Confusion is brewing over Winnipeg’s impact fee refunds

By | July 24, 2020

WINNIPEG — A judge may have to sort out a snag in some impact fee refund cases.

Last week, Mayor Brian Bowman said he won’t back an appeal by the city, following a court decision that struck down the fee and ordered refunds.

But, before those potential refunds can happen, home builders say they need a judge to clear the air on who gets the money in certain scenarios.

The Manitoba Home Builders’ Association said most cases are cut and dry and stipulate the fee but there may be instances where contracts between the builder and homeowner do not specify a fee was paid.

“We’re looking for some clarity in terms of who that fee will be refunded to in the first place, then where it will end up,” said Lanny McInness, president and CEO of the association.

McInness said the association wants to make sure if refunds do happen, there is no need for anyone involved to go back to court.

“We try and avoid situations where a homeowner and a builder would have to seek a legal interpretation of that or get taken down the legal route.”

The fee was charged on more than 3,200 permits for a total of more than $32 million as of the end of March.

In terms of what steps are next, both the city and industry have to agree on an order of how to implement the court decision and then bring that back to the judge.

Once that happens the 30-day appeal window will open and if there is no appeal, then the refunds will likely become a reality.

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