Natalie Joly is a Councillor for the City of St. Albert. Thank you, St. Albert, for your support.

Taxation of Vacant Residential Lands Policy

It’s time to aggressively increase tax rates for owners of subdivided lots that have sat undeveloped for years.

In Erin Ridge, residents have been living next to these lots for almost a decade. Not only are they an eyesore, but they also cause issues with street cleanliness, weeds, pests, and likely the resale value of neighbouring properties. These are lots that could easily be resold to builders or families who would be thrilled to invest in this maturing neighbourhood. 

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When I met Da to discuss the direction of the city, I was already well-aware of these nuisance properties because I drove past them every day when I was living in Erin Ridge. Dan sees two of these undeveloped lots at the end of his street every day. His kids walk through the dirt that is brought into his otherwise fully-developped street by work vehicles driving on these lots. He and his neighbours are in frequent contact with Bylaw to manage these properties.

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I also knew that complaints dating back years eventually resulted in the Taxation of Vacant Residential Lands Policy; This policy was passed with good intentions, but has been ineffective at creating a sufficient incentive for owners of these vacant lots to sell or build. The current policy sets the tax rate for residential properties that have been undeveloped for 7 or more years at 1.25 X the General Municipal Residential Tax Rate. This applies to the land portion of the assessment, a penalty of only a few hundred dollars every year. 

As your councillor, I will advocate to have the Taxation of Vacant Residential Lands policy updated to create a significant incentive for owners to develop.

Dan, thank you for continuing to bring this issue forward. Your advocacy will not only drive the change for your neighbourhood, but will also give families a chance to move to a beautiful residential street.

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