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A New Vision for Housing & Planning

The Township of Langley is one of the most special places in all of British Columbia. Our community offers so much to love, and that is why more and more people every year move here and call the Township home.

 

As we continue to welcome thousands of new neighbours, we need to do a better job of planning for this growth and lay the groundwork for our Township to truly feel like a community, and not just a collection of houses. Through direct policy choices and a vision for our Township that we create together, we can welcome new residents, encourage growth that creates a sense of community, and have the types of neighbourhoods that make people feel truly at home.

 

This is how we can get there.

A Plan for the Township’s Future:

 

Building a Clear Framework for all Township Communities

 

  • As Langley has grown from a town of 87,000 people in 2001 to over 132,000 in 2021, we have seen different plans for each community created over the years. This has left Langley as a collection of unique but separated communities. We need to move towards a plan that ensures none of our communities goes more than 15-20 years without a full review, as part of the first comprehensive Township of Langley Community Plan. 

 

  • A new Township of Langley Community Plan should be developed no later than 2025-26, in preparation for the arrival of SkyTrain to Willowbrook and in order to initiate the planning of rapid transit along 200th Street and 208th Street. This OCP should recognize the importance of Willowbrook in our community’s future in terms of being our Township’s Downtown area.

 

  • As part of this new Plan, we need to recognize the importance of interfacing seamlessly with the new City of Langley Community Plan, as well as with the City of Surrey. It is crucial for residents and industry alike that all three municipalities are collaborating in an optimal and positive way.

 

  • The new OCP should articulate the vision for our Township’s different communities over the long-term, so that we do not lose what makes our town truly unique within the Lower Mainland, while still preparing for the growth that is to come.

 

  • This new OCP should be undertaken with no presumptions by Staff and Council as to the outcome of the public engagement process, while recognizing the uniqueness of each of the Township’s communities and taking advantage of the opportunities that creating a plan for our entire municipality at once provides us.

Zoning and Municipal Bylaw Changes:

 

Increasing Opportunities for Innovation for Homeowners and Builders

 

  • Work to reduce the minimum lot size and minimum lot dimensions for single-family homes in all Suburban Residential zones. 

 

  • Re-examine the current Residential Zoning Bylaw (Section 400) to streamline the number of zones that are in existence, and examine implementing ideas such as form-based zoning instead of the overly prescriptive zoning we have now, in order to make the application and development process simpler, saving both time and money. 

 

  • Recognizing the enormous demand for housing of all forms, especially ‘missing middle’ housing such as rowhomes and family-sized apartments, I will be dedicated to working with Staff and Council to overcome the current challenges that prevent this type of housing from being built. Among other issues, having a more long-term vision for our community’s housing needs is required if we are to deliver the right type of housing moving forward. 

 

  • Due to the cost of townhomes across the Lower Mainland, I will support a re-evaluation of the secondary suite bylaw to encourage more versatility of housing types, flexibility for homeowners, create more options for livable affordability, and provide a greater range of aging-in-place and multi-generational living choices. 

 

  • The creation of a “Residential Corner Store” zone similar to that found within the City of Abbotsford’s Zoning Bylaw. However, instead of requiring the residential portion of any application to be single-family, permit the typology to be in the form of a townhouse and/or 2-3 storey mixed-use building. Include significant commercial parking reductions for the commercial portion of any application brought forward under this zone. 

New Policy Directions:

 

Creating a Community, Not Just a Place to Live

 

  • Along major roads or areas where street networks are incomplete, work to redesignate those properties along street frontages to a reasonably higher density with a mix of uses in order to encourage and build more affordable neighborhoods with complete-streets, without burdening the taxpayer with rising debt.

 

  • Create a new policy, subject to further refinement, which creates the opportunity to preserve more significant trees, especially when they are in stands on the property, as well as promote other environmental assets. An example of an incentive that could be used would be a density provision whereby a builder receives a bonus 2-4 UPA if the typology of development is single-family, or 6-12 UPA for multi-family developments. 

    • For a typical 1.2-acre property in the Smith neighbourhood, for example, this would result in up to an additional 5 single-family homes, or 14 townhomes/apartments. 
    • Should the resulting UPA calculation and reduction in developable land render the project financially unfeasible or practically difficult, I would work with Staff and the proponent to determine the feasibility of a change of housing type to one that makes the project possible. 

 

  • Work directly with Staff, fellow Councillors, and builders to reach the full potential of all municipally-owned properties in the Township, and create a new policy that sets a direction for the development, disposition, or holding of properties within the Township’s Land Reserve. 

 

  • Work to increase the feasibility of renovating and building homes to the highest level of the BC Step Code in anticipation of the province-wide implementation of a net-zero policy by 2032.

 

  • Begin to work with municipal staff to identify sites suitable for inclusion in a “Langley Land Trust” that can help deliver truly affordable homes to a range of people in an expedited time frame. 

 

  • The DCC program (updated in 2019) is again out of date due to rapid rise in costs associated with land acquisition, labour, and supplies. Yet, most development currently underway is still grandfathered. To make sure that taxpayers are not losing promised infrastructure or having new growth pay for aging infrastructure, the DCC program should be reviewed and updated annually with the budget process.