Thursday, October 27, 2022

Council approves housing incentive plan for 2023

The City has extended its Housing Incentive program for another year in
hopes of seeing more homes and additional units added to the local hosing stock

With the call to develop more housing the one of the key focus areas for the incoming Council over November 7th, the outgoing one took a step towards improving on the building rate for Prince Rupert, extending an element of their Housing Incentive program for another year.

The topic was the subject of a report to Council on Monday evening delivered by Planner Myfannwy Pope.

The option that the Councillor's chose to embrace is that of Option One which reads as follows:

Staff recommend extending the waiver for new builds and renovations that add additional units (Option 1). This option reflects the original intent of the incentive, which was to encourage new residential development. This would not apply to permit renewals. 

This option will reduce opportunity cost while continuing to incentivize residential development. However, it may result in fewer renovations and retrofits that do not produce new units.

Towards discussion Councillor Wade Niesh sought some clarification towards how  the permitting process would work related to plans to add an additional housing unit.

City Manager Rob Buchan clarified the clause of note 

"The way this is written and the intent behind it is: If there is a new unit it would apply to the entire renovation included of the existing premises"

That answer appeared to satisfy Mr. Niesh's concerns, who noted of the timeline for housing in Prince Rupert and his support for reducing the terms of the incentive program to the first option.

"Obviously I think that his is a good program and actually I almost think that we could do it longer than one year, because I think that you know, building housing is, it takes a while to get into and you now one year is a long time and here we are again already extending it  

I think  ... the way we had it this last time with everything it's  probably a little bit much and I think we could just reduce it to the new builds and go that route, I think it probably the better option for us"

From those comments, Council then voted to: extend the City’s Housing Incentives, originally passed in 2021 and expiring in October, amending the program to waive all fees for residential Rezoning, Development Permit and Building Permit applications outside the City Core that result in new residential units for one-year effective November 1, 2022 to November 1, 2023.

You can review the full report from Planning from our preview of Monday's council session here.

The verbal portion of the report and Council Discussion related to it can be explored further through the City's Video Archive page, the Incentive program conversation starting at the 11 minute mark.

More notes on Monday's Council Session can be reviewed from our Council Timelines archive.

Further items of interest on Housing in Prince Rupert can be found through our archive here.

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