At the meeting on Tuesday, Niki Dwyer, Director of Development Services, presented her report on the town’s efforts to create affordable housing. She listed the new 20 unit rent-geared-to-income apartment building being constructed by Lanark County at 7 Arthur Street as one such initiative. It’s expected to be ready for occupancy in July of this year. She also reviewed council’s recent decision to waive development fees for creating new apartments in existing detached homes, medium to high-rise buildings, and additional secondary dwellings in new low and medium density residential buildings. As well, council amended their development permit bylaw earlier this year to allow for the creation of up to 2 secondary dwelling units on a single lot with a primary residence, provided ample space is available.
Her report also included recommendations to improve the wording of the town’s official plan in order to achieve a target of 25% of future construction being affordable units. Another recommendation on the table is the creation of community improvement plans (CIPs). CIPs as Dwyer put it, would be an opportunity for council to put its money where its mouth is by providing targeted exemptions for planning and building fees, providing grants to cover the cost of studies and reports related to development. It would also possibly include selling or leasing municipal property below fair market value and issuing a tax incentive program to offset the cost of increased assessment post-development and providing grants for improvements or renovations to properties and reducing the requirement for cash-in-lieu dedications. Dwyer’s department is currently seeking public input on CIPs and anyone interested can find details on the town’s website at carletonplace.ca.
Lanark County council is currently holding a series of meetings on affordable housing and homelessness and Carleton Place council is involved in that process through their county council members; the mayor and deputy-mayor.
The committee voted to accept Dwyer’s report as information with further discussions anticipated.