Development Fees Being Cut Again In Harrow

Essex is getting closer to rolling back development fees in Harrow.

Council backed a move to waive development fees in Ward 4 and administration is working on the details.

Previously, council had cut the fees by 50%, but hasn't seen the move spark a rush of building activity.

Ward 4 Councillor Sherry Bondy feels there is untapped demand in Harrow.

She lives in the community and says once a house goes up for sale, it doesn't take long sell.

"The residents want more housing. If they will build it, we can fill it."

Bondy says slashing fees is a way to get developers' attention.

"It's important that we make waves and what's important to note is council unanimously supported this initiative. So all of council agrees, let's put some finances and some resources towards Ward 4."

Ward 3 Councillor Larry Snively says the area needs the help.

"Our population's going the wrong way. We tried a 50% reduction, it did not work. I have conversations with the developers and they're indicating if I can get it done to zero, they're willing to put a shovel in the ground."

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Town of Essex Councillor Larry Snively attends the regular meeting of council on April 3, 2017. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Snively says without the cut, developers are likely to go down Highway 3 to a town where fees have been waived.

"It's either it's in Harrow or it's in Leamington. The developer, yes, is putting the money in their pocket. If I was a developer today and I could put an extra $8,000 or $9,000 in my pocket, I'd go to the municipality that waived their development fees, that's a no brainer."

Development charges are paid by developers to help cover the cost of new municipal infrastructure.

Development fees in Ward 4 range from $4,209 for one bedroom apartment builds to nearly $9,494 for a single or semi-detached home.