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2016 operating and capital budgets - planning Oakville

Feb. 17, 2016
By Leah Wong

In 2016 the Town of Oakville’s planning services department will rely more on the tax levy than previous years as a result of changes to the fee structure and an expectation that there will be a lower volume of planning applications.

Council has approved the planning services department’s 2016 request for a $6.715-million gross operating budget and an associated staff complement of 31 fulltime equivalents.

The department’s gross expenditures decreased by $135,000 due to reduced internal charges. However, the department anticipates a $1.7-million decrease in revenues because of its revised fee structure and anticipated lower volumes of development application. Its projected $1.842-million net operating budget represents a 26.2 per cent increase over last year.

In 2015 staff completed an in-depth costing review, which resulted in planning fees being reduced to better reflect costs. The fee change and projections of lower volumes of application are expected to result in a $1.7-million decrease in revenues. To minimize the impact on the overall tax levy, council approved funding from the planning stabilization reserve to meet cost recovery ratios.

The department is organized around four areas-administration, urban design, current planning and heritage, and policy planning. The department allocates $518,500 of its gross operating budget to the administration unit, which sets the department’s overall planning philosophy and professional approach and coordinates budget requests.

The urban design team has a $1.035-million gross operating budget for 2016. Its workplan includes completing the site design and development standards for the Liveable by Design manual, continuing the sign by-law review and contributing to the downtown streetscape and transportation study.

The current planning and heritage team is responsible for $4.144-million of the gross budget. Its priorities include implementing the cultural heritage landscape strategy, updating the Old Oakville Heritage Conservation District Plan and completing a review of the site plan process.

The policy planning team has a $1.016-million gross operating budget. Its priorities for 2016 include the Merton planning study, five-year statutory official plan review, Kerr Street facade improvement program and midtown implementation strategy.

Council also approved the department’s 2016 to 2018 capital budget, which is worth $1.4-million. The capital budget funds the five-year review of the town’s official plan and the projects and studies required to support that review, including a zoning bylaw review, urban design guidelines, official plan provincial conformity review and heritage planning studies.