Comment 70935

By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted October 27, 2011 at 20:06:16

While I agree that there are a whole suite of issues which may support "sprawl" over redevelopment/intensification, there is some logic in McLean's article that doesn't seem to make sense to me.

She notes that small lots subsidize large lots. In Hamilton (and most municipalities) every new single family house faces the same development fees, no matter how much space it occupies.

Ok, that makes sense - a lack of differentiation in development fees is a disincentive to subdivide more lots in a single development.

However:

The mis-pricing gets even worse for commercial and industrial development - even before the huge discounts offered by Hamilton, especially for the latter that meant the new wiener factory got a $3.5 million subsidy from lower DCs.

Development charges are calculated on the floor area of the building so "denser development is discouraged", says Blais, because the more you build, the more you are charged.

"Charging according to a per-square-metre-of-floor-area-built basis is a distinct disincentive to using land more intensively and efficiently."

Is this not an incentive to minimize floor area, and hence (generally) how much land is devoted to the building, which impacts density? Or is the point that the charge is based on the building and not the land it occupies?

One thing that must be considered is the type of industry - for those which are transportation-intensive (such as the Maple Leaf example), the land requirement relative to the floor area of the plant will be very different than for those which do not require as much space for truck movements or outdoor storage. Parking needs should also be considered - for both employees and customers. Development charge schemes should account for these aspects as well.

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