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Town gets started on new Official Community Plan and Development Cost Charges bylaw

The last OCP was written in 2008

The Town of Princeton is moving forward on two initiatives surrounding planning and development.

At its April 6 meeting, council voted to award the contract for building a new Official Community Plan (OCP) to write a Development Cost Charges (DCC) bylaw.

The last OCP was written in 2008.

While $100,000 was budgetted for that project in 2021, the winning bid on the contract was won by Meraki Community Planning for $46,265.

Princeton CAO Lyle Thomas said the former OCP served the community well “but it’s coming to the end of its useful life.”

“Official community plans describe the long-term vision of communities. They are a statement of objectives and policies that guide decisions on municipal planning and land use management. These decisions impact communities’ sustainability and resilience,” states a staff report.

An official community plan must have statements and map designations for:

• residential development required to meet anticipated housing needs over a period of at least five years;

• present and proposed commercial, industrial, institutional, agricultural, recreational and public utility land uses;

• present and proposed public facilities, including schools, parks and waste treatment and disposal sites;

• sand and gravel deposits that are suitable for future sand and gravel extraction;

• phasing of any major road, sewer and water systems; and

• restrictions on the use of land that is subject to hazardous conditions or that is environmentally sensitive to development;

Related: Princeton proposes to take on $7M in debt to fix crumbling infrastructure

An OCP must also include:

• Housing policies for affordable housing, rental housing and special needs housing.

• Targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and policies and actions of the local government proposed to achieve those targets.

Public consultation is a key part of OCP development.

The DCC will be enacted under a bylaw that will cost $30,000 to prepare, and the contract for that job was awarded to TRUE Consulting for $30,000.

According to Thomas, Princeton is one of just a few communities in the province that does not currently have a DCC.

Coun. Tyler Willis remarked that fact may have been a contributing factor in the municipality being previously turned down for provincial grants.

Town director of finance James Graham explained a DCC is a levy charged to anyone building a unit in town, whether that is a replacement building or a new structure.

The funds collected from developers can only be used for future development of water, sewer and roads.

“The actual bylaw is set by us but it is very, very strongly regulated (by the province,)” said Graham.

Coun. Randy McLean, who served four terms as mayor of Princeton, suggested the town previously did not adopt a DCC as it could have deterred development.

“But now everyone has one,” he said “We aren’t doing anything different than anyone else.”

Related: Town hall proposes five per cent tax increase for 2021

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