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Langley Township townhouse project has 334 units, park and school site attached

Development is planned for northeastern Willoughby
The proposed development would include 327 townhouses (orange) seven single-family homes (yellow) a park (green) and a new school site (blue). Part of 78th Avenue would become a treed path. (Township of Langley)

A sizable new development of 334 homes is being considered for one of Langley Township’s newest neighbourhoods, but the council had some questions about roads and density at Monday night’s meeting.

The Qualico Mitchell Williams development proposes to build 327 townhouses and seven single-family homes on a 31.9 acre (12.9 hectare) site at the southeast corner of 212th Street and 80th Avenue.

The current zoning for the site, which is in the Williams neighbourhood of Willoughby, envisions an outer layer of townhouses along 80th Avenue to the north and 212th Street to the west, with single-family housing on the inner layer.

The proposed plan instead would turn more of the site over to townhouses, but also adds two large portions that won’t be developed into housing at all – one five-acre site would become a park, and next to that, a five-acre elementary school site.

That would leave the overall number of homes to be built on the site well within the original planned density range for that area.

As part of the project, 78th Avenue, to the south, will be decommissioned and turned into a “neighbourhood forested mews,” with a three-meter wide asphalt trail. However, the existing road will have to stay open on an interim basis to provide construction access, as well as for older homes still fronting that street.

The developer will also provide $1.9 million in Community Amenity Contributions to the Township.

However, it was the realignment of the intersection of 80th Avenue and 212th that is planned for the corner that generated some questions from council.

The corner lot, where 212th would bend to the east as part of the planned realignment, hasn’t been purchased by the developer.

Several councillors, including Coun. Eric Woodward, wanted to know what happens if the developer can’t acquire that property?

Ramin Seifi, the Township’s manager of engineering and community development, said since re-aligning the road is a condition of the project going forward, even if it gets council’s approval, the developer will need to come to some kind of agreement with the remaining landowner to move forward.

He said the alternative is for a variance to deal with local traffic issues in a different way.

Coun. David Davis questioned why the proposal deviates from the Williams Neighbourhood Plan, which was only approved four years ago and was the last of the Willoughby neighbourhood plans to be developed.

“I’m concerned this isn’t going to be affordable housing,” Davis said.

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A question was raised by Coun. Kim Richter about whether it changes the estimated population for the area.

Seifi said it does not, similarly to another application from the same meeting.

“This is also an application that does not affect the density calculation,” he said.

The original neighbourhood plan had a range of anywhere from 302 to 372 units for that area, and the 334 proposed is well within that range.

Council approved the first and second readings of the rezoning bylaw in a 6-3 vote, with Richter, Davis, and Coun. Petrina Arnason opposed.

The project will now be up for public comment at a future public hearing, before the council makes its decision.

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Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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