Moosomin council discussing residential development incentive

June 17, 2024, 8:24 am
Kevin Weedmark

ew apartments under construction Keller Developments is building two apartment buildings on South Front Street in Moosomin. The 24 apartme

The town of Moosomin has had a commercial development incentive in place since 2017, and there has been a boom in commercial development in town, but the town does not have a residential development incentive.
Town council is discussing a residential development incentive, and a policy was presented at Wednesday’s council meeting, but was tabled to the next meeting after councillors raised some questions about the proposal.
The incentive has been discussed around the council table since last summer as a way to encourage people to build more housing of all types, from single family homes to apartment buildings.
The question council is grappling with now is whether to offer the incentive as a break on servicing costs and taxes for the first three years, spreading the benefit over four years, or providing an incentive up front once a project has been completed and an occupancy permit has been issued, and start collecting servicing fees during construction and taxes in the first year.

Originally the plan was to offer the incentive as a combination of servicing and tax breaks, and federal funding was applied for on that basis.
The plan was amended to an upfront payment, and that is the policy that was presented Wednesday, but Councillor Ron Fisk questioned whether the plan could be changed from the original grant application without putting funding in jeopardy.

“I have concerns,” he said. “What we applied for was for servicing and property taxes. Now if we go and change it to a cash payment, I don’t think we would be in compliance.”

Economic Development Officer Casey McCormac worked on the proposal, but was away at an economic development conference last week, and council members decided to postpone a final decision until McCormac could be at a meeting to answer questions about the proposal.

McCormac said her discussions with federal officials have led her to believe the form of incentive can be adjusted.

“They don’t really care as long as it’s incentivizing people to build units. I have a meeting with them this week so I’ll see if I can get that in writing for council and go to the next council meeting.”

In addition to the incentive offered for new builds in the proposal there are several other initiatives to encourage housing development including:
• Creating an inventory of lots available for sale and promoting that there are lots available;

• Zoning changes to speed up the development approval process; and

• Developing a marketing plan to market the incentive and available lots.
If it is passed, council hopes to use the program to solve the housing crisis in Moosomin as well as build a tax base for future services.