Residents offered input on the Williams neighbourhood plan in 2016. (Langley Advance files)

UPDATED: Willoughby neighbourhood plan moves to public hearing

The Williams area plan includes a business district, homes, and an urban forest.

Debates over commercial space and grocery stores didn’t stop the last neighbourhood plan in Willoughby from moving ahead to the next step at Langley Township council Monday.

The council debated the Williams Neighbourhood Plan, last of the 10 local plans guiding development in the fast-growing area.

Located between 212th Street and 216th, and from the Trans Canada Highway in the north down to 76th Avenue in the south, Willliams is expected to house about 4,600 people eventually.

At issue Monday was the amount of commercial space planned in Williams. A commercial node is planned for the area around 216th Street and 80th Avenue, including a grocery store and some office space.

“The general consensus is the rug’s going to be pulled out from underneath us,” said Hugh Carter, a vice president with Qualico who has been involved in the development of the Willoughby Town Centre at 208th Street south of 80th Avenue.

Carter said adding up to 19 acres of commercial and retail property in Williams, including a potential 34,000 square foot grocery store, would damage retail sales for Willoughby Town Centre by 15 to 20 per cent.

But Township staff, asked about the impacts, said their independent consultants showed that Langley residents are actually under served when it comes to commercial space.

About four square feet of retail space per resident is considered the right amount, said Ramin Seifi, head of community development for the Township. Even with the commercial space in Williams built out, Langley as a whole would only have three square feet of retail.

With the new 216th Street interchange being built, the Williams commercial zone is to serve residents of Walnut Grove to the north, which a staff report said is also under served for commercial space.

Willoughby’s population is already well above 30,000, but there is just one grocery store within the neighbourhood. Walnut Grove, with 24,800 residents, has two grocery stores.

Councillor Kim Richter proposed delaying a vote on the neighbourhood plan, to hear more extensively from Qualico and from would-be developers planning for the Williams area.

But a majority on council felt that there will be opportunities to hear from everyone at the next phase.

“The appropriate place at this stage is the public hearing,” said Mayor Jack Froese.

The Williams neighbourhood’s commercial sector is part of an “employment district,” with up to 3,500 people working in light industrial, manufacturing, and warehouses.

The plans presented to council include a residential area to the south, between 80th and 76th Avenue.

In the residential area, density has been changed from the original Willoughby Community Plan from 1998.

Plans for six-storey condos have been removed, and the bulk of homes are proposed to be townhouses, single-family lots, and some duplexes.

Most of the northern segment is the employment district, with the exception of a “transition district” running north-south and buffering the commercial and industrial area from the nearby single-family homes and townhouses of the Yorkson neighbourhood to the west.

The transition zone is to start with single family homes, then townhouses, and greenways. To boost parking, there will be laneways for the houses along with “enhanced off-street parking requirements,” according to the staff report.

A new elementary school site is planned for the area around 78th Avenue and 214th Street.

On the southernmost end of the neighbourhood, parks and greenways are planned to preserve some of the extensive treed areas around 78th Avenue.

One of the major influences on the Williams neighbourhood is the 216th Street highway interchange, now under construction and planned to open in the fall of 2019.

The plan presented to council has some amendments from earlier drafts, based on public feedback collected in 2016.

Having approved the first and second reading of the bylaws, the next phase is the public hearing, which is likely to be scheduled for April 23, according to Township staff.

Just Posted

VIDEO: History of Langley pioneer Philip Jackman comes alive in new novel

Book by Virginia Cooke details the life of Jackman, a Royal Engineer and Reeve of Langley

Trinity Western University players help Canada to second medal ever at Pan Am Cup

With the medal, Canadian team also qualifies for the 2019 Pan American Games

VIDEO: Langley hospital history recovered

After 16 years in storage, LMH memorial plaques added to museum in time for 70th anniversary party

Aldergrove Fair Days gets ‘Down on the Farm’

Something for everyone at the 106th annual Aldergrove Fair

Controversial Langley condo development earns Advance reporter national accolades

Matthew Claxton’s coverage of the Murrayville House condo saga won a national award.

VIDEO: Visual recap of Vancouver Island MusicFest

Walk Off The Earth, Passenger, Arlo Guthrie among highlights

Trudeau’s youth council divided over Trans Mountain pipeline purchase

A letter signed by 16 past and present members was made public today, asking the federal government to reverse course

Hulk Hogan reinstated into wrestling Hall of Fame

Hogan had used racial slurs caught on video when talking about his daughter sleeping with a black man

Coco the cat survives horrific house fire wrapped in a blanket

Found in the laundry hours after Chilliwack firefighters douse blaze that destroyed five structures

‘Lava bomb’ through roof of tour boat injures 22 in Hawaii

“An explosion occurred near the shoreline hurling hot lava rocks towards the boat and injuring several passengers”

Aldergrove Youth Soccer registration underway

Kids from U11 to U18 need to register so that teams can be formed, games organized

B.C. teen meets Nicolas Cage

Filming mob movie in downtown Vernon, B.C.

Aldergrove ‘hoops’ boys raise cash

Successful fundraiser for the Aldergrove boys’ basketball team

Otter Co-op’s CEO top of the class

Jack Nicholson receives 2018 B.C. CEO Award in the Large Company category

Most Read