Langley City has approved a moratorium on development south of 50th Avenue.
The first multi-family development application in an area of detached houses, the Leone Homes Inc. application triggered a flood of responses expressing concerns that included the impact of increased density on the area, as well as potential traffic and parking issues.
Councillor Nathan Pachal won unanimous support of council for the moratorium at the April 4 meeting.
Because the rowhouse is the first “attached ground-oriented housing project in a traditionally detached housing area,” the City needs to make sure it integrates into the existing neighbourhood before any other projects proceed, Pachal told council.
All development south of 50th Avenue is, effectively, on hold until traffic and parking studies are carried out in the area bounded by 208th Street in the west and Newlands Drive in the East; traffic mitigating measures have been determined; the survey of residents is carried out; and staff have developed a best-practice document for “ground-oriented residential projects along the 200th and 208th Street corridors, incorporating feedback from residents in the area bounded by 208th Street to the west and Newlands Drive to the north.”
Coun. Gayle Martin expanded a Pachal proposal to survey some residents to include the entire area.
In response to a question by Coun. Rudy Storteboom, Pachal said the moratorium would not technically prevent developers from applying to build.
“It sends a signal to any applicant that if they put something forward right now, there’s as good chance council will vote it down,”Pachal said.
“They’re legally allowed to, but this sends them a strong signal.”
In his online blog, Pachal estimated the proposed project generated “considerable feedback.”
His written presentation to council noted the six-unit rowhouse proposal, “combined with an influx of “For Sale” signs north of this proposed project, has caused alarm…”
Coun. Storteboom called the moratorium “timely.”
In hindsight I think it might have been something we should have looked at a couple of months ago,” Storteboom remarked.
“I think we’ve touched on a nerve here in the community,” he commented, saying the response to the project shows people are “very fiercely protective” of their community’s character.
While preliminary approval was given to a rezoning bylaw earlier in the evening that would allow construction of the rowhouse development, Pachal noted the project will still have to complete “various technical tasks, including a traffic impact analysis before the project can be considered for final reading to adopt the rezoning bylaw.”
Councillors Storteboom and Rosemary Wallace voted against giving the bylaw third reading.
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