This morning I was looking over the agenda for this afternoon’s Township of Langley council meeting and noticed a report about a 1997 Provincial Order-In-Council. At that time, the Township of Langley had by-laws that went against the Province’s Right-to-Farm legislation. As a results the Province removed the Township’s ability to exercise its zoning powers in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) without provincial approval, prohibited the Township from passing by-laws that restrict the operation of a farm business without the approval of the province, and required a review of the Township’s zoning regulations relating to farming areas to make it consistent with provincial standards.
The Township and the Province have been working since 2001 to make the Township’s by-laws consistent with provincial standards and have two items remaining that would lead to the final repeal of the Order-In-Council. The Township still needs to study the effects of some of the proposals agreed to in-principal with the province including the creation of one agricultural zone in the municipality. The other area of study is planning and development along the edge of the agricultural zone. The end-game for the Township is to get back powers which include the ability to process subdivision applications in the ALR.
Speaking about subdivision applications, there are two in the Salmon River Uploads area of the Township which would result in the creation of 14 lots of about an acre each for suburban housing in the ALR awaiting council's support this afternoon.
The Salmon River Uplands area was an established suburban area before the introduction of the ALR in the 1970’s. While a good chunk of land in the Salmon River Uplands area is outside of the ALR, there are still many parcels within the ALR. The Township’s 45-page Rural Plan has two sentences on the Salmon River Uplands area.
The Salmon River Uplands shall be maintained for rural residential and agricultural uses. A more detailed plan will be prepared setting out policies for future growth, subdivision and agriculture in this area.
From what I can tell there has been no detailed plans for the area and I can imagine that if/when such a plan is ever developed, it will be controversial. So in the meantime, Salmon River Uplands will remain a suburban community with laissez-faire planning and a slow creep of suburban single-family housing.