A proposed townhouse development, planned for the right side of the street, might not fit in with the houses on the left side, Township council decided Monday. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

A proposed townhouse development, planned for the right side of the street, might not fit in with the houses on the left side, Township council decided Monday. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Townhouses a “square peg in a round hole” of existing Langley neighbourhood, council decides

Council is asking for a redesign of the planned development

Langley Township council asked a developer to consider revamping plans for a 19-unit townhouse project that drew criticism from nearby residents.

The site, in the 6800-block of the dead-end of 210th Street, is a triangular piece of land that borders the Agricultural Land Reserve to the southeast.

To the north and west, there are existing developments, many of them single-family homes and duplexes.

At a previous public hearing, council heard from neighbours that the project didn’t fit in with the existing area, and council agreed.

“It seems like, as the proverbial saying is, trying to put a square peg in a round hole,” said Councillor Blair Whitmarsh.

He said it would be more appropriate to have the houses look more like the ones on the far side of 208A Street, the nearest homes.

Several other councillors raised the same concern, suggesting that duplexes or fourplexes, perhaps limited to two stories instead of the three stories planned for townhouses, would be more appropriate.

“I actually think it should be single family, but maybe duplexes could work as well,” said Coun. Kim Richter.

After several councillors suggested single family homes were more appropriate, Seifi noted that the number of families could actually be higher with a smaller number of single family homes, than with townhouses. Detached houses can have basement suites in the Township, whereas townhouses can’t.

The other concern raised was how the development will interact with the ALR.

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“We’ve been careful with ALR buffers, and I for one am also concerned with how we’re going to do this,” said Coun. Steve Ferguson.

Ramin Seifi, the Township’s general manager of community development, noted that thinking has changed in the Township about creating buffers where the ALR meets housing.

In the past, for example in parts of Murrayville, the idea was to create lower-density housing along the edge of the boundary, Seifi said.

However, this didn’t always create a stable buffer between the homes and the ALR. The Township is now working towards creating more of an arbour ribbon, a buffer of trees around the ALR boundaries. A multi-family development with a strata council could oversee the buffer area, Seifi noted.

He also noted that the density for that site is already at the low end of what is mandated under current plans. As planned, the 19 townhouses would have a density of 16.6 units per acre, in an area that is mandated to have 16 to 22 units.

The nearby homes have a density ranging from 11 to 27 units per acre, Seifi said. He also noted that throughout Willoughby, the density that has been built has typically been lower than what was planned.

At Whitmarsh’s suggestion, council voted 7-2 to defer a vote on the project, sending it back to municipal staff and the developer to develop a plan for the site that fits better with the existing neighbourhood. Mayor Jack Froese and Coun. Bob Long were opposed.


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