Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Public Hearing: 6-storey mixed-use building at Fraser Highway and 208th Street

There were four projects where people had the formal opportunity to provide written and live feedback to Langely City Council on Monday. I’ll be posting about this over the next little bit.

One project where people provided feedback was for a proposed 6-storey, 200 apartment-unit with 16,400 sq. ft. of ground-level commercial, mixed-use building at 20785 Fraser Highway. It is at the site of the Poseidon Greek Restaurant and a current mixed-use building.

Langley City’s Advisory Design Panel, which includes members of the public, architects, and landscape architects, provided feedback, some of which I highlighted.

  • Modify the east breezeway between the back parking and Fraser Highway to improve sightlines and safety
  • Add a tree strip along 208 Street
  • Consider updating columns on balconies above brick façade
  • Consider updating the corner façade design
  • Use a green roof or reflective roof components
  • Add additional landscaping areas in the back parking area and amenity areas
  • Consider adding more ramps to get to the ground-level commercial units
  • Consider articulating façade along Fraser Highway between the commercial units
  • Consider widening the stair access to the breezeway at the corner of Fraser Highway and 208th Street
  • Consider adjusting ramp design to better integrate the corner plaza at Fraser Highway and 208th Street with the commercial units
  • Carry the brick treatment across the Fraser Highway façade at a more consistent level, utilize a richer brick texture
  • Ensure commercial units are primarily accessible from street-side
  • Consider the use of hanging commercial unit signs in arcade

The design panel spent a good amount of time talking amount the geometry of the building at the corner of 208th Street and Fraser Highway. While the project’s proponent didn’t update the geometry, they did add dark colour strips and LED strip lighting along the balcony edges at this corner. They also added a reflective roof to reduce the heat island effect.

Rendering of the proposed project at 20785 Fraser Highway. Select image to enlarge.

Due to space constraints, the project’s proponent did not add an articulating façade along Fraser Highway or additional ramps to improve access.

The project’s proponent incorporated the rest of the design panels recommendations into the project’s design.

Site plan of the proposed project at 20785 Fraser Highway. Select image to enlarge.

I asked the proponent if they would go beyond the BC Building Code to reduce the impact sounds between residential units. The proponent told me they would build to code. I interpreted this as no. As I posted Monday, improving sound isolation between multi-family units is directly linked to improved mental health outcomes and increased quality of life.

One resident in the area wrote to Council expressing concern that this proposed project could increase traffic and reduce on-street parking in the area. They asked for a traffic study.

One resident who lives in one of the rental units in the building that the project’s proponent would demolish expressed extreme frustration and concern around the project’s proponent tenant relocation process. While this is a market rental building, it is an older building. The current rents paid by these tenants are significantly lower than current market rental rates in Langley City.

As a note, Council recently asked City staff to budget in 2022 for a below-market rate rental policy to be applied when older purpose-built rental buildings undergo redevelopment.

A commercial tenant also expressed concern about being evicted by the project’s proponent.

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