Hamilton City Council Votes “No” to Investigating Implementing a Municipal Land Transfer Tax

On October 30, at the General Issue Committee Meeting where the budget was being discussed, Mayor Fred Eisenberger brought up the possibility of implementing a Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT) in Hamilton. Discussion was had both against and in favour of the MLTT. Mike Zegarac, General Manager of Finance & Corporate Services at the City of Hamilton, informed the councillors that they cannot simply implement such a tax or revenue generating measure – they would first need to approach the provincial government to gain approval for such a tax collection.

As you may know, the provincial government under Doug Ford rejected York Region’s plan to implement a MLTT this time last year – essentially setting precedent in the matter.

A vote was held at the meeting to inquire with the province about a possible MLTT. The exact wording of the motion was:

“We direct our staff to ask the province if the revenue tools that Toronto was given are available to other municipalities, including Hamilton.”

This motion was voted down 7 to 6 votes. Below are the councillors who voted in favour and against the motion.

Voted in Favour of Investigating the MLTT Voted Against
Mayor Fred Eisenberger Ward 2 – Jason Farr
Ward 1 – Maureen Wilson Ward 5 – Chad Collins
Ward 2 – Nrinder Nann Ward 6 – Tom Jackson
Ward 4 – Sam Merulla Ward 7 – Esther Pauls
Ward 8 – John-Paul Danko Ward 9 – Brad Clark
Ward Ward 11 – Brenda Johnson Ward 10 – Maria Pearson
  Ward 13 – Arlene VanderBeek

RAHB will continue to monitor this issue, and will advocate against such a measure should the discussion at City Hall move forward. We would also work with our partners at OREA and the provincial government for support, as well as the public – as we know, this is not a popular issue with Hamiltonians.

If you have any questions, please contact Wendy in the RAHB office at wendys@rahb.ca.

Federal Election Results for within the RAHB Market Area

On Monday night, Canadians elected a Liberal minority government lead by Justin Trudeau. This is Justin Trudeau’s second consecutive term as Prime Minister with the Liberal Party; however, he will need to negotiate support from at least one other party in order to pass any legislation this time around.

Those elected to represent in the RAHB ridings are:

  • Hamilton Centre: Matthew Green* – NDP
  • Hamilton Mountain: Scott Duvall – NDP
  • Hamilton East-Stoney Creek: Bob Bratina – Liberal
  • Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas: Filomena Tassi – Liberal
  • Flamborough-Glanbrook: David Sweet – Conservative
  • Burlington: Karina Gould – Liberal
  • Oakville North-Burlington: Pam Damoff – Liberal
  • Milton: Adam van Koeverden* – Liberal
  • Niagara West: Dean Allison – Conservative
  • Haldimand-Norfolk: Diane Finley – Conservative

*These newly-elected MPs are the only new faces for the RAHB market area ridings. All the others are incumbents.

Please see below for the contact information for your Members of Parliament:

E-mail Constituency Office Social Media
Coming soon!** Coming soon!** Instagram: @matthewgreenndp

Twitter: @MatthewGreenNDP

Scott.Duvall@parl.gc.ca 555 Concession St, Unit 2, Level 2, Hamilton Instagram: @scottduvallndp

Twitter: @sduvall07

Bob.Bratina@parl.gc.ca 40 Centennial Parkway N, Unit 2, Hamilton Instagram: @bobbratina

Twitter: @BobBratina

Filomena.Tassi@parl.gc.ca 1686 Main St W, Unit 4, Hamilton Instagram: @filomenatassi

Twitter: @FilomenaTassi

David.Sweet@parl.gc.ca 1760 Upper James St. Suite 4, Hamilton Instagram: @davidsweet.mp

Twitter: @DavidSweetMP

Karina.Gould@parl.gc.ca 777 Guelph Line, Suite 209, Burlington Instagram: @karinagould

Twitter: @karinagould

Pam.Damoff@parl.gc.ca 2525 Old Bronte Road, Suite 590, Oakville Instagram: @pamdamoff

Twitter: @PamDamoff

Coming soon!** Coming soon!** Instagram: @avankoeverden

Twitter: @vankayak

Dean.Allison@parl.gc.ca 4994 King St, Beamsville Instagram: @deanallisonmp

Twitter: @DeanAllisonMP

Diane.Finley@parl.gc.ca 76 Kent St S, Simcoe N/A

**We will update this information once these MPs take office.

If you have any questions about the government relations efforts of RAHB, please contact Wendy Stewart at wendys@rahb.ca or 905.529.8101 x295.

