On Monday, the City of Surrey approved amendments to its zoning bylaw that would increase the rates for Community Amenity Contributions (CACs) as part of an annual adjustment to account of inflation and market conditions.
The rates for CACs are typically increased based on the change in Vancouver's Annual Average Consumer Price Index (CPI) as of the end of the preceding year. As of December 31, 2022, Vancouver's CPI change was 6.8%, according to the Province of British Columbia, and the City of Surrey is accordingly increasing all rates for CACs by 6.8%.
While the City of Vancouver charges Community Amenity Contributions for development projects that involve rezoning and Density Bonus Contributions to developers seeking extra density, the City of Surrey charges CACs in exchange for extra density.
Additionally, CACs in Surrey are also split into several cateogries. According to the City, for development projects where an increase in maximum density is granted, the following CACs apply:
- Affordable Housing CACs
- Capital Project CACs (Tier 1)
- Community Specific Capital Project CACs (Tier 2)
- Secondary Plan and Infill Area CACs
Affordable Housing CACs had a fixed rate of $1,000 per residential unit for each additional unit granted above the maximum density that is usually permitted. That rate is now increasing to $1,068.
Capital Project CACs, also known as Tier 1 CACs, have fixed rates dependent on whether the subject site of the development project is within or outside a Secondary Plan Area. For those within, the fixed rate will be increased from $2,000 to $2,136 per extra unit. For those outside, the fixed rate is increasing from $4,000 to $4,272 per extra unit.
Community-Specific Capital Project CACs, also known as Tier 2 CACs, do not have a fixed rate, and are charged per unit for single-detached homes and townhouses, but per square foot for apartments, and vary in each Community Area. All rates are uniformly increasing by 6.8%.
Secondary Plan and Infill Area CACs are similar, but apply to areas where there is typically less high-density development. Rather than increasing rates for those areas by 6.8%, however, the City is only raising rates by 4.4%.
In Monday’s Council meeting, the rate increases went unopposed, save for Councillor Linda Annis, who voiced that concerns that the increases could make things tougher for developers and slow down development in the city.
"I know many of the developers are struggling right now, with higher interest rates, and I'm just concerned that this may be the tipping point [that] really slows down in Surrey, which we can't afford to do, particularly in the areas of housing and office,” Annis said.
Last month, the City of Surrey also approved increases to Development Cost Charges. Those increases require approval from the provincial government, but are expected to come into effect in May.