Once again the debate over the recent development charge increase heats up in Oakville, Milton & Halton.

Now, Mattamy Homes has brought the legality of the development charge into question through a 13-page legal opinion addressed to Halton’s regional council.

Mattamy has hired former commercial court justice James Farley, who argues that the Region and its council are going beyond their powers by collecting an extra $7,888, on top of Halton Region’s $29,000 regular per-unit housing development charges, from developers in Milton and north Oakville.

These latest increases in development charges have now made Halton the most expensive region in Ontario for new Real Estate development.

Mattamy argues the Province’s Development Charges Act, not the Municipal Act, is the appropriate and only legislation that should be used by municipalities to determine what developers pay for capital costs related to development.

He states regional council should rescind its approval for the charges and work with developers to find some way to collect the money the Region says it needs in accordance with the DC Act.

Bob Gray of the Region’s legal department said a response has been sent to Mattamy (Farley), but it does not anticipate a further report going to regional council. Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr said the Region has already had internal and external legal advice stating the financial agreement and its surcharge are valid.

Oakville Mayor Rob Burton said he was “unimpressed” by the written submission.

Mattamy has signed the Region’s previous financial agreements and never challenged their legality, said Burton.

Like Halton Region, the Town of Milton also has similar financial agreements pursuant to the Municipal Act, which Mattamy has signed previously.

“Just because it’s happened in the past doesn’t make it proper,” Farley said in a telephone interview after the release of his written submission to council and media.Both theTown of Oakville and Halton Region have maintained sections in the Municipal Act allow them to use such financial agreements to collect money to make up for growth-related capital funds they’re not able to recoup from developers under the DC Act.

Milton Mayor Gord Krantz expressed concern that if the issue of the Region’s financial agreement ends up in court, it could also threaten the Town’s use of the same financing mechanism.

“There definitely is a risk in opening up that proverbial can of worms,” Krantz said.

Two days after Farley’s legal opinion was released, the development industry lobbying group BILD (Building Industry and Land Development) Association submitted a proposal to Halton Region suggesting alternatives to the $7,888 financial agreement charge, all within the parameters of the DC Act.

Halton Regional council had given the development industry 30 days, which expired recently, to submit such an alternative proposal. Regional staff are scheduled to report back on BILD’s proposal to council’s administration and finance committee meeting on September 30.

Read the entire article by Tim Foran “Mattamy challenging Halton’s latest development charge”. Oakville Beaver, Metroland West Media Group.

We need to hear from homeowners and new home buyers like you!

What do you think about the development charge increase?

Do you think Mattamy is right?

Will it change your mind about buying a new home in Oakville or Milton?

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Oakville Real Estate News: Battle over development fees burns hotter in Oakville

Ryan Chelak is a Real Estate Broker living and working in Oakville, Ontario.

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Ryan Chelak, Broker
Town-City Realty Limited, Brokerage
Phone:  905.507.0040 ext.22
email:   ryan@buyandsellyourhome.com
Category: Residential Real Estate
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3 Responses to “Oakville Real Estate News: Mattamy Challenges Halton’s Development Charges”

Lance Naismith September 3, 2009

No matter which way you slice it, Billionaire owned Mattamy doesn’t want to pay the freight for the development it will do in North Oakville. If they, and subsequently the speculators and new home buyers don’t pay, then it will ultimately end up being the taxpayer who pays. The taxpayer paid for the water pipe to Milton, which allowed the developers to grow in that area and we continue to pay that price.

It is a battle between the “Me Generation” and those wanting to enjoy life without excessive tax burdens placed on them. Maybe if Gilgan took a bit of a pay cut, he could pass on the savings to those potential homeowners he will sell a house to instead of hosing the taxpayer.

Ryan Chelak September 7, 2009

Thanks for the comment Lance! There’s no arguing Mattamy and Gilgan have made their fortunes being … let’s say by being “frugal’ and passing the “buck”. It’s the responsibility of the home buyer to decide where they want to spend their money and what is good value for them. Either they will pay the price or they won’t and the builders will have to price the homes accordingly.

I think it’s clear that the taxpayers of Oakville, Milton and Halton have had it with big development passing the buck to them and I would be very surprised if the local governments would want to hang themselves by burdening the taxpayers further. It’s an interesting development and only time will tell.

I’ve heard so many horror stories about problems with new homes, that it’s a must to have a licensed home inspector do your pre-delivery inspection.

Unfortunately, most home inspectors have no formal training or certification, so make sure you ask for credentials. I recommend Mike Rocha, of Safe’n'Sound Home Inspections.