Wednesday, September 19, 2018

September 17, 2018 Council Meeting Notes: Redevelopment, tax breaks, and fee changes

When redevelopment started in the Nicomekl neighbourhood west of 200th Street, it was bumpy. I remember that folks from the Huntsfield Green townhouse complex packed the council chamber to express their concerns about redevelopment, and its impact on their quality of life.

People attending Monday night's council meeting. Select image to enlarge.

Council expressed that the development community needed to work closely with people who already live in the neighbourhood, and work towards mutually agreeable solutions. For the past several projects in the area, the folks at Huntsfield Green have expressed their support of the redevelopment projects in the area.

Some of the other concerns that come up is the negative externalities associated with construction including dust, noise, construction traffic, construction parking, and litter left by construction workers. While the City must continue to be vigilant, and council must continue to remind developer to work to reduce these externalities, things are improving.

At Monday night’s council meeting, a person who normally expresses concerns about redevelopment in the area during public hearings, commended the City and contractors for listening to his concerns.

One item that I wanted to clarify was about parking for new townhouses. There seems to be some confusion that some townhouses have less than two parking spots. All townhouses in Langley City since the 1980s have required 2 parking spots, plus shared visitor parking for a complex.

Two projects that received first and second reading at the August 23, 2018 council meeting had a public hearing on Monday night and subsequently received third reading. The projects were for a 41 unit, 3 storey townhouse development on 55A Avenue, and an 78 unit, 5 story apartment development on Brydon Crescent. You can see more information about these projects in a previous post.

Council also heard from the public on two land-use contract discharge applications for 4538 204 Street and 4945 205A. Land-use contracts were created in the 1970s and have since been superseded by zoning. Land-use contracts haven’t been used for close to 40 years, and at the request of owners, the City will terminate these contracts. By 2024, all land-use contracts will be discharge as per provincial law.

When a land-use contract is discharged in single-family areas, our single-family zoning becomes effective which allows secondary-suites. Two people expressed concerns about secondary-suites in general noting that they are become “mini-apartments”. At the meeting, City staff noted that owners must occupy a house if there is a secondary suite, and that only one suite is allowed. If something different is happening, staff instructed people to call the bylaw department.

Every year, council must renew permissive tax exemptions for certain properties in our community. Churches that own land are automatically exempt from paying property tax under BC law. Municipalities can also exempt other organizations from paying property tax. The current council has taken the approach to grandfather current organizations with select properties that currently receive permissive tax exemption, but will not approve new exemptions. Council gave first, second, and third reading to approve permissive tax exemptions for the following organizations:

  • Global School Society
  • Southgate Christians Fellowship
  • Langley Association for Community Living
  • Langley Care Society
  • Langley Hospice Society
  • Langley Seniors Resource Society
  • Langley Stepping Stones
  • Langley Community Music School
  • Langley Lawn Bowling
  • Langley Community Services
  • Gateway of Hope (Salvation Army)

In 2018, permissive exemptions reduced revenue received by the city by $200,520.

Council gave first, second, and third reading to update the fees for various services that the City provides. The following table outlines some select price changes for common services that residents use:

Fee Previous Proposed
Male / Female Dog ‐ Discounted $85 $90
Neutered / Spayed Dog ‐ Discounted $33 $35
City Park Picnic Shelters & BBQ (per hour) $8 $10
Nicomekl Community Garden Plot (Fee made consistent with other community garden plots) $15 $50

Council gave final reading to two housekeeping bylaws including updating our Chauffeur Permit and Regulation Bylaw, and Highway and Traffic Regulation Bylaw which updated the definition of a “heavy truck”.

Council approved transferring $1 million from our main reserve to a new Prosperity Fund to support the implementation of our new Nexus Community Vision. Council also approved sending our Deputy Fire Chief to the 37th Annual Metro Fire Planners Conference.

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