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What's Coming Up at Council: Town formally opposing housing bill

Development charge loss under provincial legislation could mean five to 15 per cent property tax impact, finance director says
20220620-Newmarket town office-JQ
The Newmarket municipal office.

Newmarket is set to formally oppose the province’s new housing legislation, which it estimates could cause a five to 15 per cent property tax impact.

Town council has included a resolution opposing Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act, at its Dec. 12 meeting. Council will also be examining its private tree bylaw and plans to up its fees and fines.

Here is what NewmarketToday will be following:

Scorn for Bill 23

Newmarket is joining a chorus of municipalities opposing new housing legislation, citing concerns about the costs and an inability to meet housing targets.

The province’s Bill 23 seeks to speed up housing development by cutting down on planning requirements for some developments, as well as charges on affordable and rental homes. But municipalities have raised concerns about the impact development charge cuts could have.

Municipal director of finance Mike Mays told the council last week that to make up for the lost revenues under the bill, the property tax impact could be between five and 15 per cent, though he expects it will be on the lower end of that.

The town is also taking issue with the housing targets set out by the province. Under the legislation, Newmarket has to target 12,000 new homes by 2031. But Mayor John Taylor said that is impossible without more sewage capacity for new homes. Regional sewage upgrades are still years away

Another report on the town’s sewage serving allocation said it has about five years of capacity left based on an annual growth rate of approximately 1,000 persons per year. The report said the timeline could be even shorter, based on more recent years reaching 1,300 new persons. 

Private tree bylaw

Council is planning to take another look at its private tree bylaw related to dying or dead trees.

The legislation passed in February requires members of the public to get a permit to cut down trees on their property. Fees apply to most trees unless it is dying, dead, or hazardous.

But council will consider a resolution asking staff to review the bylaw and bring back recommendations “on a different process to address dead and dying trees from public process.”

Fees, fines

Council will formally confirm several resolutions passed at committee of the whole Dec. 5, including ones that will increase fees and fines.

The town is set to increase most of its fees by 2.5 per cent, a typical maximum under the treasurer’s delegated authority. This comes with inflation between 5.18 and 7.47 per cent over the past year based on the Toronto Consumer Price Index.

Fines are also set to go up, with the town planning to punish repeat offenders with increasing fines. Council also decided to raise the base fines for noise bylaw violations and operating a business without a licence.

The municipality is streaming the meeting at 1 p.m. You can view the stream at newmarket.ca/meetings or attend at 395 Mulock Dr. You can also arrange a deputation or send a letter by emailing clerks@newmarket.ca