Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Latimer Neighbourhood plan receives Metro Vancouver staff support

Back in May, I posted about the new Latimer Neighbourhood land use plan. In general, the plan increases the diversity of housing types available in Willoughby along the 200th Street corridor. It also introduces mixed-use areas at major intersections along 200th Street. If Latimer is built as planned, it will support the creation of a walkable, bikeable, and transit-ready community.

One of the cool things about the plan is that it removes the original suburban business park zoning for the northwest corner of 80th Avenue and 200th Street, replacing it with mixed-use zoning.

Proposed regional land use changes in the Latimer Neighbourhood. Select map to enlarge.

Under the Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy (RGS), this area is currently zoned as “mixed-employment”. To allow the mixed-use area, the regional zoning must be changed to “general urban.” Section 6.2.7 of the RGS allows municipalities to change regional land use zones within the Urban Containment Boundary as long as the total adjustments doesn’t total more than 1 hectare.

This can only be done if a municipality has a regional context statement that permits this. This context statement must be approved by the Metro Vancouver board. Because of all the legal issues between Metro Vancouver and the Township of Langley, the Township of Langley is one of the only municipalities without a regional context statement for the RGS.

Township of Langley Council has therefor requested a Type 3 amendment to the RGS to permit the changes in Latimer. A Type 3 amendment to the RGS only requires 50%+1 weighted vote approval of the Metro Vancouver board.

The Township of Langley would also like to change the regional land-use to “mixed-employment” for the area just west of the currently zoned office park. This would create about 3 hectares of land that could be used for commercial or industrial use.

Both Metro Vancouver staff and the TransLink board support these changes as it will support the Regional Growth Strategy. According to a Metro Vancouver staff report:

The Township of Langley’s Willoughby area is one of the largest developing urban areas in the region, and the urban form of this area is crucial to achieving several Metro 2040 goals. Overall, the proposed amendments will serve to shape the form of this emerging urban area in a manner generally consistent with Metro 2040’s goals and strategies. Primarily, the amendments allocate planned land use and density to promote concentrated residential and commercial development at strategic locations along the 200th Street corridor, which will become the main north-south transit corridor connecting this subregion of Metro Vancouver.

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