August 10, 2015 - 6:30 PM
KELOWNA - A pair of micro suite developers have managed to “double dip” taking advantage of two different rental housing incentive programs for the same development.
And while some Kelowna city councillors grumbled about the property tax and development cost charge revenue lost to the city, they were reminded staff are already working to close that loophole and will present it to council in a few weeks.
Dickson Avenue Holdings will receive a combined credit of $340,000 for constructing 90 units of purpose built rental housing near Landmark Place. Forty of the units are micro suites.
Simple Pursuits Inc. will receive a combined $73,000 for building 24 micro suites on Ethel Street across from Cottonwood Extended Care Facility.
Both projects are eligible under the city’s revitalization tax agreement where purpose built rental housing constructed when vacancy rates are below three per cent can receive up to a ten year property tax exemption.
However, micro suites are also eligible for exemption from development cost charges under a provincially mandated incentive program.
Some councillors suggested the agreements set an unwelcome precedent and should be revisited, but director of planning Ryan Smith cautioned them about changing when both projects are already under construction.
“We have to be carefull about the perceived fairness of the process," he says. "When they came forward there was no restriction. I don’t know whether the incentives would make or break the project but I’m sure the developer has considered them in relation to the project."
Councillor Gail Given, however, says she is happy to see the badly needed rental housing in a city where the vacancy rate is hovering around one per cent.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015