Langley City Election 2018 - October 20th

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

September 19, 2016 Council Meeting Notes: Putting walkability first, developer improves original plan. Other development application examined.

Yesterday, I posted about the matters that Langley City council addressed around homelessness at Monday night’s regular council meeting. Today, I will be posted about development matters that council addressed.

The residents of the City were given the opportunity to comment on a development variance permit for 20041 Grade Crescent and a development permit for 20151 Fraser Highway (Valley Centre Mall).

The owner of 20041 Grade Crescent was seeking approval to subdivide his lot in half. This would allow two houses to be built. A variance was required because the lot width would be 14.5m along Grade Crescent as opposed to 16m which is the minimum as permitted under our RS1 zone.

The owner of 20051 Grade Crescent was at Monday’s council meeting. He owns the adjacent, wider lot. He was concerned that the proposed subdivision would “crowd the street.” I asked staff to review property widths along Grade Crescent and we saw that both 20061 and 20022, which are near 20041, have similar narrow lot widths.

Proposed streetscape along Grade Crescent as a result of approved variance. Select image to enlarge.

One of the things that I’ve heard from people in the community is concerns about both “monster houses” and tree clearing during redevelopment.

Because these are narrower lots, the two proposed new houses will have similar footprints to the current housing in the neighbourhood. A tree management plan was also prepared for the site. While some tree will be removed, they will be replaced.

Next, Council opened up the floor for comments on an infill project at Valley Centre Mall. There was one written submission in opposition to the project.

For some history, this development permit was original scheduled for the July 25th council meeting, but was pulled from the agenda. Our Advisory Planning Committee had serious concerns around traffic control, pedestrian access, the drive-thru, impact to the residential development across the street, and the location of the refuse/recycling area.

Original site plan fro Valley Centre Mall infill development. Select image to enlarge.

View from Fraser Highway of originally proposed Valley Centre Mall infill development. Select image to enlarge.

I had major concerns that the original plan didn’t create an active, inviting, or walkable streetscape along Fraser Highway as envisioned in our Downtown Master Plan. I also had a problem with the location of the drive-thru.

The original plan was very disappointing, but the proponent of this project took the last few months to vastly improve the project plan.

The biggest change is that the building now fronts Fraser Highway, and will have pedestrian access via Fraser Highway. There have also been various improvements to enhance walkability throughout the rest of the mall. The drive-thru has also been reconfigured to reduce its impact.

Approved site plan for Valley Centre Mall infill development. Select image to enlarge.

View from Fraser Highway of approved Valley Centre Mall infill development. Select image to enlarge.

While I don’t support drive-thrus, the current zoning in our Downtown allows drive-thrus. This is something that I’d like to see changed.

As part of this project, the mall will be reopening its parking lot located on Industrial Avenue. It will have improved lightings.

All of council was impressed that the proponent of this project took the feedback of the community and our committee, and changed the design.

By the end of the Monday night meeting, a development variance permit for 20041 Grade Crescent and a development permit for Valley Centre Mall were approved by council. Council also gave first and second reading for two zoning bylaw amendments for an apartment and townhouse development. These two proposed zoning bylaw amendments will now be going to a public hearing at a future council meeting. I will post more about these proposed developments once they come to the public hearing phase.

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