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Montreal commits to reducing construction permit issuance times

Photo: Valérian Mazataud Le Devoir The administration of Mayor Valérie Plante sets a target of 120 days for residential projects considered “by right”.

Jeanne Corriveau

Published at 12:00 p.m.

  • Montreal

While Montreal is plunged into a serious housing crisis, Valérie Plante's administration promises to reduce the deadlines for issuing building permits in the metropolis to 120 days.

The methods and criteria applied by the 19 districts which issue construction permits will also be standardized. The 4-month deadline will apply to residential projects considered “as of right”.

In order to accelerate the construction of social and community housing, the City will also provide $3 million in aid to NPOs to help them start their projects. They do not have the same financial capacities as the private sector to carry out several projects at the same time, underlined Valérie Plante during a press conference on Tuesday.

The two measures announced Tuesday follow the tabling of the report of a committee made up of developers and representatives of organizations working in the housing field set up in June 2022 to explore new strategies to accelerate the construction of housing affordable.

Two years later, the report proposed a series of measures including the establishment of an “administrative standard” for issuing permits and the harmonization of practices in the districts, elements which irritate developers.

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Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the deadlines for issuing permits for new constructions have lengthened to the point that in Ville-Marie, for example, a developer must wait on average until 18 months to obtain the green light from the City, reported La PresseTuesday. And in Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, they must be even more patient since the procedure can take more than 20 months.

120,000 new housing over 10 years

The solution inevitably involves an increase in the number of housing units of all types, whether from the private sector or the community sector, concludes the committee.

Given the catching up to be made, the authors of the report estimate that by 2050, Montreal will have to have 20% social, affordable and cooperative housing. Currently, these off-market housing units represent 7% of the real estate market. According to committee members, it would be possible to increase this share to 8% in 3 years, then to 12% in 10 years.

“To tackle the shortage and meet future demand, we estimate that 120,000 housing units must be built in 10 years in Montreal,” notes the report.

The committee also suggests increasing densities through the future Urban Planning and Mobility Plan (PUM).

Among other measures recommended, the committee discusses the use of new powers granted to cities in the new housing law adopted in February (also known as “bill 31”), so that exceptional projects can be authorized more quickly. We also mention the use of incentive zoning and the creation of financial or tax incentives for all types of housing,

The committee was made up of developers, including Roger Plamondon, outgoing president of the Broccolini real estate group, as well as representatives of social economy businesses or organizations, such as Édith Cyr, general director of Bâtir son district, Christian Yaccarini, president of the Société de développement Angus, and Nancy Shoiry, general director of the Société d'habitation et de développement de Montréal (SHDM). He was to propose “innovative concepts” to be implemented to help the City achieve its goal of building 60,000 affordable housing units within ten years.

Further details will follow.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116