Princeton property owners have received their 2011 property assessment notices in the mail over the past few weeks. Most property owners in Princeton experienced an increase in their property value. On average that increase was 13.5 per cent and combining all the different property classifications into the mix totaled almost 35 million. This did not mean an automatic increase in annual property taxes.
“One of the signs of economic recovery and prosperity are rising property assessments. The 2011 assessments for Princeton not only reflect gains from previous year’s losses, but is also a sign that our economy is improving,” says Mayor Randy McLean. “Property owners often get nervous that with rising property assessments it will automatically mean an increase in the property taxes they pay as well; this however is not the case. When Council begins the complex task of putting together a financial plan, Council adjusts the tax rates to account for rising assessments so that on average, municipal taxes for residents remain the same unless council specifically considers it essential to raise additional revenue for much needed services or because of inflationary pressures.”
For some residents, property taxes are being revised because of rezoning. Three properties have applied to the Town of Princeton for rezoning in recent months. The three properties want to go from single family dwellings to two family dwellings. These applications moved council to revisit the bylaws for residential homes and investigate the need for affordable housing further. Secondary Suites and Carriage Houses were recognized as a valuable form of affordable rental housing “with recognized benefits to homeowners, tenants and the community.”
Up until now the Town of Princeton has had no zones within the Princeton Zoning bylaw that permit secondary suites and/or carriage houses. Part of the Official Community plan recommendations adopted in 2008 was to revise the zoning bylaw to allow secondary suites in zones that permit duplexes including two family residential zones and multi-family zones.”
Part of the bylaw amendment proposal is to ensure that the change to zoning does not have a negative impact on the surrounding homes. Rezoned or new construction residences in the proposed area will have to hook into the town water and sewer and provide on site parking for their tenants. The property owners must reside in either the main residence or the on site carriage house or secondary suite. The implications of the bylaw amendment will diversify Princeton’s affordable and special needs housing, positively impact property owners financially, provide the Town of Princeton with further revenue via increased water and sewer rates and reduce greenhouse gas emissions helping Princeton strive towards its targets in the Climate Action Plan.