The City of Whitehorse development incentive program is doing exactly what is intended, resulting in more housing units in the city, says Coun. Steve Roddick.
Roddick made the statement at Whitehorse city council’s Aug. 3 meeting where three proposed incentive agreements came forward for council’s consideration.
The incentives provide grants for a portion of or all the development cost charges associated with the projects. Those building four or more rental or supported housing units may also be eligible for an annual tax grant for up to 10 years based on improvements to the property. Those receiving the grants would get up to a maximum of $500,000 over the 10 years. Annually, the grant cannot exceed a maximum of $50,000.
As Roddick put it, there’s a trade-off for the city in providing the funding, but the end result is more housing becoming available.
“It’s working,” he said.
In this case, the city is faced with three new rental developments bringing a total of 24 units to the city.
The largest is at 51 Keewenaw Dr. in Copper Ridge for a 12-unit development planned as the second phase of development there.
Under the agreement, the developer would be granted a reduction in development cost charges and the 10-year property tax grant.
“The development agreement lists the maximum value of $500,000, the timeline for the tax grant payments, and specifies that the building must be operated as rental housing for a minimum of 10 years or else the proponent will be required to repay the city for all grants disbursed,” acting planning manager Greg Stone stated in a report to council. “Other conditions that the developer/property owner must meet to remain eligible for the grants are also specified.”
The agreement also outlines that the units cannot be used as short-term rentals, such as overnight stays that can be booked on sites like Airbnb.
The other two incentive agreements for the rental developments at 1306 Centennial St. and 24 Wann Rd., both in Porter Creek, would also be in the form of grants for the development cost charges and property taxes up to $500,000 for a maximum of 10 years.
While an eight-unit rental development is being built at the Centennial Street property, a four-unit development is planned for the Wann Road property.
Council will vote Aug. 10 whether to approve each of the proposed incentive agreements.
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