Development Contributions (DC) staff cost & ADUs

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Is there a link between “staff resources” and DC cost, or should they be seen as different subjects?

“Ancillary units [ADUs] currently pay 1/3rd of an HUE [household unit equivalent].  This discount was introduced in the 2013-14 Development Contributions Policy. The original assumption leading to this discount being implemented was ancillary unit development [ADU] places less demand on the Council infrastructure than standard density developments. The administration of ancillary units  under the existing Policy utilises staff resources disproportionately to the quantum of development contribution revenue generated.”

From Outline of significant changes to the Development Contribution Policy 2018/19 – Page 5 (my emphasis)

A check does not show staff resources as a DC cost – All DC HUE Capex Data.xlsx

The staff resources issue is not a DC problem. The issue is more the fact there are 65 synonyms for Ancillary dwelling units (ADUs). Below I’ll use some of my notes from Kol Peterson’s book on ADUs, which addresses the situation in North America.

‘The solution is to understand that the target audience for ADUs consists of homeowner entry level developers. The number of homeowners interested in building ADUs trumps the number of ADUs actually being built. The number of people in Portland who would like to build an ADU appears to be 30-45 times greater than the numbers who actually do so.

Thus, a chronological outline of the steps necessary for a homeowner to pursue ADU development should be spelled out, and links to sample plan sets and other permit documentation should be provided. All of the information should be accessible from a single index page online rather than scattered and muddled in numerous locations throughout a website. Providing key information as a downloadable PDF is also useful. The information provided should be extremely clear and direct. Vancouver’s laneway house website is a simple and useful example of an ADU program guide page.’

The comment in DC documents on “staff resources” shows a clear bias towards existing developers. The amateur/entry level ADU developer may be asking “nuisance” questions, but they are part of the solution to housing supply. The solution to the “staff resources” issue is to develop a Plain English guide to the construction of small infill dwellings.

Category: Economics, Planning

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