Debate over Brookswood OCP rears its head

A development variance in Brookswood briefly reopened debate over the area’s controversial OCP on Monday night.

Langley Township council was considering a request to allow landowner Nirmal Kooner to build a house closer to one corner of a sizeable lot on 32nd Avenue than would normally be allowed.

 

Setback rules for that piece of land require houses to be 9.75 meters from the front of the lot and three meters from the side. Kooner had asked to build a house 7.5 meters from the front and 1.5 meters from the side.

Several residents, both from the area and the wider neighbourhood, opposed the variance.

Colleen Van der Beck, who lives nearby, also objected, worried it would reduce parking on the property and force people to park on the street.

Angie Majewski said Kooner was trying to get a jump on the next Brookswood Official Community Plan and ready his property for subdivision and redevelopment.

Others agreed, with Anna R., a frequent speaker on Brookswood issues who refuses to give her last name, calling it spot zoning.

The Township received more than a dozen letters about the variance.

Kooner told the council he blamed concerns on the Unelection Langley website, which is a site critical of some councillors and a variety of decisions made over the last term.

“I am not looking to develop my property,” Kooner said.

However, he admitted he is trying to plan ahead for th next OCP, to site his house so it will fit on a smaller lot.

Council rejected the variance.

“I think it’s a little bit premature,” said Coun. Steve Ferguson.

The council voted seven to two agains the variance, with Mayor Jack Froese and Coun. Grant Ward in favour.

The Brookswood OCP was a contentious document that was scrapped earlier this year. It would have added tens of thousands of new residents to Brookswood, mostly in the more rural southern portion of the neighbourhood.

Existing residents objected strenuously at a series of public meetings on the plan. There were fears that increased density and more traffic would destroy the character of Brookswood.

The council eventually voted to start over again with more community consultation and a new plan.

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