The purpose of the Community Amenity Contribution and Inclusionary Housing Policy ("CAC Policy") is to provide guidance to Council, Staff, developers/applicants, and the public in the collection of voluntary in-kind and cash-in-lieu contributions towards public benefit amenities and inclusionary housing and to establish a transparent, efficient, balanced and predictable process by which the District can receive these amenities from development.
The CAC Policy offers a process to obtain public benefit amenities equitably across the District of Saanich and directs opportunities, where feasible, to secure inclusionary housing through the rezoning process.
The District of Saanich approved the Community Amenity Contribution and Inclusionary Housing Policy on July 17, 2023. The final CAC Policy and supporting documents are available via the links, below:
- Community Amenity Contribution & Inclusionary Housing Policy [PDF - 2 MB]
- Framework for Implementing and Negotiating CACs [Appendix A] [PDF - 2 MB]
- Community Amenity Project Reference List [Appendix B] [PDF - 86 KB]
The CAC Policy extends exemptions from Community Amenity Contributions to all Purpose-Built Rental Units that are secured for a period of 50 years, or the life of the building.
Links to view the Committee of the Whole meeting and access the Staff Report and presentations are provided, below:
Date of Policy Effect
The date of effect for the adopted Community Amenity Contribution and Inclusionary Housing Policy is October 1, 2023. All new applications received prior to this date will remain subject to the Interim Community Amenity Contribution Policy. Applications received on or following the date of effect (October 1, 2023) will be subject to the new CAC Policy.
Goals and Principles
The goals of the CAC Policy are to:
- Create a framework for negotiating Community Amenity Contributions that enables an efficient and predictable process by which the District of Saanich receives public benefit amenities including inclusionary housing (i.e., affordable and supportive housing).
- Ensure that the process for obtaining CACs is clear and transparent.
- Encourage new development to make contributions towards public benefit amenities, including affordable and supportive housing, to support new residents.
- Maintain a healthy community, through Community Amenity Contributions, Inclusionary Housing, and Density Bonusing, to ensure District of Saanich residents have access to amenities within a livable and complete community.
- Encourage the development of new housing that expands options for housing affordability and accessibility.
- Strengthen the relationships between the District of Saanich, the public, housing providers, and the development community.
The CAC Policy is guided by a set of four principles, which are as follows:
- Transparency: Inform Council, Staff, the development community, and the public about how community amenity contributions are collected and distributed.
- Efficiency: Offer an efficient process for negotiating community amenity contributions to reduce both time and cost for the District and applicants.
- Balance: Ensure a balanced approach to negotiating the community amenity, the geographic area, and inclusionary housing that is beneficial, reasonable, and feasible.
- Predictability: Provide a process that is consistent in its negotiation for amenities, use of definitions, collection of in-kind and cash in-lieu contributions, and process for receiving community amenities and inclusionary housing.
The process to develop the proposed CAC Policy involved extensive consultation with community representatives, housing providers, and the development community in the District of Saanich and across the Greater Victoria area, as well as undertaking a financial and economic analysis. The detailed financial and economic analysis assessed 35 different test sites throughout the District of Saanich, including centres, corridors, villages, and neighbourhoods. Included in the analysis was a series of development pro formas for each test site, to understand whether it was financially viable for potential developments to contribute CACs.
The final Engagement Summary for the development of the CAC Program is provided in the link, below:
Saanich Council adopted an Interim CAC Policy on August 9th, 2021, to provide guidance on CAC negotiations (see details and links to the Interim CAC Policy, below). In November 2021, Saanich retained Urban Systems to lead the development of a comprehensive CAC and Inclusionary Housing Program, in partnership with Staff.
Population growth and new developments create additional demand for amenities and services. To maintain a healthy community, it is imperative that amenities grow proportionally to the number of residents. As rezoning applications often result in higher development densities, the demand for District services, including public benefit amenities, increases as new residents move into an area.
The process of negotiating Community Amenity Contributions (CACs) is a tool employed by many local governments to obtain public benefit amenities, including inclusionary housing. Broadly defined, CACs are a public benefit amenity voluntarily provided through a rezoning process that seek to provide direct benefit to residents in a community. These amenities can take several forms including, but not limited to, inclusionary housing (i.e., secured affordable and supportive housing), parks and publicly accessible open spaces, childcare facilities, community facilities, public art, and cultural spaces. There are two classifications of CACs that can be negotiated, which are cash-in-lieu contributions and in-kind contributions (i.e., on-site amenities). CACs are entirely voluntary insofar as a development could be undertaken under the as-of-right zoning conditions without such a contribution.
The Official Community Plan (OCP) accounts for anticipated growth in the District of Saanich with the majority being focused in the Primary Growth Areas of Centres, Corridors and Villages. The anticipated growth will increase the demand for a range of new and upgraded public amenities. Some of these amenities and facilities are addressed by the District of Saanich’s Development Cost Charge (DCC) program and others are typically achieved through receiving voluntary Community Amenity Contributions (CACs) as part of the rezoning application review process. As new growth is experienced, there will be a commensurate need for public amenities to create complete communities. Additionally, the provision of more affordable and supportive housing is a priority for Council, with community needs identified in the Housing Needs Report and guided through priority actions in the Housing Strategy.
Inclusionary Housing Elements
The CAC Policy provides a variety of approaches to achieve housing that could be considered affordable to different households. It is important to note that housing units suitable to low or very low incomes will not be directly created through market housing projects subject to this Policy. The CAC Policy contributes to affordable housing in three important ways:
- The provision of “inclusionary housing units” targeted to moderate to median household incomes in large projects.
- Contributions to the Saanich Affordable Housing Fund through the target rate / density bonusing approach that support the creation of housing units on other sites that are targeted to very low- or low-income households.
- Providing full CAC exemptions for not-for-profit rental and affordable ownership housing units.
The Community Amenity Contribution and Inclusionary Housing Policy was developed over five phases, as shown in the timeline below, and adopted by Council on July 17, 2023.
On August 9, 2021, Council adopted an Interim Community Amenity Contribution Policy that provides guidance for community amenity contribution negotiations while the more comprehensive program is being developed. The policy informs negotiations through identifying the process, priorities, target contribution rates and exemptions.
Staff requested clarification from Council on the Interim CAC Policy at the June 6 and June 20, 2022, Committee of the Whole Meetings. At the later meeting, Council moved to amend the Interim CAC Policy to provide clarification on the extent of targeted CAC exemptions [refer to Section 6.4: (iii) and (iv)].
Specifically, the amended Interim CAC Policy [PDF - 337 KB] provides clarity that the targeted CAC exemptions will apply to developments, or portions of developments, that are within the OCP height maximum and the Uptown-Douglas Plan “base” building height.
Effect of Interim CAC Policy
The Interim CAC Policy will apply to all development applications received following the adoption of the Interim Policy, and up until October 1, 2023, the date of effect for the Community Amenity Contribution and Inclusionary Housing Policy (as adopted on July 17, 2023).