Alanah Fuduric and her five-month-old daughter Charlie, and Alanah’s mom Cathy Fichter on the site where they were hoping to place a modular home for Cathy and her husband to live close to the rest of the family. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Alanah Fuduric and her five-month-old daughter Charlie, and Alanah’s mom Cathy Fichter on the site where they were hoping to place a modular home for Cathy and her husband to live close to the rest of the family. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Langley family in limbo as ALR rule changes mean no second home for grandparents

The family is one of dozens facing changed regulations on farmland housing

A three-generation Langley family was blindsided by a change in rules that has left them in one rather cramped home on a newly-purchased property.

“It’s a big home, but it’s not meant to have 10 people in it,” said Cathy Fichter.

Cathy and her husband Brian Fichter are retirees, and after Brian was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease last year, they hoped to downsize from their three-level home.

Meanwhile, their daughter Alanah Fuduric, her husband Ryan, and their six children were looking for somewhere bigger than a townhome.

The extended family decided the best option was to pool their money to buy a farm property in South Langley. The Fuduric children would each have their own room, and the Fichters would be just across the garden in a newly-bought modular home.

After finding what they thought was the perfect home last fall, the family closed on the property on Feb. 26 this year. They didn’t realize that their time had just run out to add a modular home to the lot under Bill 52’s changes to Agricultural Commission rules.

“We were four days short of the Feb. 22 [deadline],” said Cathy.

The Fichter and Fuduric family weren’t the only ones caught off guard. So was the Township of Langley, according to Ramin Seifi, the general manager of engineering and community development, who said there was a lack of advance warning from the province.

Before Bill 52, the Township could issue permits for second dwellings based on a number of set criteria – if a farm had so many horses, so many dairy cattle, so many pigs, it could automatically qualify for a second dwelling, based on the idea that the farm would need more people.

“As it stands… we are no longer able to issue anything, because the Land Commission has to approve each and every one,” Seifi said.

And Cathy and Brian are far from the only people to be caught in a similar bind.

“We have heard from dozens of people,” Seifi said.

Most of the attention on Bill 52 has been focused on the size of homes permitted – but an amendment also limited the number of homes on agricultural land to one, and only one, unless the ALC grants an exemption.

The Fichter-Fuduric family has filed for an exemption, but have now waited almost three months for an answer, after being told it would be 60 business days for a decision.

“This is day 63, of the business days,” Cathy said.

The Fichters had everything ready – they had already purchased a new modular home, arranged permits for well and septic systems, and even for transportation. Now the modular home is simply sitting on a lot in South Brookswood waiting to be picked up.

If they had known about the deadline, the family says they could have accelerated their timeline, closed on the property a bit earlier, and by now, everything would be finished.

Instead, they’re in limbo.

Brian and Cathy are still sharing a home with their daughter, son-in-law, and six grandkids aged five months to 14 years old, a situation they had hoped would be very temporary.

“We’ve got lots of room,” Brian said sarcastically. “It’s a 12-by-12 [foot] bedroom.”

The room is intended to be the room of the youngest member of the family, five-month-old Charlie.

They aren’t sure what they will do if they can’t add a modular home to their property.

“We really don’t have much choice,” said Alanah. “We can’t afford to move back into what we used to have.”

She and Ryan are feeling responsible, after a plan that they thought would allow them to keep her parents close by but independent for as long as possible.

“My husband and I feel really guilty,” Alanah said. “It’s like this big dark cloud that looms over both of us.”

Asked about the changes, a representative of the Ministry of Agriculture acknowledged that in the past, secondary dwelling such as modular homes and carriage houses were allowed, even if not necessary for farming, and that local governments could make the decisions about allowing those homes.

“Moving forward, the new process will have the ALC, who have the technical expertise on farming, making decisions together with local governments,” the statement said.

People who want to build more homes on farmland to support their farming operations can still do so with support of the ALC, the statement said.

“With a growing population, climate change and ongoing land-use pressures, it has never been more important to ensure that the tiny percentage of land in B.C. that is best suited for agriculture is available and affordable for farmers and ranchers to produce the food that British Columbians need,” said the statement.

Alanah, who is planning to bring in horses, cattle, and possibly goats to the family’s five-acre property, hopes the ALC will consider her parents as farm hands and allow the second home.

Until her five-month-old daughter Charlie is school-aged, she’s going to need the extra help, Alanah said.

Agricultural Land ReserveAgricultureBC politicsFarmingLangley

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fraser Health has announced another COVID exposure at Brookswood Secondary. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Two elementaries added to Brookswood in latest Langley schools with COVID exposure

Three school alerts Monday follow on the heels of five issued this past weekend

Fort Langley’s proposed new truck route is outlined in red. It would move most truck traffic around the village of Fort Langley. (Langley Township Engineering/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Fort Langley truck route plans to be decided in 2021

Township council will decide on the project during the budget process next year

(Black Press Media files)
A call for Aldergrove Christmas lights

Send in pictures and addresses so others can see your holiday display

Langley Township and City provide garbage receptacles where people can deposit their bags of dog poop instead of tossing the bags into bushes. (Langley Advance Times)
LETTER: Langley letter writer dumps on irresponsible dog owners

People who don’t clean up their dogs poop or who toss the bags in the bushes irk local resident

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

Most Read