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

Hamilton’s Traffic change last 3 years

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From: Council meeting Wed 6th Dec 2017 – 2018-28 10-year Plan – page 69, line 37

Drivers of significant expenditure variances include “Over the last three years we have seen a 15% traffic growth on main routes, Hamilton is now the “busiest” Council traffic network in the country (based on VKT/km)”

It is true that traffic volumes are growing, but when this is mapped the growth decreases along main routes through Hamilton.

Another way to see change in growth is to graph traffic counts; (you can find data here –  Link) It is presented as a pdf not as live Excel, so after a bit of copying and typing , we have a graph that shows a trend line of traffic growth on State Highways, which are central government funded, and reducing traffic on local roads, which are partly funded from local rates.

Traffic counts are not the only way to measure changes in traffic volumes. At the same Council meeting Wed 6th Dec 2017  – page 69, line 37

“Hamilton is now the busiest council traffic network in the country (based on VKT/km)”

When asked, the very helpful staff at council added a bit more detail to this VKT/km.

‘The busiest Council traffic network information is from the One Network Road Classification tool which has been developed for Road Controlling Authorities. Hamilton City measures 1,272 VKT/km compared to Auckland at 1,136 VKT/km and Tauranga City 1,066 VKT/km.’

There seem to be numbers that support the idea traffic volumes are growing, but the opposite may also be true; looking back to past post on  Parking evidence, vehicle counts in Hamilton central appeared to be decreasing.