Thursday, June 13, 2013

Township Council approves TWU University District and 67 suburban houses in the ALR

On Monday night, Township of Langley Council approved the controversial Trinity Western University District which includes the Wall “equestrian community.”

Approved University District. Click image to enlarge.

The University District, as approved by Township Council, encompasses 375.6 acres of land of which about 70% is still within the Agricultural Land Reserve. The Township envisions, where permitted by the Agricultural Land Commission:

1. Residential uses within the context of a University District with links between the academic and residential areas for the mutual benefit of both areas and to reduce the need to travel to and from Trinity Western University, and

2. Commercial uses subject to identification of appropriate location and design guidelines in order to provide convenient day to day services for the existing and future academic and residential population.

For a community that prides itself on the protection of farmland, approving a new community that could be larger than Fort Langley, on land that is yet to be excluded from the Agricultural Land Reserve, seems to be at odds with that point of pride.

What will actually be allowed today is the development of 67 single-family houses on 13.5 acres of former farmland, and the development of 23.4 acres of land that is located to the west of the current Trinity Western University campus for university expansion. The first project that is likely to get build will be the 67 single-family houses as that land owner has been trying to build them for the last decade.

Preliminary site plan of Wall Financial Corporation 67 suburban houses within the ALR.

The 9.47 ha (23.4 acres) of land located at 7645 and 7679 Glover Road, and 22423 Labonte Avenue has been rezoned to Residential Institutional.

Last year, Metro Vancouver threatened to sue the Township of Langley as it believed the University District was against the Regional Growth Strategy and Livable Region Strategic Plan. It will be interesting to see what Metro Vancouver will do now that the Township has approved the University District.

I have to question if the University District will meet the Township’s sustainability objectives as it will be difficult to serve with transit and won’t likely be a complete, walkable community. I predict the University District will be an auto-oriented commuter community surrounded by farmland which is not how the Township should be developing.

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