While we have been critical of the City of Edmonton‘s handling of commercial & industrial property taxes, we applaud their handling of the proposed annexation area south of the city. We attended the open house hosted by the City of Edmonton last week and it’s clear a considerable amount of time has gone into the process. The City had representatives from all major departments in attendance to answer questions and provide detailed information on the proposed annexation.
As per the City of Edmonton:
“For the first time in over 30 years, Edmonton is seeking to extend its municipal boundary. The annexation will give Edmonton room to grow and remain a strong, central city, which helps the region compete in the global market and attract investments, businesses, jobs and a skilled workforce.”
While the original annexation proposal from 2013 included a large amount of the Nisku industrial park and agricultural land west of the airport, the City removed those two areas from proposal. While the agricultural land would only offer a minimal tax base, the Nisku industrial area would have removed a considerable amount of tax base from Leduc County, leaving them justifiably defiant. We commend the City for listening to the feedback from all the different stakeholders and ultimately reaching a Framework of Agreement for the current annexation proposal.
Here are a few highlights we took from the open house:
- Edmonton is predicting 567,000 new Edmontonians in the next 30 years;
- 305,000 new jobs in the next 30 years;
- The proposed annexation will include nearly 30,000 acres of land. This comprises almost 23,000 acres of mostly undeveloped land and nearly 7,000 acres for the airport;
- Landowners of annexed land will be taxed at the lower tax rate (between Leduc County and Edmonton) for the next 50 years*
So will the annexation include the Edmonton International Airport?
The short answer:
The airport is included in the proposed annexation but there won’t be a clear signal until the end of June.
The long answer:
From the Framework for Agreement signed by both municipalities:
“[The City of Edmonton and Leduc County] agree to work together to ensure that the Airport reaches its potential as a key economic driver and contributor to the region’s sustainability and success; the corollary being, to avoid constraining it. To that end, no new land use plans or rezoning of lands will be approved in the Airport shadow west of the Airport until joint planning for the Airport area has been completed. The first preparatory stage of this joint planning, to be completed by 30 June 2017 and to be undertaken by the City of Edmonton, Leduc County and the Edmonton International Airport, is to identify the servicing requirements of the Airport and the fiscal and financial impacts of different jurisdictional scenarios. The results of this work will guide whether or not the City of Edmonton ultimately includes the Airport in its final annexation application. The work is to be informed by the Aerotropolis concept and be based on the principle of ‘shared investment for shared benefit’.”
Our guess? The airport will be annexed. The annexation will include land between 41 ave and the airport so it makes sense why the City of Edmonton wants the airport included. They have already conceded on the portion of Nisku and the land to the west of the airport. It’s still up in the air (bad pun) but we think there’s a strong likelihood the airport gets annexed.
* Regarding the tax transition plan, there are a few conditions. Notably, it would be subject to a rezoning, subdivision, change of use, major development permit or the property gets connected to City water and / or services.
City of Edmonton