Monday, March 3, 2014

Brookswood/Fernridge Community Plan Public Hearing Tonight

The Township of Langley has been working on updating the Brookswood/Fernridge Community Plan which will help guide future development in those communities. The processes started in 2011 as there was interest by Griffith Neighbourhood Advisory Corporation to redevelop parts of southern Brookswood.

The final draft community plan was released late last year, and you can read my thoughts about the plan on a previous blog post. The shorts of it is that the already established urban single-family area of Brookswood will see very little change, except around the existing commercial nodes. The majority of the currently suburban properties in the southern area of Brookswood/Fernridge are proposed to become single family urban housing. The only exception is along some parts of 32nd Avenue and 200th Street where multi-family housing and small mixed-use nodes at 32nd/200th and 24th/200th will be allowed.

Even with these modest changes being proposed in Brookswood/Fernridge, there are some in the community that are opposed. There is an anti-development blog and Facebook group called Leave Brookswood Alone. From looking at these sites, you would get the idea that the Township will be sending bulldozer into Brookswood and plowing people’s houses down. This is not the case.

The fact is that the proposed Brookswood/Fernridge Community Plan will result in very little change in the existing single-family areas. Even with the limited increases in density in the suburban areas of Brookswood/Fernridge, 84% of the land area will be single-family housing. As I posted about previously, I think the Township missed an opportunely to allow mixed-use along a larger part of the 200th Street corridor which would have supported an accessible community.

There will be a public hearing tonight at Township Hall starting a 7:00pm about the proposed plan. The Township of Langley has a history have having very exciting public hearing, and it is likely that there will be some passionate people tonight.

Map of Brookswood/Fernridge Community Planning Area with Griffith Neighbourhood Planning Area in centre. Select map to enlarge.

After the public hearing there may be some tweaks to the plan, but Council will likely approve the plan. While community plans provide an overall vision for the community, it really is neighbourhood plans that guide development. As this whole process was started due to the desire to develop the Griffith area, I’m actually more interested in seeing how that neighbourhood plan will shape up. Through this neighbourhood plan, the Township will have the opportunity to support building an accessible community that gives people travel choices (allowing them to walk, cycle, take transit, or drive to shops, services, and community amenities.) The Township will also have the opportunity to support a variety of housing choices including pocket neighbourhoods. I only hope that they do not squander that opportunity.

No comments: