UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Development cost levies : an analysis of park levies on commercial floorspace (in the city of Vancouver) Tully, Barbara


The use of Development Cost Levies is a relatively new mechanism by which municipalities may charge development a share of costly new infrastructure. Their use is an improvement upon the previous ad-hoc system of land use contracts. The equity of Development Cost Levies is widely disputed, but this thesis finds that their use is fair and justifiable when judged in the context of the unprecedented growth of the Lower Mainland. The paper finds that Development Cost Levies are generally passed back to the landowners, unless the market is inelastic, in which case they are passed forward to the purchaser. The thesis specifically examines Development Cost Levies for parkland acquisition in mixed-use neighbourhoods. Park acquisition levies in mixed-use neighbourhoods are currently charged only to residential development in B.C. municipalities. This thesis examines whether the usage of parks by employees warrants commercial development paying a share of the parkland acquisition levies in mixed use neighbourhoods. In order to determine if commercial development should pay a portion of the cost of park acquisition, a park survey was conducted in an existing mixed-use area to determine employee usage of parkspace. A literature search revealed no other park surveys which examined employee and resident usage of parkspace in mixed-use neighbourhoods. The survey found that employees generated 83% of the usage of parkspace in two mixed-use area neighbourhood parks. The findings of the survey indicate that commercial development should be paying a proportional share of development cost charges for parkland acquisition in mixed-use neighbourhoods. This information was then applied to a recently upzoned area of the City of Vancouver to illustrate a sample calculation of Development Cost Levies.

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