Municipality enters agreement for possible new apartment units

© Can Stock Photo / Korionov

Efforts are being made to try and combat the lack of housing available in Chatham-Kent.

The municipality has entered into an agreement with a developer to address the issue.

According to an information report going to council Monday night, municipal officials first began discussions in the fall of 2019 with Robert Piroli, a private developer, regarding his desire to build a new multi-residential development.

In January, council received legal advice on an agreement between Piroli and the municipality, which set out all the commitments of both parties.

“The terms of the agreement commit both the developer and the municipality to work together to bring the project to fruition,” the report stated. “The commitments of both the developer and the municipality are contingent on various objectives, approvals and milestones being completed, including public consultation and approval on Planning Act matters.”

According to the report, the developer is committing to complete the construction of a multi-residential development within 24 months and the second building within 48 months, from the signed contract date of January 28, 2020. The combined buildings will include not less than 240 new rental units.

“The municipality has determined that there is a shortage of housing in Chatham-Kent. Currently, rental vacancies are at an all-time low. This has a direct impact on our residents. Feedback from employers is that attracting and retaining employees is hindered because potential employees wishing to move to Chatham-Kent cannot find suitable housing,” read the report. “Council, through the Chatham-Kent Growth Strategy, has identified the need to focus on increasing the population, number of jobs and the tax assessment.”

As part of Chatham-Kent’s commitment, the municipality will consider providing several incentives to the developer. These proposed incentives will be brought forward to council for consideration at a future council meeting through a new Community Improvement Plan. If the Community Improvement Plan is approved by council then these incentives will be provided to all developers constructing similar projects, subject to certain eligibility requirements.

“Practices from other communities to encourage housing growth have included offering tax relief and reducing the cost of municipal fees, permits and charges…During the meetings, [Piroli] advised of incentives he received from other communities and requested similar incentives for Chatham-Kent. Prior to these discussions with [Piroli], administration was aware of the development incentives being offered by other municipalities to support public sector investment and were investigating options for Chatham-Kent,” stated the report.

Any financial implications and planning approvals related to the development will be brought to council at a later time. The report did not state a proposed location for the apartment project.