A cluster of 82 townhouses proposed for Brookswood was turned down in a tie vote by Langley Township council over concerns about its appearance and worries about the lack of neighbourhood plans.
The project, at 3134 200th Street, was started several years ago, when the area was still under the 1987 official community plan (OCP), before that was given a major update in 2017.
“We have this OCP from 1987 governing from the political grave,” said Councillor Eric Woodward of the project.
The project was proposed more than two years ago. Some projects can sit for years after being initially proposed, with the land even being sold to a new developer in the meantime. Township staff did not know why this project had been delayed.
Several councillors, including Bob Long and Kim Richter, also worried about the attractiveness of the project from busy 200th Street.
“I’m not sure it even fits in with what we want Brookswood post-development to look like,” said Coun. Kim Richter.
She noted that the site has 366 significant trees on it currently and only 77 are to be retained.
“Now granted, that’s way better than some of the ratios we’re seeing up in Willoughby,” said Richter. “I’m concerned that we will take the ‘wood’ out of Brookswood.”
The removal of trees was one of the major concerns during the lengthy creation of the Brookswood OCP between 2014 and 2017.
Neighbourhood planning – more detailed plans for the four neighbourhoods of South Brookswood – is currently underway and are expected to come before council by next year, but this project won’t proceed under any detailed neighbourhood plans.
“Some of the townhouse designs we’re seeing from Willoughby are far superior to that,” Woodward said of the Brookswood project.
“I simply don’t support Brookswood development… until the neighbourhood planning is completed,” said Woodward.
Mayor Jack Froese noted that the development was proceeding under Township bylaws.
“It is not circumventing anything,” said Froese.
According to Township staff, the site was designated for similar densities under both the 1987 and the current OCPs.
The 2017 plan allows between 14 and 22 units per acre, and this project proposes 17 units per acre, said Ramin Seifi, the Township’s manager of community development.
Coun. Blair Whitmarsh said it was the right type of development for the area, but shared some concerns about the project’s appearance.
Ultimately, the eight members of council present Monday voted against the rezoning, with the project failing to move forward on a tie vote of four to four.
“I think it’s disappointing we can’t go to a public hearing for this,” said Froese.