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Off-site Levy

We’re enabling growth and development to build a great Calgary. That includes partnerships and funding tools that help pay for new infrastructure and services, like water and sanitary trunks, roads, libraries and fire halls in our existing and new communities.

For information about or to participate in engagement opportunities for the Off-site Levy Bylaw Review, visit the project engagement page.

About the Off-Site Levy

Strategic growth is how we plan to accommodate growth in our city. It helps us build complete communities for residents and maximizes the use of our financial resources. When growth happens, new infrastructure is needed to support communities, which creates extra costs for The City.

Calgary’s Off-site Levy helps pay for infrastructure that supports growth and development. The Municipal Government Act and the Off-site Levy Bylaw outline what infrastructure the levy pays for. The Off-site Levy supports:

  • Achieving City policies and strategies (Municipal Development Plan/Calgary Transportation Plan, etc.). 
  • Growth and development by having the right infrastructure in place at the right time. 
  • Residents having the choice to live in a complete community that meets their basic needs.
  • Achieving compact, sustainable and strategic growth through the targeted investment decisions within the Citywide Growth Strategies and business cases.

Developers pay for the costs of infrastructure within a new community or development site that they’re building. When a new community is built, it also has impacts on infrastructure that is outside of the community. This includes things like more pressure on a major road or our sewage treatment system. The City charges developers a levy that helps share the costs associated with these off-site impacts from growth. The Off-site Levy is one of several funding sources that contribute to covering these costs, others being property taxes and utility rates.

The capital infrastructure types included in the Off-site Levy Bylaw are:

  • Water distribution and wastewater collection infrastructure, drainage systems, and treatment plants.
  • Transportation (interchanges, structures over major geographic barriers, skeleton roads, transportation utility road connections, etc.).
  • Community or recreation infrastructure (transit, fire, police, recreational, and library facilities).

The Off-site Levy and Centre City Levy annual reports below provide information on levies collected and spent, along with any remaining balances available for future capital investment.

2023 Off-site Levy Bylaw review

The Off-site Levy is currently under review and is anticipated to be complete in 2023.

To ensure that the Off-site Levy Bylaw and charges are current, The City has historically reviewed them every five years. This helps us incorporate changes in infrastructure needs and costs, changes to legislation, or respond to changes in the economy or pace of development. The most recent bylaw was adopted in January 2016.

In 2020, we began a review of the off-site levy methodologies and inputs. Building on the 2016 Off-Site Levy Principles, with updates for our current context, we worked with partners to develop Principles for a new Off-Site Levy.

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They are:

  1. Sustainable and resilient
  2. Shared cost, shared benefit, shared risk
  3. Competitive
  4. Collaborative and consultative
  5. Transparent and accountable
  6. Aligned and compliant

The review will continue into 2023, with several opportunities to provide feedback on the proposed changes. Feedback will be considered and incorporated into the new Off-site Levy Bylaw where possible. 

More information about upcoming engagement opportunities will be shared here, and on the engagement portal page so please check back often.

Engagement documents:

Off-site Levy Bylaw review definitions

August 2021 – Industry meeting presentation – New strategic approach

September 2021 – Industry meeting presentation – Leviable land considerations

June 2022 – Industry meeting presentation, participant feedback

Water Working Group

Established Area Linear Levy Working Group

Community Services Working Group

Transportation Working Group

Centre City Levy

The Centre City Levy supports growth, quality of life and resiliency in the Centre City Plan Area. The levy consists of two components:

  1. The utility portion through the Centre City Levy Bylaw (Bylaw 38M2009).
  2. The voluntary community services portion under Council resolution (as per report LPT2010-03).

On Feb. 8, 2010, through report LPT2010-03 the Centre City Levy rates were adjusted to the current rates.

Levy funds may be used towards the following:

  • All or part of the capital costs of the construction, upgrading and replacement of water and sanitary sewer mains required for or impacted by a proposed subdivision or development in the Centre City Plan Area.
  • Community or recreation infrastructure (Transit, Fire, Police, recreational facilities, and library facilities).
  • Active transportation infrastructure (pedestrian overpasses and underpasses, bikeways, and sidewalks).
  • Upgrading local parks, regional pathways, and regional parks.
  • The 13 Avenue Greenway.

Levy rates

Rates are applied when development agreements or development permits (DP) are signed or approved. Rates are increased on January 1 each year.

Paying off-site levies

Developers pay off-site levies in two areas, the greenfield (newly developing communities) and Established Area (existing communities). To see the Established Area boundaries, please see Map 1: 2016 Map of Established Area and Greenfield Area (by Watershed) within the Off-site Levy Annual Report 2020.

Within the greenfield area, levies are typically administered through a Development Agreement , as a condition of Subdivision approval. These levies are paid over the course of 3 years, with the first payment due one year after the execution of the Development Agreement. The portion of levies paid is made as follows:

  • 1st payment = 30% of total levies owing
  • 2nd payment = 30% of total levies owing
  • 3rd payment = 40% of total levies owing

Within the Established Area, levies can be paid in two ways:

  1. Prior to the release of a development permit (DP).
  2. Prior to the release of a development completion permit (DCP). This option requires the landowner to enter into an off-site levy agreement prior to release of the DP.

An Off-site Levy Payment Form is provided after the DP is approved and needs to be completed and submitted with the applicable levy payment. It is generally preferred that Off-site Levy agreements are reserved for projects with large Off-site Levy balances owing, due to the additional time required to execute them.

Annual reports

Learn more about levies

Through the Municipal Government Act (MGA), The City can set an Off-site Levy Bylaw.

The bylaw was unanimously approved by City Council on Jan. 11, 2016 and amended on Dec. 31, 2019. The City conducted thorough partner consultation with members of the land development and home building industry to ensure a transparent and fair process in developing the new bylaw.

Levy updates

Some of the required infrastructure to support new communities was not included in the 2016 bylaw. The following amendments were necessary to ensure a funding source exists for the new infrastructure.

  • Nov. 12, 2018 - Council approved an amendment (Bylaw 41M2018) to incorporate the developer’s proportionate share of the cost of off-site transportation and utility infrastructure attributable to the new communities previously approved by Council.
  • Dec. 31, 2018 - The proposed amendments came into effect
  • Oct. 21, 2019 - Council approved an amendment to include the Community Services charges, as outlined in Schedule C to Bylaw 2M2016. This amendment was a legislative requirement from the City Charter.
  • Dec. 31, 2019 - The approved amendments came into effect.

If you are looking for a copy of the 2016 Off-site Levy background report, you can find it in the “Resources” section above. You can also find links to previous amendment reports that were presented to Council, the MGA and The City of Calgary Charter.

Links to web pages with more information about related City policies and growth strategies can be found in the “Related links” section above. 

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