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Development Charge Incentives

Receive up to a 50% reduction in payable Regional Development Charges.

Niagara’s Development Charges Reduction Program provides a major financial incentive to encourage development and redevelopment in designated exemption areas and Brownfield sites in urban areas.


The Development Charges Reduction Program has two components that make it possible for eligible projects to receive up to a 50% refund of payable Regional Development Charges.

Niagara development projects that are:

  • located within a designated exemption area, or, Central Area
  • are located on a Brownfield site in urban areas

may be eligible for an exemption of up to 50% of applicable Regional Development Charges if the projects satisfy a pre-defined number of Niagara’s Smart Growth Design Criteria or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

Development Charges By-law

Development Charges Reduction Program

Incentive programs described above are subject to cancellation and/or modification at any time. Applicants should contact Niagara Economic Development and/or their local Niagara municipality to obtain the most up-to-date information on incentive programs.

Smart Growth Criteria

Niagara’s Smart Growth Design Criteria were created as a tool to help both public and private stakeholders make more sustainable development choices in an effort to create vibrant urban centres, sustain a strong economy, ensure a healthy environment and combat urban sprawl.

Detailed Smart Growth Design Criteria Checklists are available for five categories of development:

1. Residential Development (all types under five storeys): One or more buildings or structures that is primarily used for residential purposes and is under five storeys. Examples: a townhouse or group of townhouses, a single detached dwelling, an apartment building.

2. Main Street/ Commercial Corridor (under five storeys): Typically includes the main street of a downtown with commercial use(s) at ground level and residential above and is under five storeys. Streets that are predominantly commercial/ office space, are under five storeys and located within the Central Area as defined by Schedule D of this By-law also fall under this category.

Examples: St. Paul Street in St. Catharines, Victoria Avenue in Niagara Falls, Ontario Street in St. Catharines.

3. Commercial Development (under five storeys): Development that is predominantly a commercial use and is located outside the downtown. Examples: commercial development along St. Paul Avenue West in St. Catharines, Pine Street North commercial development in Thorold, commercial development within the East Waterfront area in Port Colborne.

4. Employment Land Development (under five storeys): Existing and emerging clusters of economic activity and development such as advanced manufacturing, warehousing, research and development, offices and associated retail and business support.

5. All development that is five or more storeys: Any development (commercial, residential etc) that is five or more storeys.

Save up to 50%

of development charges

Significant savings

for sustainable choices

Refund on municipal property taxes for up to 10 years

News & Media

$31 million in 2016 office sales / 302,888*

$73.1 million in 2016 retail sales / 1.022.619*

$466.7 million in 2016 hospitality sales / 535,688*

$118 million in 2016 vacant land sales / 671 acres*

$42.36 million in 2016 industrial sales / 1,305,592*

$608.2 million 2017 non-residential building construction

Statistics Canada, 2017

$512.2 million 2018 non-residential building construction

Statistics Canada, 2018

2nd most competitive centre for business in Ontario

Ken Scholtens

Manager, Business Development and Expedited Services

More About Ken Scholtens

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