Almost a quarter-million dollars in refunded development cost charges could be issued to Genica Development this week from City of Chilliwack coffers.
The proposed $231,708.11 refund, on the agenda for approval at Tuesday’s council meeting, is in keeping with a newly revised policy on DCCs, confirmed Mayor Sharon Gaetz.
The project in question is the 68-unit Auburn Retirement Residence on Young Road, constructed for the 55+ community.
When it came before council initially the vision was for a “small” apartment complex, but the focus of the project changed, and the plan became to build “congregate care” units, said Genica Development owner Larry Les.
As a result, the refund of DCC funds could be approved by council this week.
According to the revised policy, DCCs calculated for a developer on the basis of “a specific land use” at the time of issuing a building permit, “and to which a different use is permitted prior to occupancy, (with a DCC rate less than the ones they paid),” may be eligible for a partial refund, subject to certain conditions.
“It’s something where we had to be fair to the developer and fair to the city at the same time,” Gaetz said about the revised DCCs policy. “It had to make sense.”
As the project advanced, developers of the Auburn decided the building needed to be adapted for congregate care, which includes care services for seniors like providing meals and housekeeping.
“In this case, it was an approved change during the construction phase,” Les said.
Because the DCCs had already been paid, Genica officials applied to the city in writing for a refund, “since in all fairness we should be charged the rate for congregate care housing,” Les added.
In the end, the Auburn ended up being a project “for the demographic we were aiming for in the first place,” with care services available on-site, he said.