Thursday, July 11, 2013

Township of Langley seeks approval for changes to regoinal land use

As I’ve said in the past, one of the good things about our region is that we have a regional government whose goal it is to protect green space, an Agricultural Land Commission whose goal it is to preserve farmland, and municipal governments whose goal it is to promote development. This creates a natural tension, but also is the reason why Metro Vancouver is one of the, if not the most, livable places in the world.

Speaking of tension, the Township of Langley wants to expand its urban containment boundary to allow development in former rural/agricultural areas. As part of the new Regional Growth Strategy, the Township of Langley must get approval from the Metro Vancouver Board (which is made up of elected municipal politicians) for any changes to the urban containment boundary or regional zones.

At the last Metro Vancouver Regional Planning and Agricultural Committee meeting on July 5th, the Township of Langley submitted a request to change regional zoning and its urban containment boundary. The Township has asked for land in northern Murrayville to be re-designated from "Agricultural" to "General Urban", and to move the urban containment boundary. The Agricultural Land Commission does not support this amendment, so this change is likely a no-go. The second similar amendment is for 4 acres of land in southern Murrayville to allow for the development of 21 single-family houses. This application is supported by the Agricultural Land Commission, but this change will need the approval of Metro Vancouver with a 2/3rds weighted vote by its Board.

Township of Langley's proposed changes to the urban containment boundary and regional land use designations. Click map to enlarge.

The final submission is to re-designate a section of land near the northwest corner of the Highway 1/200th Street interchange from mixed-employment to general urban. As this is a minor amendment, it will only need a simple weighed majority approval by the Metro Vancouver Board. The regional mixed-employment zone does nothing but support single-use office parks and is essentially a “sprawl zone”, so I hope Metro Vancouver approves this minor amendment.

While not included in this round of submissions, it will be interesting to see what happens when/if the Township submits a request to Metro Vancouver for approval of the Trinity Western University District.

It may seem to some people that having two organizations whose goal it is to preserve our rural areas is a bit much, but I’m certain that our region would end up sprawling like Calgary —dealing with out-of-control taxes and debt to pay for a large amount of municipal infrastructure that serves a low density of people— without the checks and balances we have in place.

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