For full election results across Canada, please visit the Election Canada website at https://enr.elections.ca/ElectoralDistricts.aspx.

Request for Applications (RFA) – Regional Capital Assistance in Support of Affordable Housing

Attention to all affordable housing stakeholders in the Halton Region!

Halton Region has released a new initiative that pertains to a Request for Applications (RFA) to receive Regional capital assistance in support of affordable housing development across the Region of Halton.

The purpose of the RFA is to identify and fund eligible rental housing projects using capital funding programs administered by the Region, specifically:

  • Increase the supply of purpose-built, affordable rental housing stock in Halton Region with easy access to a range of supports that may be needed for people to lead stable and independent lives.
  • Ensure this affordable housing stock is energy efficient, accessible and sustainable over the long term.
  • Support partnerships that allow for the creation of more affordable housing and affordable housing communities.
  • Work towards negotiated RFA outcomes in August 2019 for a potential award by the Regional Council in October, and subsequent construction starting in the spring of 2020.

If this sounds of interest to you, applications must be sent to The Office of the Manager of Purchasing and delivered to main reception at:

The Regional Municipality of Halton

1151 Bronte Road

Oakville, Ontario

L6M 3L1

Applications must be submitted by July 4, 2019, at 2 pm

You can download the application by clicking the button below:

 

Application

 

Please note, there is a non-refundable fee of $13.94 (including HST) plus any additional fees charged by Bids and Tenders.

Applicants are invited to attend an optional information meeting on the following date and time:

Date:               Thursday, June 13, 2019

Time:               2:00 pm

Location:        Glenorchy/Dakota Rooms at The Regional Municipality of Halton Administration Building, 11  Bronte Road, Oakville.

For more information, please click the button below:

More Information

Government Relations Ad Hoc Task Force

Thank you, everyone, who has already volunteered to be a part of the Government Relations Ad Hoc Task Force.


The RAHB Government Relations (GR) Committee is seeking volunteers to be a part of the RAHB GR Ad Hoc Task Force. The purpose is to assist the GR Committee to achieve total representation of RAHB’s market area when meeting with elected officials.

Our experience tells us that elected officials are more willing to engage in conversation on REALTOR® and real estate-related issues when a member of their community/riding (i.e., a voter) is present in the meeting. As a result, we are looking for volunteers to commit themselves to a few meetings a year to represent their respective area – Hamilton, Burlington, Haldimand or Niagara North.

We are still looking for volunteers, specifically in the Niagara North (Grimsby and West Lincoln) and Haldimand County area.

Below are some of the responsibilities of a RAHB GR Ad Hoc Task Force member:

  • Meeting with elected officials for their specific area, alongside RAHB GR Committee members
  • Informing the GR Committee staff liaison (Wendy Stewart or Caitlin Laskowski) of GR-related issues within their area – so these issues can be addressed/added to the GR workplan
  • Occasionally attending GR Committee meetings to provide updates on what government issues are taking place within their community
  • Knowing key RAHB speaking points (i.e. issues, RAHB events, RAHB initiatives, etc.) when speaking with elected officials in the community

If you would like to volunteer as a RAHB GR Ad Hoc Task Force member for your community/riding, please contact Wendy Stewart at wendys@rahb.ca or Caitlin Laskowski at caitlinl@rahb.ca

Thank you in advance!

Sincerely,

Margaret Reid
RAHB GR Chair 2019

Dave Zalepa
RAHB GR Vice-Chair 2019

June is Senior’s Month!

