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Township boosts fees developers pay for community projects

CACs go towards everything from sports facilities to an affordable housing fund
The Township of Langley Civic Facility. (Langley Advance Times files)

Developers will be paying more contributions towards Langley Township’s funds for affordable housing, parks and recreation facilities, and new firehalls, under a new policy adopted at the last council meeting of 2022.

Revising the Community Amenity Contribution (CAC) policy was one of Mayor Eric Woodward’s campaign promises, and he and his Contract with Langley slate, along with two of the three independent councillors, voted to approve it on Monday, Dec. 12.

CACs have become increasingly common in recent years around the region as municipal governments seek funding sources for new facilities in rapidly-growing communities.

Langley Township created its first CAC policy in 2018, but Woodward had argued it was collecting less than those in nearby communities.

On Nov. 14, the council asked staff to update the policy, and gave direction to bring the Township’s CAC policy into line with similar, nearby communities, as well as expanding the Affordable Housing Reserve Fund and adding a new Climate Action Fund, to receive money from the CACs.

The new policy will increase the amount of CACs for new developments that require a rezoning, as well as for density increases.

The change will more than double the CACs paid by developers.

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Under current per-unit payments, the developer of a single family home pays about $6,808 in CACs. That will go up to $16,900 under the new targets.

Townhouses will go up from $5,776 to $14,400.

Those are still small fractions of the typical price of a home in Langley. As of December, a benchmark home was selling for $1.48 million, according to the Fraser Valley Real Estate board, while townhouses were selling for $815,000.

Based on future development, the old targets would have raised about $162 million up until the Township was fully built-out, whereas the new CAC targets will raise more than $378 million.

The changes more than double the amount to be allocated to an Affordable Housing Reserve, from $24 million to $50 million, and add a new $25 million Climate Action Fund.

The bulk of CACs go to a Community Amenities Fund.

Township staff recommended a four-step process to implement the changes over the course of a year, with increases on Jan. 1, May 1, Sept. 1, and Jan 1, 2024.

But Councillor Misty Van Popta suggested reducing the four steps to just two, with the increase planned for May beginning immediately, and the final increase on May 1. That change was approved by the council.

Councillor Kim Richer, who voted against the new CAC plan, asked if the development community was aware of the changes.

Woodward said they were and he had received some feedback from some developers, including that they saw the need to develop amenities, but were concerned about fee increases.

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Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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