Monday, September 24, 2018

Fraser Highway One-Way Designs Revealed. Your Feedback Requested.

As I posted about last week, the Fraser Highway One-Way is undergoing a significant renewal program. Because this section of street is in the heart of our downtown, extra attention is being paid to the public realm. Last weekend, and this Tuesday, there are open houses to gather feedback on people’s thoughts about two proposed options for Fraser Highway. You can also provide your feedback online until October 4th.

With public consultation in full-swing, information has been posted about the two proposed options for Fraser Highway between 204th Street and 206th Street.

Option 1: Angled parking on both sides with larger clusters of trees at key locations. Select image to enlarge.

Option 2: Angled parking on north side, parallel parking on south side, with continuous street tree corridor. Select image to enlarge.

The following table outlines the main differences between the two options.

 Option 1 Option 2
Traffic One-way with angle parking on both sides of street One-way from 204th Street. Two-way between 206th and east public parking lot. Angle parking on north side with parallel parking on south side.
Pedestrian Crossings Three crossings Four crossings
Sidewalk Width 2.7 meters wide sidewalks (similar to today) 4 meter sidewalks
Street Trees Cluster of large trees in key locations with ground level landscaping Linear corridor of columnar trees
Seating Areas Cluster of benches and public seating at key locations with limited opportunity for private patios Wider sidewalk areas allowing for benches and seating with more opportunity for small private patio spaces and goods display adjacent to building frontages

One thing to note is that both options have a similar number of parking spots. For more information on parking in Downtown Langley, please check out the July 10 council meeting notes.

I’m excited to see what people in our community will pick for the Fraser Highway One-Way renewal option. Pending budget approval, construction is slated to begin next year.

You can find our more information on the project at Langley City’s website. Please be sure to complete the online survey.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Election Update #4 - Improving Parks and Increasing Green Space

Some of Langley City’s greatest assets are our parks and greenspaces. In fact, the Nicomekl floodplain trail system was one of the deciding factors when I chose to settle here in our community over a decade ago.

Our parks were diamonds in the rough, and over the past several years on council, I’ve been proud to have supported reinvestment in our park systems. Our parks are starting to shine.

I will continue to support enhancing our parks, trails, and programming, along with improving infrastructure in the floodplain and Brydon Lagoon, to protect these ecologically sensitive areas.

It is important that we enhance our urban tree canopy, which is critical to ensuring a healthy community. I will continue to support moving forward with an urban forest study, and I look forward to supporting the implementation of its recommendations.

With your support, we can continue the positive momentum, bringing solutions forward for a better Langley.

If you are able to volunteer your time to help out on the campaign, or if you would like a lawn sign to show your support, if you haven’t already done so, please visit https://help.nathanpachal.com/.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

September 17, 2018 Council Meeting Notes: Redevelopment, tax breaks, and fee changes

When redevelopment started in the Nicomekl neighbourhood west of 200th Street, it was bumpy. I remember that folks from the Huntsfield Green townhouse complex packed the council chamber to express their concerns about redevelopment, and its impact on their quality of life.

People attending Monday night's council meeting. Select image to enlarge.

Council expressed that the development community needed to work closely with people who already live in the neighbourhood, and work towards mutually agreeable solutions. For the past several projects in the area, the folks at Huntsfield Green have expressed their support of the redevelopment projects in the area.

Some of the other concerns that come up is the negative externalities associated with construction including dust, noise, construction traffic, construction parking, and litter left by construction workers. While the City must continue to be vigilant, and council must continue to remind developer to work to reduce these externalities, things are improving.

At Monday night’s council meeting, a person who normally expresses concerns about redevelopment in the area during public hearings, commended the City and contractors for listening to his concerns.

One item that I wanted to clarify was about parking for new townhouses. There seems to be some confusion that some townhouses have less than two parking spots. All townhouses in Langley City since the 1980s have required 2 parking spots, plus shared visitor parking for a complex.

Two projects that received first and second reading at the August 23, 2018 council meeting had a public hearing on Monday night and subsequently received third reading. The projects were for a 41 unit, 3 storey townhouse development on 55A Avenue, and an 78 unit, 5 story apartment development on Brydon Crescent. You can see more information about these projects in a previous post.