At RAHB, we believe that seniors are both vital members of the community and the real estate market. During June, RAHB will be bringing awareness to resources that are available for seniors and their family. Each week, the resources will focus on a specific theme that seniors are primarily concerned with when looking to either stay or transition out of their homes: independence, safety and affordability.

Stay tuned for our first post on Independence on Monday, June 3.

 

Your Input is Needed – Hamilton Chamber of Commerce: Open for Business Survey

The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce is preparing an Open for Business report for the City of Hamilton, which will focus on development red tape in Hamilton.

For the report, the Chamber has asked RAHB to provide feedback on the current development processes at the City. Ultimately, the Chamber is looking to accomplish the following:

  1. Review existing rules and processes for development in Hamilton
  2. Compare these processes to other cities
  3. Offer recommendations for city staff to improve

Members of the RAHB Government Relations Committee will be participating in a focus group to answer questions with the Chamber; however, we also want to extend the opportunity for all members to provide valuable feedback.

Please find below a link to an online survey to provide answers to questions posed by the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce for their report.

Hamilton Chamber – Open for Business Survey

This survey will be open until 4:30 on Thursday, May 30.

There are several questions, and so we ask that you only complete as many questions as you like. Any feedback you provide is greatly appreciated.

Your answers are anonymous.

Once the report is completed and submitted to the City of Hamilton, we will be sure to share it with RAHB members.

Thank you in advance for your participation.

Update – City of Burlington Downtown Development Freeze

On March 5, the City of Burlington approved an Interim Control Bylaw (ICBL) for development within areas of downtown and around the Burlington GO station. To read the Bylaw passed on March 5, please click the below button:

Burlington Interim Control Bylaw

UPDATE – On April 25, the City of Burlington passed an amendment to the Control Bylaw that includes several exemptions.

Exemptions from the ICBL can be allowed in the study area (areas in the downtown and around the Burlington GO station) if your planned construction, alteration or expansion includes:

  • a zoning clearance certificate and/or building permit for a deck, pool, patio, fence, porch, accessory building or structure, temporary building or structure, or interior renovation to an existing building;
  • a site plan application that is currently in process or approved on the date of the passage of the ICBL (March 5) – those include:
    • 374-380 Martha St.;
    • 490-492 Brock Ave/1298 Ontario St;
    • 421 Brant St;
    • 442 Pearl St;
    • 471 Pearl St.;
    • 2030 Caroline St/510 Elizabeth St/2025 Maria St; and
    • 2092 Old Lakeshore Rd.
    • The Director of City of Building indicated during the April 2 P&D Committee Meeting that there were no other site plans in process or approved prior to March 5 that qualify for an exemption;
  • A Committee of Adjustment application under Sec. 45(1) of the Planning Act that includes any of the criteria identified in the first point.

The City of Burlington has confirmed with RAHB that the Interim Control Bylaw still applies to the construction of new homes and additions to existing homes.

To read the complete exemption report, please click the below button:

Interim Control Bylaw – Exemptions

We will continue to notify members of any changes to this bylaw, and will be advocating for the City of Burlington to lift the Interim Control Bylaw.

New Hamilton Sign By-Law Fines

On April 30, the City of Hamilton proposed adding the Sign By-Law (10-197) to the Administrative Penalty System By-Law (17-225). This effectively means that real estate signs (open house, for sale lawn signs) that do not adhere to the current City of Hamilton Sign By-Law will receive fines of approximately $50-$100 per infraction.

This change will be going before Hamilton City Council on Wednesday, May 8 where we anticipate it will be approved.

Below are some of the proposed fines that will have a direct impact on REALTORS® conducting business in Hamilton:

 

Open House Directional Sign – Each has a related fine of $100

  • Permit/display open house directional sign before 10 a.m. of the day of the open house
  • Permit/display open house directional sign after 6 p.m. of the day of the open house
  • Permit/display open house directional sign with more than 0.5m² sign area
  • Permit/display open house directional sign on a traffic island
  • Permit/display open house directional sign on median
  • Permit/display open house directional sign attached to light standard
  • Permit/display open house directional sign attached to a utility pole
  • Permit/display open house directional sign less than 0.3m from the sidewalk

 

