Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Langley building suburbia in the ALR

Last year I wrote a report about the Agricultural Land Reserve in the South of Fraser. One of the things that I noted was that it wasn’t really block exclusions from private developers that were reducing the ALR, but death-by-1000-cuts non-farm-use application approvals. I was looking over the agenda for a Township of Langley council meeting and came across on of these applications.

Amend the Rural Plan and rezone 4.46 ha (11.02 acres) of
land located at 4386 – 216 Street and 21696 and 21846 –
44 Avenue to a new Comprehensive Development Zone
(CD-86) to permit development of twenty-one (21) single
family residential lots.
Last night, council was giving third-reading to a bylaw that would allow the construction of houses on about half-acre lots in the ALR. The proponent of this development tried to exclude this land from the ALR in 1993, 2003, and 2009. The Agricultural Land Commission at all points denied the exclusion request, but it 2009 allow the subdivision of some of the land to allow suburbia. What is tricky about this whole process is that instead of just removing these lots that will clearly never be used for farming again, the ALC is basically excluding the land in principal but not of paper which doesn’t seem right to me.

According to the staff report,
The development will also serve to provide a buffer between the urban area of Murrayville and abutting Agricultural Land Reserve lands to the south and provides for enhancing agricultural viability in the Township of Langley through contributions to the Langley Sustainable Agriculture Foundation (LASF).
While this may be the case, I remember a discussion about urban/rural interface at a planning convention four years ago and if it was really necessary. Of course one thing that really stuck out was a comment about why it was expected that land in the ALR should be the buffer and not the land outside the ALR.

I do not think that it is the intention of the ALC, Township staff or even council to destroy the viability of the ALR, but while this application on its own is small, when combined with all the other ALR exclusion and non-farm-use applications, it results in the slow and steady reduction of the ALR in Langley.

No comments: