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  #1  
Old Posted Mar 2, 2024, 4:05 PM
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Dmajackson Dmajackson is offline
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Vacant Lot Tax

There is a staff report going to Regional Council next week on the topic of implementing a vacant residential land tax rate of 1% in the urban core.

Establishment of Vacant Lot Tax Within Service Boundary
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  #2  
Old Posted Mar 2, 2024, 4:09 PM
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I would love to see that. The municipal tax structure shouldn't just be about raising revenue but also to encourage the type of development we want.
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Old Posted Mar 2, 2024, 8:47 PM
HarbingerDe HarbingerDe is offline
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Great to see some progress on this, though I imagine most owners sitting on the big unused lots (think Bloomfield) will happily eat a 1% value tax while their property continues to appreciate at an absurd pace well beyond that.

Might as well go all out with a 5% tax or something. The idea should be to effectively force owners to develop the lot immediately because we desperately need the units, or to get the hell out.
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Old Posted Mar 2, 2024, 9:48 PM
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This is a similar concept to a land value tax advocated by Henry George. Kudos to Halifax for being innovative like this.
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  #5  
Old Posted Mar 3, 2024, 1:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarbingerDe View Post
Great to see some progress on this, though I imagine most owners sitting on the big unused lots (think Bloomfield) will happily eat a 1% value tax while their property continues to appreciate at an absurd pace well beyond that.

Might as well go all out with a 5% tax or something. The idea should be to effectively force owners to develop the lot immediately because we desperately need the units, or to get the hell out.
Bloomfield has buildings on it. The lot is therefore not vacant.

This is simply another HRM tax grab.
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Old Posted Mar 3, 2024, 6:25 PM
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Why is the date on this from October 2023 and also March 2024? I'm confused
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Old Posted Mar 4, 2024, 2:02 AM
IanWatson IanWatson is offline
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As outlined in the report, a vacant lot tax is not possible without an amendment to the Charter.

And honestly, I don't really see the point. There's not a whole lot of land-squatting going on in this city. I'm sure the majority of people/developers with vacant land would love to build and cash in on sky-high rents - if they're not building, it's more than likely an issue with construction costs and labour availability.
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Old Posted Mar 4, 2024, 3:36 AM
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As outlined in the report, a vacant lot tax is not possible without an amendment to the Charter.

And honestly, I don't really see the point. There's not a whole lot of land-squatting going on in this city. I'm sure the majority of people/developers with vacant land would love to build and cash in on sky-high rents - if they're not building, it's more than likely an issue with construction costs and labour availability.
This was instigated by George Tsimiklis, a small-time developer who is indeed sitting on dozens of vacant lots scarring the length of Robie, Coburg and Young, and whose MO for the past several years seems to be acquiring and tearing down buildings and leaving the properties vacant indefinitely.
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Old Posted Mar 4, 2024, 4:26 AM
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This was instigated by George Tsimiklis, a small-time developer who is indeed sitting on dozens of vacant lots scarring the length of Robie, Coburg and Young, and whose MO for the past several years seems to be acquiring and tearing down buildings and leaving the properties vacant indefinitely.
Yes I've noticed them and have found it quite annoying.
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Old Posted Mar 4, 2024, 3:06 PM
GTG_78 GTG_78 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarbingerDe View Post
Great to see some progress on this, though I imagine most owners sitting on the big unused lots (think Bloomfield) will happily eat a 1% value tax while their property continues to appreciate at an absurd pace well beyond that.

Might as well go all out with a 5% tax or something. The idea should be to effectively force owners to develop the lot immediately because we desperately need the units, or to get the hell out.
Construction is at-capacity in HRM. Developers cannot conjure workers and materials and cranes out of thin air. Particularly at current borrowing rates.
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Old Posted Mar 4, 2024, 3:14 PM
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Construction is at-capacity in HRM. Developers cannot conjure workers and materials and cranes out of thin air. Particularly at current borrowing rates.
That's certainly possible but why is he tearing shit down so soon before finalizing any construction arrangements? People could be still living in those homes in the meantime. Unless he doesn't feel like land-lording and wants to save the money on property taxes since a house is valued much higher than an empty lot. But then perhaps a vacant lot tax can help counter that.
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Old Posted Mar 4, 2024, 3:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Nouvellecosse View Post
That's certainly possible but why is he tearing shit down so soon before finalizing any construction arrangements? People could be still living in those homes in the meantime. Unless he doesn't feel like land-lording and wants to save the money on property taxes since a house is valued much higher than an empty lot. But then perhaps a vacant lot tax can help counter that.
My point is that a vacant land tax cannot induce development on any meaningful scale in the current market.

The tax could - provided rates were high enough, i.e., much higher than 1% - dissuade someone from doing what Tsimiklis did in the first place. But it is a poor tool for increasing overall housing stock.

It is also apparent that the real purpose of the tax is to shore up municipal revenue.
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Old Posted Mar 4, 2024, 5:14 PM
Drybrain Drybrain is offline
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Originally Posted by GTG_78 View Post
My point is that a vacant land tax cannot induce development on any meaningful scale in the current market.

The tax could - provided rates were high enough, i.e., much higher than 1% - dissuade someone from doing what Tsimiklis did in the first place. But it is a poor tool for increasing overall housing stock.

It is also apparent that the real purpose of the tax is to shore up municipal revenue.
I don't think the purpose is to shore up municipal revenue--I don't think there are enough people doing the Tsimiklis thing to make that worthwhile. This was pretty clearly introduced by Mason after the hullabaloo about the Robie demolitions. It's definitely intended as a stick for property owners who would do that, not a cash cow, which it won't be.

Having said that I think you're right; it should be higher than one percent if it's really going to be effective.
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