Real Property Sale/Lease/Rent Sign – Each has a related fine of $100

  • Permit/display real property sale/lease/rent sign for more than 14 days after a firm sale is reported to the local realtors
  • Permit/display real property sale/lease/rent sign for one dwelling more than 0.6m² sign area
  • Permit/display real property sale/lease/rent sign for other than one dwelling more than 4.0m² sign area
  • Permit/display real property sale/lease/rent sign with illumination
  • Permit/display real property sale/lease/rent sign on property not being sold/leased/rented

 

Penalties and Enforcement – Each has a related fine of $500

  • Person contravened a provision of the Sign By-Law
  • Person failed to comply with an order made under Sign By-Law

 

Please see below for links to previous blog posts regarding Sign By-Laws:

 

Please click the below button for the complete proposed Sign By-Law infraction fines:

 

Read Full Proposed Sign By-Law Fines

 

See pages 46 and 47 to see the direct impact on REALTORS® conducting business in Hamilton.

An e-mail will be sent out to RAHB members about the finalized information regarding the Sign By-Law once it is approved at Council.

 

 

Province of Ontario Releases Housing Supply Action Plan

On May 2, the Ontario Government released their Housing Supply Action Plan (HSAP).

Read Full Supply Action Plan Here

In HSAP, the Ontario Government is working on cutting red tape and reducing regulations so the people of Ontario can build homes that will both meet their needs and budget. Additionally, the Ontario Government’s plan will, as a result, spur innovation while protecting tenants, health and safety, cultural heritage, and the environment.

Overall, the Ontario Government is working to address Ontario’s housing crisis by providing a plan that will make housing both affordable and effortless to build. The Ontario Government is planning to do so in five ways:

  1. Make the development approval process faster
  2. Make costs more predictable when building a new home
  3. Make a mix of different types of housing
  4. Make it easier to build rental housing
  5. Make the Ontario housing sector more innovative by encouraging creative housing designs and materials

In addition to previously-announced initiatives for housing, the HSAP specifically speaks to legislation and policy changes to increase housing supply, protection of historical and environmental resources, increasing rental resources, and consumer protection. These are outlined below.

 

Making it Easier to Build More Housing

The Ontario Government is attempting to make it easier to build new housing by proposing amendments to various legislation and regulatory processes:

Planning Act:

  • New planning decision timeline of 120 days for official plans, 90 days for zoning by-laws, and 120 days for plans of subdivisions
  • Make it easier to create residential units above garages for detached, semi-detached, and row houses in both the primary dwelling and ancillary building or structure
  • Build both housing and affordable housing near transit
  • Streamline the planning approval process to 45 days to help municipalities implement community planning permit systems
  • Create the new community benefits authority to make upfront development costs more predictable by replacing the existing density bonus provision
  • Create more clarity on what communities and developers can build and where to build

 

Local Planning Appeal Tribunal:

  • Hire more adjudicators to help address the backlog of legacy cases
  • Ensure the tribunal has the power and resources needed
  • Allow the tribunal to make planning decisions in place of Council

 

Provincial Policy Statement

  • Encourage the development of more and different types of housing
  • Reduce costs for developers and provide greater predictability
  • Update planning and development policies to reflect Ontario’s changing needs

 

Development Charges Act

  • Reduce the costs to build priority housing types, such as second units
  • Fully cover municipality waste diversion costs
  • Make the costs of development clear from the outset

 

Ontario Building Code

  • Remove the requirement that all new homes include the infrastructure for an electric vehicle charge station
  • Harmonize Ontario Code with National Codes to open new markets for manufacturing and bring building costs down

 

Protecting Natural and Historic Resources

The Ontario Government will aim to maintain national and historic resources protected by proposing amendments to various legislation:

Ontario Heritage Act

  • Maintain local control over heritage conservation decisions while providing clear direction and timelines for local decision makers
  • Ensuring municipal decisions on designation and alternations to heritage properties can be appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT), whose decisions are binding

 

Environmental Assessment Act & Environment Protection Act

  • Streamline processes for projects that pose little risk to the environment
  • Reduce the amount of soil sent to landfills from constructions sites by making it easier and safer to reuse soil
  • Clarify the rules and remove an unnecessary barrier to building on vacant land
  • Improve service standards to reduce the delays

 

Rental Resources

  • Create more rental units and work toward cutting red tape around development approvals so new homes will become available to renter sooner
  • Work with municipalities and businesses to find housing solutions to attract investment and jobs
  • Aid homeowners to create secondary legal suits by providing a user-friendly checklist
  • Clarify rules and help people understand how to take advantage of creative solutions, such as tiny homes, laneway housing, co-home ownership, etc.

