February 22, 2016 - 4:41 PM
VERNON - A Vernon business group says red tape at city hall is frustrating housing developers and putting home prices out of reach for many families.
Representatives from the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce’s Business Improvement Group for Real Estate and Development approached Vernon council today, Feb. 22, about ways the city can let developers know it’s ‘open for business.’
“The city has direct control over a number of things that are contributing to the rising cost of housing including what are relatively high development cost charges,” group chair Pam Owen says. “The simple truth is the average family can`t afford the price of an average home that is on the market. We are hearing from many in the residential construction sector that land use regulations along with development fees are contributing to the high cost of land and putting home ownership out of the reach for average families.”
The group says the majority of new building lots in Vernon are geared at those earning twice the average family income, and that only four of 21 neighbourhoods are attainable for home ownership.
Aside from lowering development cost charges, the group also says the city should work on reducing the amount of red tape for developers. Phil Dyck, the director of the Vernon Chamber of Commerce says housing developers are frustrated with the process at city hall.
“There isn’t a ‘can do’ attitude or an open for business attitude,” Dyck says.
The group is also urging the city to hold a forum on attainable housing and economic development to get industry representatives, city administration and economic development officials talking.
Coun. Catherine Lord points out the city is working on a new development cost charges bylaw, which could see reduced rates, and adds the city has two revitalization tax exemptions available to developers. Coun. Brian Quiring agrees there needs to be more of a dialogue with the businesses, but notes the city is moving forward with policies that will encourage development.
“A lot of stuff is kind of lurching forward,” Quiring says.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016