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City of Delta could soon offer developers better deals

Various incentives explored to remove barriers to building priority housing
city of delta, bc housing incentives
The housing action plan recommendations include the City of Delta reviewing the current unit per hectare and floor space ratio limits for all medium and high density designations as a potential barrier to development of needed housing types.

The City of Delta could be ready to offer developers a better deal.

Among the strategies outlined in a draft of the city’s housing action plan, which will be finalized later this year, is for Delta to promote so-called “priority housing” types through a sliding scale incentive package.

Planning staff recently came back to council with the public and stakeholder consultation feedback on the proposed strategies including coming up with an incentive strategy, which received a mostly positive response with most ranking such a strategy as important for addressing Delta's housing needs.

Seven housing types were presented as potential priority options for incentives, with the most support expressed for affordable seniors housing, affordable family-sized units, as well as supportive and assisted housing for seniors or other populations, a staff report notes.

“Those who chose to include additional thoughts via open-ended questions noted that housing affordability was the top concern, while density and the balance between community and developer benefits were also mentioned. The stakeholder group identified the cost and affordability as a key theme, along with the potential impact on the development sector and how the incentives would be funded to achieve these priority housing types,” the report states.

The consulting team indicated that additional density and parking reductions are the most powerful types of incentives that could be provided to encourage the development of those types of units, the report adds.

Those incentives could also include development cost charge waivers for not-for-profit affordable housing units.

“Without these incentives, there appears to be significant limitations to the financial feasibility of market rental or below-market rental projects for the development community at currently available densities on a variety of sites throughout Delta's urban communities. Where purpose built rental is currently being proposed, it is generally occurring on sites that have been under the same ownership for many years, or on sites where planning amendments are proposed in order to realize the densities needed to make projects financially feasible. This feedback indicates that further work is required in order to realize opportunities for rental housing in Delta,” the report states.

Among the recommended actions is the city undertaking a parking study to determine potential parking reductions for rental and non-market housing close to transit corridors, reviewing the current unit per hectare and floor space ratio limits for all medium and high density designations and exploring the creation of an affordable housing reserve fund as part of the two-year review of the parks, recreation and culture amenity contributions policy.

The city plans to undergo another round of consultation once the draft housing plan is completed this spring.