 

Consumer Protection

  • Making it easier for new home buyers to check out a developer’s track record in the Ontario Builder Directory
  • Adding more proactive, risk-based inspections by Tarion during construction to make sure homes are built properly
  • When new home buyers have problems, creating an easy-to-use process to help them resolve disputes quickly and fairly
  • Transforming the Tarion Warranty Corporation, which protects new home buyers against shoddy construction and delays – so home builders aren’t regulating themselves
  • Strengthening protections for new home buyers and helping people who have bought condominiums, only to have the project cancelled

 

In summary, Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan aims to foster growth in the housing market across Ontario.

For more information on Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan, please click on the link here.

2019 Provincial Budget

The 2019 Ontario Provincial Budget was released on April 11, 2019. Please click below to access the entire budget.

2019 Ontario Budget

 

Below are links several areas that specifically relate to Hamilton, housing and real estate.

The President of the Treasury Board, Peter Bethlenfalvy, was in Hamilton on April 12 to provide a brief overview of the budget and answer questions. RAHB asked, “How will the Ontario Government, through the 2019 Budget, help Ontarians to afford a home (both rent and own) comfortably?” Mr. Bethlenfalvy’s answer is in the below video.

City of Hamilton Mayor’s Breakfast

On Wednesday, April 10 the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual Mayor’s Breakfast. A table of RAHB representatives attended and a question was asked on behalf of the association about affordable housing.

Mayor Eisenberger mentioned that they will be looking into secondary or accessory suites to increase rental stocks, as well as lane way housing.

CIty of Hamilton Development Charges Update

On February 19 and March 25, the City of Hamilton Development Charges Stakeholder Sub-Committee met to review the proposal for exemptions and changes to the current development charges, and vote as to which changes/exemptions would be put forward for public consultation. RAHB participates within this sub-committee.

There will be a public meeting held on April 18 starting at 9:30 a.m., then recessed until 7 p.m. to ensure members of the public are able to attend and present their delegations.

If you have any objections to the below report or items carried, we encourage you to attend the meeting and provide a delegation with your argument. In order to present a delegation, please visit the City of Hamilton website at https://www.hamilton.ca/council-committee/council-committee-meetings/request-speak-committee-council and complete the required forms.

Below is the link to the full 630 page Development Charges Background Study:

2019 Development Charges Background Study – Full 630 pages

Below is the summary of the report that was presented to the sub-committee:

2019 Development Charges Background Study Summary

Below are the items voted upon and carried:

The Committee considered the staff recommendations and alternative recommendations for the following Development Charges exemption policies:

(i) Parking Structures
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law not provide an exemption for commercial parking.

(ii) Covered Sports Field
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law not provide an exemption for covered sports fields.

(iii) Small Industrial Rate
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law not provide a lower rate for small industrial developments.

(iv) Academic – Post Secondary / Not-for-Profit / Elementary/Secondary
That the 2019 Development Charge By-law continue to charge only the Transit component of the Development Charges for postsecondary academic space.

  1.  That the 2019 Development Charges By-law not provide an Academic Space exemption; and,
  2. That the 2019 Development Charges By-law require documentation from developers to support the mandatory exemption as a Crown agent.

(v) Affordable Housing
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law not provide an exemption for affordable housing.
(Note – the removal of the exemption was because the file was moved to another funding agent.)

(vi) Places of Worship
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law provide an exemption for Places of Worship, with clarification that revenue generating space is not exempt.

(vii) Public Hospitals
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law not provide exemptions for public hospitals.

