Tuesday, October 10, 2023

A Family-Friendly Langley City Needs More Townhouses and ‘Plexes

Langley City is holding several neighbourhood meetings this month. At last week’s meeting, I talked with a person who asked me what I thought about all the density in our community. I said that we do need more housing in Langley City. As we aren’t creating more land, we can only accommodate new residents comfortably through redevelopment and increasing housing types and where they can be built. The alternative is overcrowding and continued sky-high rents and mortgage payments.

People at a Langley City Neighbourhood Meeting

Since we’ve been a City, we’ve allowed diverse housing types like apartments and townhouses and commercial/industrial uses north of the Nicomekl River. Most people know that secondary suites are allowed in all neighbourhoods in Langley City, but many forget that townhouses have been built in all neighbourhoods north of Grade Crescent for at least 40 years.

The significant change in our Official Community Plan is that we’ve expanded the areas where townhouses and ‘plexes can be built, added new neighbourhood nodes that permit small-scale retail/services, and introduced the ability to build garden suites in select areas.

The following map highlights the different land uses and where they are allowed in Langley City.

Langley City Land-Use Map. Select the image to enlarge.

I noted that Langley City Council did keep certain areas as detached housing (suburban) with secondary suites only but that the provincial government (through provincial law) is looking to allow between 3-4 units of housing to be built on all lots, which goes above and beyond Langley City’s current Official Community Plan.

While this was a very technical conversation, I had two conversations recently which impacted me at a human level and really drove home the reason we need to allow more housing options in our community, including more townhouses and ‘plexes.

One of my friends lives in an apartment in my neighbourhood and is moving their blended family together. They were looking for a townhouse in Langley City but couldn’t find one, so they had to move to Maple Ridge. While Maple Ridge is a great community, they wanted to stay in Langley City.

Last week, I participated in an RCMP ride-along, and we stopped at Penzer Action Park. I spoke with a young person who had her small one with her. I asked her what she liked and didn’t like about Langley City. She said that while she loved the convenience of our compact community, she wanted a bit more space than her apartment and was looking for a townhouse but couldn’t find anything.

For a community to be vibrant, it must be family-friendly. These two stories highlighted to me why it is so important to increase where people can build townhouses and ‘plexes. I don’t want people with families to move out of our community because they cannot find appropriate housing to meet their needs.

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