The Agricultural Land Commission has approved the exclusion of Tara Farms from the Agricultural Land Reserve.
In a May 4 decision, the ALC executive committee granted the request from Tara Ridge Estates Inc. to remove 19.7 of the 52.6-acre property at 21198 Smith Cres. from the ALR, with a number of conditions.
The land exclusion will allow for the new 212 Street Connector to be built on 4.5 acres, with the other 15.3 acres used for residential development.
The other 32.9 acres of the property will remain in the ALR.
Some of the conditions specified by the ALC include construction of a six-foot high chain-link fence to buffer the ALR portion of the property from the excluded area, and construction of a new road access to the ALR section.
The ALC also forbids pedestrian access on the south side of the 212 Street Connector, and forbids stormwater outfall to be directed to the ALR portion of the property.
Tara Farms has come under public scrutiny after the owner cleared nearly 18 acres of significant trees from the property in February, 2017.
At the time, the ALC was told the owner’s intent was to farm the property, but an exclusion application for the cleared land was submitted just months later.
Environmental groups Watchers of Langley Forests and the Yorkson Watershed Enhancement Society both presented delegations to Township council outlining their concerns about the property’s future, and submitted a “Save Tara Farms” petition.
In November, 2017, the Township announced plans to purchase 33 acres of forest on the property to preserve it as a passive park, pending approval of the exclusion application.