Kensington Town Hall
KENSINGTON - Looking to rezone or build something in the Town of Kensington in the near future?
If so, residents would be advised to brush up on the town's development control bylaw. Fees for some permits have been increased dramatically recently.
For example, prior to Aug. 6, anyone applying for a home building permit in Kensington had to pay a flat $10 fee, regardless of the size or complexity of the project.
After Aug. 6, the same homebuilder is now paying $200 for the permit.
It's a huge increase - but one the town's chief administrative officer, Geoff Baker, said is the right thing to do for taxpayers.
"What we wanted to accomplish . . . and it was my recommendation (to council) at the end of the day - is that development should pay for itself, tax dollars should not be used to cover the cost of development," said Baker.
Whenever somebody in the town applies for a permit to build something new, like a house or commercial building, it requires staff - usually Baker - to go to the site, take measurements and prepare a report for council.
It's a time consuming process in which staff is being paid to do work for a private enterprise and a $10 fee just wasn't realistically covering the cost of these evaluations.
"We wanted the cost of the building permit to reflect the actual cost of its evaluation - rather than taxpayer dollars being used to supplement new development," he said.
A full list of the fees is available by going on the town's website, www.kensington.ca, and clicking on the "By-Laws & Policies" option under the "Living in Kensington" tab. There is a complete and updated document of the development control bylaw available there.
Anyone who would like to ask a question directly to staff can call Baker at the town office at 836-3781.
Anyone who builds without first obtaining a permit will be required to pay double the regular fee after the fact.
These changes come as the town's revisions to the development control bylaw got ministerial approval from the provincial government on Aug. 6.
The bylaw is part of the town's official plan and as such is required to be reviewed every five years.
The updates were approved by town council on March 11.
A public meeting to discuss amendments to the official plan was held on Oct. 17, 2012.
Other amendments to the development control bylaw include changes to some of the wording throughout the document - something that will have no affect on their meaning but are meant to make them more understandable for readers.
Another change is the inclusion of neighbourhood commercial zones into the development bylaw.
These would govern the development of small, detached, businesses in areas that are otherwise zoned residential.