One of the great things about places like Downtown Langley is that they serve as an incubator of small business, and permit the reuse of older buildings.
For example, a derelict fast-food restaurant along Fraser Highway was recently transformed into a new family-run restaurant.
|Former Arby's, now family-run restaurant along Fraser Highway|
Another example is a strip mall that was recently renovated.
|Recently renovated strip mall at 20226 Fraser Highway in Downtown Langley|
While I am happy to see buildings being reused for new purposes, and new businesses growing in my community, I’m not the biggest fan of the vibrant green paint that was used in both of the renovations pictured.
When a renovation triggers a development application or building permit, a city can require certain standards be met. For example, the City of Langley's Official Community Plan and Downtown Master Plan contain language around using “high quality exterior finishes” to “present an attractive appearance.” Other cities are more prescriptive.
The City of Vernon, where I grew up, requires “when making an application for development in the City Centre, the proponent must illustrate how the proposal addresses the design guidelines through architecture relative to its location.”
The City of Vernon has very detailed design guidelines for its downtown. For example, when it comes to colour “the use of colour will be encouraged. Historic practice has been to encourage earth tones in the City Centre. Colour must be thoughtfully introduced over time and complement surrounding colour choices.”
The design of buildings is important in any community. When creating a sense of place, the design of buildings should complement a well-designed public realm.
While the City of Langley can update its design guidelines for Downtown Langley in the future, even today, the Official Community Plan and Downtown Master Plan provide the framework for Council to ensure that new development and redevelopment contribute to creating a cohesively designed core.