On Thursday, February 4th, the City’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee heard that the City is moving to speed up timelines for projects that have a significant social impact, . The City aims to get affordable housing projects, long-term care facilities and retirement homes up and operating quickly by prioritizing these applications.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put added pressure on such facilities and emphasized the need for more affordable housing. Non-profit organizations that meet the criteria could work with staff to have a development application identified as a high social impact project. That would enable City planning staff to prioritize its review. The initiative would add to measures already in place to help facilitate these types of projects.
Staff have identified nine projects either already submitted or in the consultation stage that might fit the criteria of a high social impact project, with another eight pending further review. Staff will review existing applications to determine eligibility and what measures may be implemented to assist.
This item will also be on the agenda at the meeting of the City’s Planning Committee on Thursday, February 11 before rising to Council on Wednesday, February 24.
High Social Impact Projects Program
A High Social Impact Project (HSIP) is a development application that supports the City’s Council priority for thriving communities and promoting the well-being of our residents. The objective of this initiative is to assist with timelines of related development applications within Development Review and ensure these are prioritized departmentally.
Eligibility for the HSIP program will be determinant upon the following, where the applicant would have to meet all the below criteria:
- The applicant is a non-profit organization
- The land use is either residential, is a long term care facility (residential care facility in in the zoning by-law), or is a retirement home
- Where a contribution agreement or municipal capital facilities agreement has or will be entered into with Housing Services
Currently, certain measures are in place to assist and facilitate the development of these types of projects. These include:
- Housing organizations that are charitable or non-profit are currently exempted from paying Planning Application Fees.
- No conveyance of land or payment of money in-lieu under the Parkland By-law 2009-95 is required in the case of the development or redevelopment of a non-profit rental or not-for-profit sponsored ownership residential development or other development that provides public facilities or services and that is undertaken by a non-profit organization.
- There exists a reimbursement program for charitable or non-profit organizations where development related application fees may be eligible for a refund up to 50 per cent.
While the City has limited financial resources available to developers of these projects as part of the Development Review process, the City can assist in expediting applications.