Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Will Metro Vancouver's regional zoning kick seniors to the street?

The Forest Green Estates Manufactured Home Park is sited on the northwest corner of the Highway 1 and 200th Street interchange. If you weren’t looking, you might not even notice it. Some people look down at manufacture home parks, but they are a legitimate form of affordable housing and are home to many people on fixed incomes or reduced incomes. If you look at some of the past history in the region, manufacture home parks have sold off for redevelopment with little regard for the people that live in them. As many of these people have limited means, they are not able to afford similar housing options. As affordable housing is a perennially concern in our region, you would think that kicking seniors out of housing wouldn’t be one of Metro Vancouver’s policies, but that is what might happen.

As I’ve posted about in the past, I’m do not like the regional Mixed Employment zone which allows all development except for residential. This zone allows big box retail and auto-oriented office parks, but doesn’t allow mixed-used, accessible neighbourhoods.

Forest Green Estates Manufactured Home Park, highlighted in blue, is in Metro Vancouver's Mixed Employment Zone (Salmon). Click map to enlarge.

Unfortunately for residents of Forest Green Estates, Metro Vancouver has designated the land of their manufactured home park as Mixed Employment. This means that any new development on that site cannot contain residential uses.

While I know this wasn’t the indented goal of the Mixed Employment zone, this is one of the reason I cannot support this zoning. The Township wanted to change the regional zoning of this land from Mixed Employment to General Urban, but the Metro Vancouver board denied this request in October.

Some residents of Forest Green Estates would like to see the Township zone their manufactured home park to allow a seniors-oriented pocket neighbourhood. This would allow future affordable housing option on that site. You can read more about pocket neighbourhoods on previous blog posts.

While Metro Vancouver denied the original request to have the section of Langley were Forest Green Estates is located to be zoned General Urban, it was part of a larger request which included the Future Shop/Best Buy distribution warehouse. As the manufactured home park is a pre-existing residential use, the Township can apply to Metro Vancouver to change the regional land use of the manufacture home park to General Urban; it would only require a simple 50+1 majority vote by the Metro Vancouver board to approve.

I hope that the residents of Forest Green Estates are able to get this land use changed because I don’t believe our region wants to see seniors kicked out onto the streets. You can read more about this in a report that appeared in the December 2nd Township of Langley Afternoon Council Meeting Agenda.

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