(viii) Downtown Public Art Reserve Voluntary Contributions
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law maintain the current exemption for Downtown Public Art Reserve Voluntary Contributions, with an annual limit of $250,000 on the contributions that will be accepted by the City under this program.

(ix) Heritage Buildings
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law maintain the current exemption within the existing building envelope except for sections that are not covered by the Heritage designation.

(x) Redevelopment for Residential Facility
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law maintain the exemption for Redevelopment for Residential Facility.

(xi) Industrial Rate
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law maintain the current exemption, and continue with a 39% reduction, by charging 100% of the water and wastewater charges, and adjusting the percentage charged for services related to a highway component to achieve a combined reduction of 39%.

(xii) Expansion of an Existing Industrial Development
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law maintain the 50% Industrial expansion exemption as written in the 2014 Development Charges By-law, as amended.

(xiii) Transition Policy
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law maintain the Transition Policy tied to building permit applications.

(xiv) Student Residences
That the exemption for Student Residences be maintained in the 2019 Development Charges By-law until June 30, 2020.

(xv) Agriculture
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law redefine the agriculture definition to exclude cannabis growing and processing, and charge the industrial Development Charge rate.

  1. That the 2019 Development Charges By-law not provide an exemption for farm help houses; and
  2. That the 2019 Development Charges By-law require proof of a farm business registration number to receive the agriculture Development Charge exemption.

(xvi) New Non-Industrial (Commercial/Institutional) Stepped Rates
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law continue stepped rates for office, excluding medical office; continue stepped rates within the City’s CIPA (Community Improvement Plan Areas) and BIA’s (Business Improvement Areas); and, remove stepped rates for all other development.

(xvii) Expansion of Existing Non-Industrial (Commercial/Institutional)
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law only provide a 5,000 square feet exemption for office, excluding medical office; and, remove the exemption for all other non-industrial development.

(xviii) Downtown Hamilton CIPA

  1. That the 2019 Development Charges By-law continue to provide a 70% CIPA exemption for major office developments (Class A – greater than 20,000 square feet gross floor area), whether or not the development is a standalone office;
  2. That for other development within the Downtown Hamilton

 

CIPA:

July 6, 2019 – July 5, 2020 60% exemption
July 6, 2020 – July 5, 2021 50% exemption
July 6, 2021 – July 5, 2022 40% exemption
July 6, 2022 – July 5, 2023 40% exemption
July 6, 2023 – July 5, 2024 40% exemption

(iii) That the 2019 Development Charges By-law maintain the same height limits on exemption use; and,

(iv) That the 2019 Development Charges By-law add clarity that the Downtown Hamilton CIPA exemption cannot be combined/stacked with other Development Charge exemptions and that the Downtown Hamilton CIPA exemption will not be applied if other exemptions result in a lower amount payable.

(xix) Laneway Housing
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law exempt laneway housing.

(xx) Non-industrial Uses Charged Industrial Rate

  1. That the 2019 Development Charges By-law not provide the industrial rate for self-storage facilities or hotels; and,
  2. That the 2019 Development Charges By-law provide the industrial rate for film, production and artists’ studios.

(xxi) Other Development Charges Policies

  1. That the 2019 Development Charges By-law maintain the ability to offset Development Charges with an ERASE (Environmental Remediation and Site Enhancement Redevelopment Program) grant, and require security through a Development Charge Deferral Agreement; and,
  2. That the 2019 Development Charges By-law, respecting Deferral Agreements, maintain the existing policy and add:
    1. That staff be authorized to negotiate extensions of Development Charges Deferral Agreements of up to two years;
    2. That staff be authorized to enter into Development Charges Deferral Agreements related to Podium Developments to delay timing and applicable rate of Development Charge payment to the issuance of each structure permit (no time limit); and,
    3. That staff be authorized to enter into zero interest Development Charge Deferral Agreements where a developer is applying their ERASE grant to offset the Development Charges (no time limit).

If you have any questions, please contact Wendy in the RAHB office at wendys@rahb.ca or via phone at 905.529.8101 x295.