Agenda Index City of Vancouver



Vancouver City Council


City Manager, in consultation with the Director of Community Planning


Amendment to Oakridge/Langara Development Cost Levy By-law No. 7630





The Oakridge/Langara Development Cost Levy (DCL) By-law was approved in September 1996, following Council approval of the Oakridge/Langara Public Benefit Strategy in June 1996. In the DCL By-law, rates were established for all uses at $34.98 per square metre ($3.25/sq. ft.), except daycare which has a reduced rate of $5.49 per square metre ($0.51/sq. ft.). Exemptions, as defined in the Charter, are provided for churches, social housing, and projects involving less than 4 dwelling units.


This report recommends amending the Oakridge/Langara DCL By-law to provide a reduced rate for schools. Should Council approve this recommendation, a draft by-law amendment is attached for enactment (Appendix A).


Section 523D of the Vancouver Charter enables Council to establish development cost levies (DCLs) where anticipated development will contribute to the need for one or more capital projects in an area. Capital projects include: sewer, water, drainage and highway facilities; providing and improving park land; daycare facilities; and, replacement housing.


The Vancouver School Board has a building permit application in process for the expansion of Churchill High School, which is within the Oakridge/Langara DCL district boundary. Under the current by-law, it is required to pay a DCL of $169,074.75. The School Board is concerned about the amount of this charge and have asked staff to consider exempting them from the charge. While the Charter does not allow schools to be exempted, Section 523D (12)(b) allows rates to be varied according to different uses or occupancies as defined by Council.

The Oakridge/Langara Public Benefit Strategy recognized that increased residential population would create additional pressure on area schools, noting that school facility funding is a provincial responsibility. The province approved the Churchill addition, to replace portable classrooms, prior to completion of the Public Benefit Strategy. Staff expected it to proceed in-advance of DCL enactment, so a reduced rate was not considered as part of area planning. However, the Churchill project was delayed due to a provincial freeze on capital projects, and is only now proceeding. Oakridge/Langara is the only current DCL district with schools within its boundary.

Capital funding to accommodate growth is a significant issue. Staff will shortly be reporting to Council with proposals to address the costs of growth. This includes a review of growth financing and possible implementation of city-wide DCLs and Community Amenity Contributions. Given the importance of schools in our communities, staff expect the School Board to be a key participant in this process. This process could lead to recommended Vancouver Charter changes, perhaps including the ability to exempt schools from DCLs. However, this process is expected to take up to 12 months to complete and will not address the School Board's current concerns regarding the DCL charge for Churchill High School.

Staff have also contacted other GVRD municipalities with development cost charges (DCCs) to determine how schools are addressed in their by-laws. While the approach varies, several other municipalities have institutional rates, which apply to schools. These rates are typically at the lower end of their DCC rate structure.

Staff believe that, in advance of the larger review, a rate similar to that charged for daycare is appropriate. Also, until there is a broader discussion of school use, staff are recommending a definition of school limited to elementary or secondary schools as defined in the attached by-law amendment.


Staff believe there is an argument for providing schools with a reduced DCL rate in advance of the broader financing growth review.

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BY-LAW NO.______

A By-law to amend By-law No. 7630
being the Oakridge/Langara Development Cost Levy By-law

1. Section 2 of By-law No. 7630 is amended by adding the following subsection:

2. Subsection (1) of Section 4 of By-law No. 7630 is amended by inserting immediately after the sentence commencing with the words "With respect to space devoted to day care use" the following:

3. This By-law comes into force and takes effect on the date of its passing.


(signed) Ulli Watkiss
City Clerk

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