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Town, Sorbara still apart on Dayfoot funding deal

Posted November 28, 2017

Development is at a standstill in Beeton as the Sorbara Group and New Tecumseth remain at odds how to structure a front-ending agreement valued over $14 million to fund the reconstruction of Dayfoot Street, including water and wastewater infrastructure required to service not only the developer's 577 unit residential subdivision, but all new development in the community.

Sorbara's Valleyview subdivision is spread over 60.05 hectares bound by Maple Avenue, and west of the 10th Sideroad, north of agricultural lands, and east of the South Simcoe Rail lands.

The Vaughan based development group, which is also building homes in the Treetops subdivision, has proposed several scenarios to advance development charges that would fix the value of the works to a set-upon number of units.

"The Town's current practice included in standard development agreements allows for the number of units the credits are recovered on to vary, depending on the DC annual indexing over time," according to Rayna Thompson, New Tecumseth Manager of Development Engineering, report to council. "Fixing the value of the works to a specified number of units does not allow the Town to realize additional DCs as a result of indexing over time. This would essentially increase the value of the credit and defer payment of future DC's to the Town which are much needed to fund the Town's DC capital program. It is acknowledged that this revised proposal includes a provision for a 5-year sunset date for fixing the DC credit to a per-unit rate, which will limit the impacts to the Town over the previous request. Inclusion of this revised front funding principal into the Dayfoot Street Reconstruction Development Agreement will continue to set a new precedent, and it is anticipated that other developers within the Town will want the same principal included in future Development Agreements, and possibly look to amend existing Agreements."

Sorbara also wants the Town to impose on non‚Äźparticipating benefitting owners "the obligation to execute the Front Funding Agreement for the Works within 30 days of issuance of the decision of Approval or execution of a Development Agreement" or forfeit the approval.

"Other land owners in town should not get a free ride," Catherine Pan, Sorbara's Development Manager, told councillors last night.

Ms. Pan said they recognize the Town's not in a position to draw $10 million from DCs to fund the project.

"We are keenly aware that this alternative would delay the work and put it on the shelf for an indefinite period of time," she said adding the "implications" of not moving forward also go beyond the development interest. "The physical condition of Dayfoot is in need of repair, it is unsafe. We've heard from the community that portions are unlit, with deep ditches, and it's not a place people would want their children walking around at night. Also a large part of this project is bringing the watermain down from Alliston to Tottenham and that is part of the Dayfoot work as well, and that's a very important part of this discussion especially for the community of Tottenham."

She reminded councillors that "development in Beeton cannot proceed without the upgrading of Dayfoot" and, "as time moves along the cost of Dayfoot works continue to escalate making it harder and harder for the Town or any other willing developer to jump in and front fund the work."

"By our estimates, and also in the staff report, that's over 1,000 residential units that cannot be built, that are at a standstill. If you work it out at today's DCs rates, That's in the order of $40 million worth of DC revenues that the Town does not realize or is foregoing."

Councillors directed staff to continue meeting with Sorbara and with the Hemson group working on the updated development charges background study to come up with a deal. Council's final meeting of the year is Dec. 11, and not again until Jan. 15, 2018.

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All stories, unless otherwise noted,
by Tony Veltri