Council also heard from the public on two land-use contract discharge applications for 4538 204 Street and 4945 205A. Land-use contracts were created in the 1970s and have since been superseded by zoning. Land-use contracts haven’t been used for close to 40 years, and at the request of owners, the City will terminate these contracts. By 2024, all land-use contracts will be discharge as per provincial law.

When a land-use contract is discharged in single-family areas, our single-family zoning becomes effective which allows secondary-suites. Two people expressed concerns about secondary-suites in general noting that they are become “mini-apartments”. At the meeting, City staff noted that owners must occupy a house if there is a secondary suite, and that only one suite is allowed. If something different is happening, staff instructed people to call the bylaw department.

Every year, council must renew permissive tax exemptions for certain properties in our community. Churches that own land are automatically exempt from paying property tax under BC law. Municipalities can also exempt other organizations from paying property tax. The current council has taken the approach to grandfather current organizations with select properties that currently receive permissive tax exemption, but will not approve new exemptions. Council gave first, second, and third reading to approve permissive tax exemptions for the following organizations:

  • Global School Society
  • Southgate Christians Fellowship
  • Langley Association for Community Living
  • Langley Care Society
  • Langley Hospice Society
  • Langley Seniors Resource Society
  • Langley Stepping Stones
  • Langley Community Music School
  • Langley Lawn Bowling
  • Langley Community Services
  • Gateway of Hope (Salvation Army)

In 2018, permissive exemptions reduced revenue received by the city by $200,520.

Council gave first, second, and third reading to update the fees for various services that the City provides. The following table outlines some select price changes for common services that residents use:

Fee Previous Proposed
Male / Female Dog ‐ Discounted $85 $90
Neutered / Spayed Dog ‐ Discounted $33 $35
City Park Picnic Shelters & BBQ (per hour) $8 $10
Nicomekl Community Garden Plot (Fee made consistent with other community garden plots) $15 $50

Council gave final reading to two housekeeping bylaws including updating our Chauffeur Permit and Regulation Bylaw, and Highway and Traffic Regulation Bylaw which updated the definition of a “heavy truck”.

Council approved transferring $1 million from our main reserve to a new Prosperity Fund to support the implementation of our new Nexus Community Vision. Council also approved sending our Deputy Fire Chief to the 37th Annual Metro Fire Planners Conference.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

September 17, 2018 Council Meeting Notes: Craft Brewery proposal moving forward. New Old Yale Road Seniors District starts consultation process.

Yesterday was a very full council agenda. It was also one of the last three meetings before the general election on October 20th. Over the next week, I will be posting about the items that were covered.

First, I wanted to highlight two significant proposals that were heard by council. The first was for a craft brewery that is purposed to be located in the Highland Mall (next to the Value Village on 56th Avenue.) A public hearing was held for both the rezoning to accommodate a microbrewery, and for a new manufacturer brewery lounge license application.

The council chamber was full of supporters of the project. The Downtown Langley Business Association noted that it would create a social gather places for people in our community, and encourage more evening activity in our downtown. The site is near transit and is within walking distance for many people that live in the downtown area. It is proposed to include a 20-seat patio and 80-seat tasting room which will include a small stage.

The project also received overwhelming support from council, and the rezoning bylaw was given third reading. For more information on the proposal, please read my post on the August 23rd council meeting.

Council also gave first and second reading to a bylaw to amend our Official Community Plan to create an “Old Yale Road Seniors District” as well as gave first and second reading to rezoning several properties in the area to support an integrated seniors housing project that is purposed to include 28 long-term care units, 169 assisted living units, and 95 seniors fully independent living units. This type of facility would allow people to age in place.

Rendering of proposed Old Yale Road Seniors District and seniors facility. Select image to enlarge.

Amending the Official Community Plan requires a higher-level of consultation not only with residents of Langley City but also with other governments and organizations such as: the Township of Langley, Agricultural Land Commission, Metro Vancouver, Kwantlen First Nation, the Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure, and TransLink.

Site plan for proposed seniors complex at 20964, 20974, 21016, 21024 Old Yale Road. Select plan to enlarge.

The proposed “Old Yale Road Seniors District” does not encroach onto the Agricultural Land Reserve or environmentally sensitive areas, but is adjacent, so extra care must be given.

Area within the bolded black lines are part of the proposed Old Yale Road Seniors District.

The public consultation process will likely extend past the mandate of the current city council.