By Trevor Busch
The Town of Taber has passed first reading of a new residential tax incentive bylaw designed to promote growth for the community.
Earlier this year, council had passed a motion directing administration to investigate, “possible grant, subsidies, and other incentives to encourage the building of multi-unit residential buildings in Taber.”
Communities around Alberta have taken various approaches to housing and affordability issues. After researching various types of grants and incentives available, Administration recommended a residential incentive that mirrors the Town’s Investment Incentive Bylaw for Commercial Properties.
“After researching many communities, we took a similar approach to many like Brooks and Fort Macleod, which have a similar four year program for residential, which also very closely mirrors our commercial incentive,” said Amy Allred, economic development manager, during town council’s Oct. 10 meeting.
Under the proposed bylaw, the tax incentive would apply to a given property for four years upon occupancy being granted. The first year following occupancy would be 100 per cent exemption on municipal taxes, the second year 75 per cent, 50 per cent in the third year, and 25 per cent in the fourth and final year.
The Residential Tax Incentive would apply to all new residential properties and/or the creation of legal secondary suites. The bylaw is meant to be modular in fashion, separating various types of housing so different types can be limited, as determined by Council at any time.
According to Administration, the bylaw allows for new single-family homes and new manufactured homes, “helping to increase housing in the community and as people move to the new homes, their past homes come on the market, creating more inventory.”
The second type of housing listed in the bylaw is secondary suites.
“In encouraging the community to create secondary suites on or in their properties, it opens more spaces for renters in the community,” stated Administration as background in the meeting agenda. “These suites would need to be legal suites and could include, but are not limited to, basement suites, carriage houses and detached suites.”
The bylaw also allows for multi-family and mixed-used developments. These include every type of multi-family including, but not limited to, duplexes, fourplexes, eightplexes, town/row houses, apartment style buildings or mixed-use developments that includes commercial space as well. This bylaw would only apply to the residential portion of mixed-use spaces; however, the commercial portion could qualify under the Investment Incentive Bylaw.
With the Investment Incentive Bylaw, Council allows for businesses that were under construction but not yet completed to receive the last three years of the incentive. Administration was proposing to offer the same to residential properties that would be started construction but have not been completed when the bylaw is passed.
“I think this is very attractive for our community, and to spearhead growth in the residential section, and I would be in favour,” said Coun. Joanne Sorensen.
Many communities around Alberta offer various types of tax exemptions or grant programs for all types of residential properties and secondary suites including Lethbridge, Brooks, Drumheller, Red Deer, Okotoks, Grand Prairie, Medicine Hat, Fort Macleod, Canmore and Calgary.
As for the financial implication for the community, Administration stated that it is, “Undeterminable at the moment, will depend on number of applications received and project value.”
Following discussion, Council voted unanimously to pass first reading of Residential Tax Incentive Bylaw 16-2023.