Monday, July 2, 2012

The Row House in Langley

Proposed Fee Simple Row House near 68th Avenue and 208th Street in Langley

I remember a while ago that Vancouver planning types where lamenting the fact that there was a lack of row houses in their city. Row housing is important because it provides the density required to support a transit-friendly, walkable, and a generally livable environment. It also provides an opportunity for people to own a place of their own which is affordable and has a smaller environment footprint. Finally, the traditional street-facing row housing can provide a degree of convertibility to possible live/work spaces. It's really interesting because row housing has been around Metro Vancouver for a lot longer than most people think as the strata townhouse. It doesn’t really exist too much in the City of Vancouver, but a good chunk of development is strata townhouses in Surrey and Langley.

One of the things that I’ve been noticing lately in the Township of Langley is the development of fee-simply row housing. This is good news because it provides all the benefits of strata townhouses minus the drawbacks that come with strata living (fees and strata councils). To maintain a common design and good maintenance on row housings, a registration of party wall and common element maintenance agreement is attach to lots that are connected. Visitor parking easements are also secured to ensure adequate parking. One interesting thing that came up in Langley council recently was fee simply row housing owners trying to remove visitor parking easements. The irony is that these are the same people that complain about the lack of parking in their neighbourhoods. Of course if Willoughby actually had public transit (which is can support today accord to creditable research), it would become one of more sustainability parts of our region and parking would become less of an issue.

I know that City of Vancouver types always think that they are the centre of all things good with the world of urban living, but Langley is leading the region in providing a housing style that supports the livable region while providing the benefit of owning your own place. I hope we see more fee simple row housing in the future all over Metro Vancouver.

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