Hamilton City Hall Wins Legal Battle to Charge Full Development Charges Against Laneway Housing

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Joanna St. Jacques, used with permission

Hamilton City Hall at Night

Hamilton City Hall won a long fought legal battle against the owners of Hamilton’s first laneway house.

In a Local Planning Appeal Tribunal written hearing, the City of Hamilton successfully argued to dismiss an appeal by the building of Hamilton’s first laneway house who sought to have a lower rate of development charges compared to the fees charged to new houses on empty lots.

The owner of the first laneway house in Hamilton submitted in their appeal that “the form of housing created on the Property offered a new approach to the provision of affordable housing with intensification by way of a second detached single dwelling unit on a single lot. The Appellant takes the position that this form of intensification should be recognized with a reduction in, or exemption from, the amount of development charges to be paid.”

The City of Hamilton objected to these arguments, submitting to the Tribunal that laneway housing is not connected to affordable housing, and that laneway housing should be handled similar to other single detached housing development. The City is also charging full parkland development fees.

Ultimately, the City was successful in getting the appeal dismissed for being filed late. The owner thought the 40 day appeal timeline referred to business days.

The City’s legal position directly contradicts the statements of Mayor Fred Eisenberger and General Manager of Planning and Economic Development Jason Thorne who’ve both promoted laneway housing as a means of expanding rental housing stock in Hamilton and increasing rental affordability.

With the new Council term, Development Charges are being reviewed, and at the February 19 Development Charges Stakeholders Sub-Committee, the Sub-Committee voted to change Hamilton’s development charge regulations to provide a partial exemption to laneway housing.

The new by-law is in public consultation, and is expected to be passed and in effect for July 6, 2019.

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Last edited: March 10, 2019
Author: Joey Coleman

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4 thoughts on “Hamilton City Hall Wins Legal Battle to Charge Full Development Charges Against Laneway Housing

  1. In order for there to be any chance of laneway housing being affordable, some easement of development charges may be necessary. Historically this type of housing has been attainable only to the most well-resourced of property owners, those who can endure tens of thousands for legals and years of delay.

  2. It is a shame that the details of this issue were not presented. Hopefully there will be more coverage. I am conflicted on the concept of tiny homes, but am supportive on affordable housing issues. I’d like to know how much these fees impact the profitability of this type of housing.

    • I requested the submissions filed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal in November, the LPAT declined to release the documents necessary to dig deeper on the costs involved in this case.

  3. Pingback: Hamilton City Hall Wins Legal Battle to Charge Full Development Charges Against Laneway Housing | The Point

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