MVE developer seeks a tax break from the City

By David F. Rooney

Gareth Jones, the man who purchased Mountain View School with an eye to converting it into a high-class distillery, with a medical clinic and, on the top floor, an apartment is asking City Council for a tax break.

“A careful balance will be required in order to retain the heritage character of the building yet undertake a flexible range of interior demising and finishing, life safety requirements and exterior remediation changes to address the removal of the additions,” he wrote in a September 27 letter to Mayor McKee and members of Council. These are all costs that I, as the future owner of the building, will incur to enable the adaptive reuse of this heritage building.

All work undertaken on the exterior will respect the designation of the building, and will conform to Parks Canada’s Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada.”

Council considers Jones’ request on Tuesday, October 25, at 3 pm.

In a report to Council, Development Services Manager Dean Stratton said the property is, because it belongs to the School District, currently exempt from taxation.

“However with the transfer of ownership and development as a mixed use property commercial and residential taxes would begin to apply,” he said in his report. “The applicant is seeking relief from the taxation under the HRA in recognition of the contribution they are making to the Heritage in the community by investing in the preservation, restoration and repurposing of the Mountain View School building.

“Further they have requested that for the five years after taxes be incrementally implemented (i.e., 20% per year until reaching full taxation. As the building requires extensive internal modification for each of the three uses and a number of years are involved it is difficult to determine the amount of taxation Council would be forgoing each of the years.

“Under the HRA (Heritage Revitalization Agreement ) these types of exemptions can be applied, however, legal review as a part of the HRA development would be required.”

It will be very interesting to see how Council handles this issue when it comes before them on Tuesday, October 25, at 3 pm.

Under the HRA the permitted uses for the site are:

i. Apartment Buildings
ii. Craft Distillery

    iii. Microbrewery

    iv.Liquor Primary Establishment

  1. Health Service Centres and Clinics
  2. Business and Professional Offices

    vii. Cafes and Restaurants

    viii. Schools and Associated playgrounds

  1. Community Care Facilities
  2. Churches, associated assembly halls and associated residential use
  3. Day Care Facilities

    xii. Public Assembly and Entertainment uses

  1. Fifteen vehicle parking stalls.
  2. Bicycle parking.
  3. Drop off / pick up location on Third Street.
  4. Modification to the exterior of the building as outlined in the applicants letter dated September 22, 2016.
  5. Tax exemption for five years ending in 2021.
  6. Graduated taxation implementation beginning in 2022 ending at 100% in 2026.
  7. Relief of water servicing cost of approximately $18,000 in value.
  8. Include site plan as show as Figure 4.
  9. Will only apply to Parcel A, Plan 636.