Rendering of proposed Rosewood seniors facility. City council gave preliminary approval to the building and a proposal for a surrounding seniors district on Oct. 15, despite objections by some councillors and members of the public who feel the project is being rushed through.                                 Supplied image

Rendering of proposed Rosewood seniors facility. City council gave preliminary approval to the building and a proposal for a surrounding seniors district on Oct. 15, despite objections by some councillors and members of the public who feel the project is being rushed through. Supplied image

Langley City grants preliminary approval for seniors district

Some council members wanted a delay to get more information

Creation of a nine-acre higher-density seniors housing district to allow construction of a 292-unit housing project has been given preliminary approval by Langley City council.

The proposed district is a response to an application by Hehe Rosewood Development to build a seniors care and housing complex on 4.44 acres along Old Yale Road at the eastern edge of the City, one that would include a 28-bed long-term care facility, 169 assisted living units and 95 seniors-oriented multi-family residential units.

Because building the Rosewood complex would require changing the land use designation for the area of mostly single-family houses, a consulting firm was hired to review the implications.

The consultants came back with a report that called for a new land use designation to allow higher-density residential projects for seniors in the area where Rosewood was proposed.

At the Oct. 15 public hearing on the project and the proposed district, some residents said they would like more information than they saw at the open houses or in the official notices.

“I’m feeling very rushed,” one said.

“I’m going in blind,” said another, adding, “I saw two drawings and that was it.”

Some members of council argued the vote should be delayed until there was more detailed information available.

Coun. Gayle Martin, who was concerned that council didn’t have all the information it needed, voted against the seniors district and the development, arguing more time was needed.

“We want to make sure it is done right,” Martin said.

She said a preliminary vote for approval would make a final decision “basically a fait accompli … if you get third reading, you get fourth.”

Coun. Paul Albrecht also voted no to both, saying the City should take more time with its decision.

“There’s too many unknowns,” Albrecht said. Among them, he noted, are environmental and traffic impacts as well as affordability.

“I cannot support this whatsoever.”

When it came to a vote, the district and the Rosewood project were both granted preliminary approval.

Coun. Rudy Storteboom voted for the district, but against the proposed project, saying council should hold off to get more information.

Outgoing Mayor Ted Schaffer, who voted in favour of both the district and the Rosewood project, said the project won the support of the advisory planning commission, which was “100 per cent in favour.”

The proposed district and project will come back to council at an undetermined future date for final approval.

A report to council describes the Old Yale Road seniors care district as an “integrated seniors care precinct,” providing opportunities for “aging in place.”

It will allow construction of “senior citizens care facilities, congregate housing, seniors-oriented multiple unit residential and assembly halls to a maximum height of six storeys and a maximum density of 173 units per hectare.

The Rosewood project features a six-storey annex building housing “seniors-oriented multifamily residential units” designed for independent owners 55 and older.