Monday, July 8, 2013

Township of Langley's Official Community Plan and Public Hearing

As I posted about in May, the Township of Langley is updating its Official Community Plan (OCP) in order to: incorporate the Township’s Sustainability Charter “to build a legacy for future generations by leading and committing the community to a lifestyle that is socially, culturally, economically, and environmentally balanced”, and to incorporate regional context statements that explain how the OCP is aligned and compliant with the objectives of Metro Vancouver’s Regional Growth Strategy. This must be completed by July 29th as required under the Local Government Act.

Tonight, the Township will be holding a public hearing on the proposed updated OCP.

As part of the process of updating the OCP, the Township solicited and received comments from other governments and agencies. The Township has incorporated the University District and changes in land-use designations in Aldergrove; both of which propose to remove land from the Agricultural Land Reserve for urban development.

Township of Langley proposed land-use map. Click map to enlarge.

The Agricultural Land Commission has allowed for a housing development on the Wall Financial Corporation land within the ALR south of Trinity Western University (TWU), and the exclusion of land that fronts Glover Road from the ALR for TWU expansion. For the remainder of the proposed University District, the Agricultural Land Commission wrote that:

The Commission has previously advised that it consider that the proposal to extend the Urban Contain Boundary [UCB] and General Urban designation over the entire area proposed as a "University district" conflicts with the requirement for consistency with the Agriculture Land Commission Act, the regulation and the orders of the Commission. The Commission therefore endorses the extension of the UCB and General Urban designation within the Special Study area only to those parcels of land directly fronting the northwest side of Glover Road.

When it comes to the proposed expansion of Aldergrove's urban footprint which is in Metro Vancouver’s Regional Growth Strategy and the Township’s proposed OCP, the Commission said that the Township could designate the areas as urban within the OCP, but the designation will not change the fact that the Agricultural Land Commission still has the final say on land-use, as the land is still within the ALR.

The Township of Langley designated a section of 8th Avenue between 264th Street and Abbotsford as an arterial road and truck route in the proposed OCP. The Agricultural Land Commission noted that it may not allow the widening of this road.

Metro Vancouver also commented on the proposed OCP. One of the general themes seemed to be to requesting that the Township provide more details on how its OCP will align with the Regional Growth Strategy. Metro Vancouver also noted that the Township’s proposed land-uses do not align with the current Regional Growth Strategy. Metro Vancouver noted that any land-uses that do not align with the current Regional Growth Strategy will need the approval of the Metro Vancouver board.

After the public hearing tonight, Township council will likely approve the third reading of the proposed OCP. The OCP will then be forward to Metro Vancouver for possible approval.

As both Metro Vancouver and the Agricultural Land Commission have some concerns about the OCP, and serious concerns about the University District, the Township's proposed OCP is not likely to be the finally OCP. At this point, I would be surprised if the University District will be allowed as it is currently envisioned by the Township.

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