Too much work yet to do and too little time left to do it prompted a local businessman to ask city council for a grace period extension from the pending development cost charges bylaw.
Local realtor Clark Power made the request to Port Alberni city council at their Monday meeting.
The exemption would apply to the property on Tomswood Road behind AW Neill Middle School that Power is trying to develop into 30 residential lots.
After March 22 some $6,000 per lot would be due in DCC costs.
Power asked for an extension until October at the latest or August at the earliest.
Councillors voted to direct city staff to produce a report outlining DCC bylaw extension options for them to consider by their next meeting.
The community charter precludes granting an extension for a particular property, so a bylaw amendment would have to apply to anyone applying for one, city manager Ken Watson said.
Power originally applied to have the property rezoned for a subdivsion in 2009.
He went through a city process and received his preliminary layout letter in June 2010.
He’s completed several city stipulations since, even putting $200,000 of his own money into the development.
But delays have thrown a wrinkle into the plans.
“Because of weather I’ve had several hurdles trying to get services to the property, other hurdles include school board easement and continued surveys,” Power said.
In order not to pay DCC charges Power requires city approval of the property before the one-year bylaw grace period expires on March 22.
His options to get approval are to either complete property infrastructure before the deadline, or to provide a financial sureity guaranteeing service installation.
But Power says he’s not in a position to do either.
Weather conditions aren’t conducive to infrastructure work right now.
As for the money, “The $200,000 I’ll have to pay would halt the development,” Power said.
“That $200,000 takes a lot of profit out of the project.”
Granting an extension could create a slippery slope. “Other businesses could come forward and say ‘well, I need an extension too’,” Coun. Cindy Solda said.
DCC costs impact investor confidence, Power said.
“No one can make money when they have to pay an extra $200,000,” he said.
Port Alberni is one of the last municipalities in B.C. to adopt a DCC bylaw, and it’s rate is one of the lowest, Watson said.