Developers and retailers in Vancouver to be hit by increased fees

The City Council will be asked to approve a fee of $ 218 per hour to expedite requests for copies of documents and property investigation letters

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Developers and industries in Vancouver will face a wide range of increased conversion and licensing fees by 2022 – including a new $ 218 per hour fee to get ahead of the regular queue for copies of documents and real estate research letters.

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On Tuesday, the Vancouver City Council will vote on the proposed fee increases for zoning, general development, building permits and other related permits – which will average five percent for a total of 32 percent in increases since 2017. The changes will apply to about 70 different types of fees.

According to a staff report, increased regulations and “the consequent process and technology challenges” mean that processing times for permits have been extended during 2021.

The report goes on to state that COVID-related supply chain problems in the construction industry have resulted in project delays during the building inspection phase of permits, and this had also made the delays worse.

This backlog of permits and building inspections has arisen despite efforts since 2017 to reduce waiting times. At the time, the council approved the hiring of 75 additional employees, which came with a nine percent increase in most fee categories.

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In 2018, fees increased by an average of 12 percent, then three percent the following year and three percent in 2020.

According to the report, the building permit program will not generate enough money to cover the costs without increasing fees.

The new fee scheme will include a fee of $ 218 per. hour for a customer who wants copies of documents and property investigation letters (consolation letters) before the regular queue.

“Customers sometimes need prompt service due to tight deadlines (such as closing a real estate transaction) and will ask staff to complete their requests ahead of those already in our queue,” the report said.

“Customers offer to pay additional fees to have their request expedited, but staff have to reject the requests to avoid creating inequality in our process, resulting in unwanted consequences for customers.”

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As a result, the council will on Tuesday be asked to approve a new fee of $ 218 to be charged per. hour when an applicant “requests in writing that their request for a property investigation letter or document request be expedited and executed outside normal business hours..”

The staff will only complete these queries outside normal business hours, the report states, so there will be no negative impact on queries already in the queue.

“Thus, this new fee will give customers an opportunity to expedite time-sensitive requests without unfairly delaying other requests in our queue. Furthermore, as this fee will allow staff to complete some requests outside our regular queue, we expect a general improving our treatment service level agreement. “

dcarrigg@postmedia.com

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