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The Development Agreements audit was performed to assess management controls over tracking of and compliance with special improvements agreed to for zoning variances/bonuses. Development Agreements provide the City a means to ensure that large developments meet public needs through comprehensive infrastructure and public amenity planning. When a developer seeks additional height, larger floor area ratios or greater density than current zoning regulations allow, the City can require an added public benefit, such as public art or infrastructure improvements.
The audit found that management controls for monitoring compliance with agreement requirements can be improved. The Planning and Development Services department does not have formal procedures to track development agreement stipulations and written guidance is not available. Three of the eight recent development agreements reviewed by auditors had requirements that were not enforced or lacked documentation. Written policies and procedures could ensure more uniform administration of development agreements. As well, the department should work with the City Treasurer’s office to establish and maintain a record of development agreement receivables or other financial impact to the City.
Additionally, the audit found that development agreement-related records were not specifically identified in the department’s records inventory and user access to the Community Development System was granted on a case-by-case basis rather than by role or function.