Friday, July 20, 2012

Township of Langley's Gateway - Carvoth Update

Back in January, Township of Langley staff presented an updated plan for the lands around the northern section of 200th Street in Langley called Carvolth. The original plan for the area was to make it business parks and light industry lands, but the introduction of the 202nd Street Transit Exchange allowed the Township to rethink the plan and make it more transit and pedestrian friendly. I was concerned that the recent funding challenges at TransLink -which leaves the 202nd Street Transit Exchange with no Bus Rapid Transit service- would dampen the Township’s plan, but I’m happy to report that the plan is on course and is better than ever.

The Township’s presented a planning concept for Carvoth based on an early “Transit Nodes” plan and went to open house with it in February.

January Carvolth Plan: Red = Mixed-use, Dark Blue = Office-Mixed-use, Brown = Higher-Density Residential, Purple = Light Industrial

Based on the feedback from the open house, the Township updated the plan which saw the following major changes:

Updated June 2012 Carvolth Plan: Red = Mixed-use, Dark Blue = Office-Mixed-use, Brown = Higher-Density Residential, Purple = Flex Employment, Gray = Gateway Commerial

Service Commercial (auto-oriented) use was removed from land around the 200th Street Interchange and replaced with a new Gateway Commercial use which will allow for hotels, offices, and retail uses (as long as retail buildings also contain 1.5 more office space than retail space). There are two polices in this zone that excite me. One is that development must be to a higher standard to created landmark projects. The other policy is the requirement to provide 1/3 of the total parking in either underground or structured facilities. Surface parking lots are one of the biggest barriers to creating walkable areas that can be serviced by transit. It’s great to see that the Township is taking the first steps to requiring structured parking in commercial areas and I hope this trend will continue in other parts of the Township.

Gateway Commercial: Preliminary design for a potential development featuring tall buildings with bold architecture from Berezan Management Ltd.

Light industrial use has been replaced with a new Flex Employment use which will allow:
-research and development labs
-warehousing and distribution
-light manufacture, assembly, repair, finishing and packaging of products
-commercial recreation, instruction and entertainment uses
-film production studios
-hospitals and medical clinics
-works yards
-small scale retail commercial uses to support and be incorporated with flex employment uses (not standalone)

The final change to the plan is the slight increase in the size and density of the Office-Mixed use designation.

The vision statement for Carvoth is to create “a transit hub and major employment node, Carvolth will be a liveable, sustainable urban place with high quality amenities and green infrastructure integrated into the community fabric.” This update to the plan helps the Township achieve this vision. Of course the missing piece to make this plan truly successful is the provisioning of transit service. Hopefully, the Province and the mayors will be able to get their acts together to fund transit in this region. The plan will go to open house again this fall.


OctaviusIII said...

Isn't this just more sprawl, though with a smart-growth finish? It's a) greenfield, b) freeway-centered, and c) doesn't have strong transit ties already. But perhaps I'm missing something.

Emlyn said...

Agree with above. This is just more sprawl type development on vital arable land. Bad news regardless of how "well planned" it is.

Nathan Pachal said...

East of 200th Street it is all transit-oriented development based around the bus loop which is good news. Also is is all first generation suburbs being redeveloped. No farmland. West of 200th maybe be the issue.

OctaviusIII said...

I'd much rather see focus on the 64th Ave corridor in cooperation with the City of Langley, creating infill near the Langley core.

This project doesn't have a strong street grid, doesn't connect well across the freeway to existing retail and residences, and doesn't really qualify as infill. Even the old sprawl east of 200th is so low-density it's hardly a problem.