Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Public Hearing Notes: Proposed Redevelopment Pyramid Apartments - 5360 204th Street

Last night, Langley City Council held a public hearing for the proposed rezoning and discharge of a land use contract for 5360 204th Street, also known as the Pyramid Apartments.

If Council approved the rezoning, the proposed rezoning would allow a 12-storey, 370-unit apartment project with 317 condominium units and 53 rental units with a range of unit types, from studio to 2-bedroom units. The square footage is between 307 and 840, depending on the unit type.

The current building is 3-storeys and contains 44 one-bedroom rental units.

A rendering of the proposed project at 5360 204 Street. Select the image to enlarge.

Because the current building is a market-priced, purpose-built rental building, it is subject to Langley City's one-for-one market rental unit replacement policy. The project's applicant is providing 53 rental units, which will be secured for the life of the proposed building through a housing agreement with the City. The applicant proposes building nine additional purpose-built rental units above City requirements.

This project is also subject to Langley City's Tenant Relocation policy for purpose-built rental building redevelopment. Langley City's Tenant Relocation policy goes above and beyond what the provincial Residential Tenancy Act requires.

The City's Tenant Relocation Policy focuses on informing current tenants about a potential redevelopment of their building early and often. It also focuses on helping people find and move to new rental accommodation and includes compensation. Finally, it enables people to return once a new building is completed at 10% below market rent.

Depending on people's length of tenancy and if they are considered a "vulnerable tenant," per Langley City's relocation policy, people are entitled to 2-6 months of their current rent over and about what the Residential Tenancy Act requires as compensation.

At the public hearing, the applicant noted they would go above and beyond Langley City's policy by providing eight months' rent as compensation and a 20% below-market rent discount for people who choose to return to the new building.

Langley City Council received three written correspondence about the proposed redevelopment project and heard from about two dozen people at the public hearing last night.

Most people who spoke at the public hearing were from the Countryside Estates strata apartment complex, which is directly to the south and east of this proposed project.

These folks were concerned about the building's height and number of units and how it would impact traffic, water and sewer infrastructure, parking, schools, the hospital, fire safety, and the shadowing of their building.

The applicant noted that the building's 9th thru 12th storeys are setbacks significant to reduce shadowing impacts.

The proposed building crosssection of 5360 204th Street. Select the image to enlarge.

City staff noted that the road and other City infrastructure will be able to handle the increased population if this project is approved. The Fire Department noted they have the equipment and training to deal with a building of this height. City staff also noted that there would be school capacity per a recent conversation with the School District.

While healthcare is a provincial obligation, City staff did note that the province is building a new hospital in Cloverdale.

One of the other concerns was flooding, as this site is within the floodplain. Unlike the current building, which has habitable areas below our current flood protection requirements, this proposed building will follow Langley City's brand new flood protection bylaw, which Council adopted in April. The proposed building will have a much lower risk of flooding habitable space than the current building.

People were also concerned that the parkade might collapse during construction, which could cause damage to Countryside Estates.

Folks were also concerned about the impacts of construction. Projects in Langley City must have a construction management plan to mitigate impacts during construction.

Three people spoke in favour of the project as they noted a housing crisis in BC, and that we need to build more housing now.

Several current tenants of the Pyramid Apartments also spoke, ranging from concern to satisfaction about the tenant relocation process. They also expressed general concern about the rising cost of market rent and displacement.

There were other speakers with other concerns, but I wanted to give an overall picture of last night's public hearing.

As the public hearing is now closed, Council cannot accept any new information or receive further comments about this proposed project per provincial law. Council will consider third reading of the rezoning and discharge of the land-use contract at its July 17th Council meeting.

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