The City of Surrey is proposing to increase its development cost charges (DCCs) to boost available funds for a bevy of projects planned over the next decade, including a 20 Avenue overpass of Highway 99 in South Surrey.
City officials shared the proposed increases at an open house earlier this month at city hall, noting the boosts reflect updated costs for projects such as the overpass which are in its 10-year servicing (2020-2029) plan and parkland acquisition program; updated growth projections; and a two per cent reduction in the parkland ‘municipal assist factor.’
The latter change means 99 per cent of development-related capital costs is to be borne through DCCs. (The magnitude of the MAF, according to the provincial government, “reflects Council’s desire to encourage development and is largely a political decision.”)
City staff anticipate bringing the 2020 DCC bylaw to council for consideration in early February. If endorsed by council and, subsequently, by the provincial inspector of municipalities, the rates would take effect in mid-May.
DCCs are fees levied by the city on development applicants “to fund the costs of expanding and upgrading the City’s road, water, drainage and sewer services, and for parkland acquisition or improvement, to meet the needs of projected growth that’s expected to occur within the next 10 years,” according to information online.
According to a July 2019 report, the city received approximately $91.8 million in DCC contributions in 2018, bringing its reserve account balance to just over $278 million as of the end of that year. The total included nearly $59 million in receivables.
Meanwhile, the city spent approximately $68.4 million in DCC contributions that year, including $3.5 million in South Surrey’s Campbell Heights region. Another $128 million was allocated to projects that started in or prior to 2018, while a further $76 million was earmarked for projects that had started or were to start in 2019.
Among recent parkland acquisitions funded by DCCs was that of property at 1916 176 St., for the expansion of Redwood Park, and of 18271 73 Ave. in west Clayton, for a neighbourhood park.
The proposed increases for 2020 include a citywide six per cent jump for single-family land uses, to $43,586 per lot from the $41,220 charged in 2018, while a jump of approximately three per cent is eyed for the per-acre DCC rate for industrial use, to $94,216 from $91,807.
For the Campbell Heights neighbourhood, the proposed increase is closer to 10 per cent, to $162,136 per acre from $147,837, and would apply to all zones and land uses, according to information shared at the Jan. 8 open house. A similar increase is proposed for commercial zones and land uses in the Highway 99 corridor, from 164 Street to 28 Avenue.
Surrey has charged DCCs since 1979, and developers have two years from the date of subdivision approval or the granting of a building permit to pay them in full, according to the July 2019 report to council.
Applications underway at the time that the bylaw receives final reading will have one year to complete in order to qualify for current DCC rates.