? “Affordable” rent is not a function of the tenant’s income. This is not “subsidized social” housing like the County provides.
If asked do you think a developer would answer truthfully?
My bet is part PR and mostly to get the CMHC incentives and the Town’s concessions.
Yes they “gave up” some revenue in providing the 10 “affordable” units. How “affordable” is yet to be seen.
The undisclosed component is how much do the incentives and concessions reduce the development and construction costs compared to the “lost” revenue. Also note that the “affordable” rent is only in effect for 10 years.

I would not be surprised at all to find that the incentives more than compensate for the “affordable” rent reduction.

Last edited 3 months ago by Bryan
Liz
Reply to  Bryan
18 April 2021 9:11 pm

It was a condition Bryan. I spoke with the former mayor prior to these units being built and some of the units were required to be under affordable to get approval.

Bryan
Reply to  Liz
18 April 2021 10:04 pm
  1. I didn’t ask the question. Ben Burd did.
  2. That some units were “affordable” was never a condition of getting Town approval. The Town would have approved pretty much any development application. The “affordable” requirement was a CMHC condition to get a low interest mortgage. Further, CMHC also required Town participation (concessions) as well.
Last edited 3 months ago by Bryan
Liz
Reply to  Bryan
18 April 2021 10:19 pm

Sorry I interrupted “If asked do you think a developer would answer truthfully?
My bet is part PR and mostly to get the CMHC incentives and the Town’s concessions.” you were asking why there were 10 affordable housing units built Bryan.

Bryan
Reply to  Liz
18 April 2021 11:26 pm

Liz:
Please read it again. Ben Burd wrote: “.. Perhaps you should ask the Balder people why they chose to build 10 out of the 70 units for low income people?…”
I was answering Ben’s question about why Balder may have built them.

Last edited 3 months ago by Bryan
Liz
Reply to  Bryan
18 April 2021 11:35 pm

Bryan and with that I answered I met with the mayor prior to this and was advised it was a condition for the build and in turn answered you as you were supplying an answer Bryan.

  • 30 –
JimT
Reply to  ben burd
17 April 2021 4:56 pm

What if the town were to lease out the land instead, with the proviso that any sale of the property would involve renegotiation of the lease amount to current market levels?
That should discourage flipping, I would think.

Kevin
Reply to  Bryan
17 April 2021 7:22 pm

The Town could make a deal requiring rents to be ‘affordable.’ Once tenants are in the units letters can be sent from the town notifying tenants what they should be paying in rent. The Town has notified tenants that rents are to decrease because property taxes have gone down. It is not common but it did happen. Rents were increased by the landlord one month and the next month rents went down by almost the same amount. Balder has to rent some units at ‘affordable’ rates. Somebody (CMHC) will have to verify that this is being done.