More developers join legal fight against Winnipeg's growth fees plan
Ladco and Qualico each filed a notice of application at Manitoba's Court of Queen's Bench in late January. A first court appearance is set for next Tuesday.
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Two major players in Winnipeg’s development industry have added their names to a legal effort to quash the city’s new growth fees policy.
Ladco and Qualico each filed a notice of application at Manitoba’s Court of Queen’s Bench in late January, requesting a judge to cancel the fees, which come into effect May 1.
The Manitoba Homebuilders’ Association and the Urban Development Institute (UDI)—which both Ladco and Qualico are members of—launched a legal challenge against the city after council passed an impact fees policy last October.
The pair of development groups argue the city lacks the legal authority to impose the new fees without provincial approval.
They also say the bylaw is an "indirect tax" on homebuyers and is “discriminatory" since it only applies to some, not all, new homes.
Eric Vogan, head of UDI and vice-president at Qualico, explained he filed separate applications in order to address specific concerns impact fees raise for developments in Sage Creek and Ridgewood West.
“The impact fee ignores the existing development agreements and the existing secondary plan in Charleswood from my point,” he said in a recent interview.
“I just want to make doubly sure that those concerns are made evident to a judge,” he said in a recent interview.
For example, Vogan said he’s concerned about the money the company is spending to build arterial roads in Sage Creek.
The application filed by Ladco similarly argues that even if a judge rules the city has power to impose the new fees, the company has pre-existing development agreements with the city to cover the costs of off-site infrastructure and “the [city] has no authority to collect twice for the same costs."
The application also argues the policy “discriminates” between the different types of development by “exempting commercial, office, industrial and institutional developments from the impact fee.”
Developers building new homes on the outskirts of the city will be the first to pay the fees beginning in May, which will mean an extra $9,500 for a new 1,800-square-foot home.
Over the next two years, developers of commercial, industrial and infill properties across the city, including downtown, will be charged the fees.
A first court appearance has been set for next Tuesday.