Plans for a new luxury condominium project next to Douglas Park received nearly unanimous praise from Langley City council on May 25, with only one member finding herself unable to support the project.
Councillor Val van den Broek cast the lone dissenting vote as council issued a development permit for a five-storey condominium complex at 20458 Park Ave., on the western edge of Douglas Park, to JMC Properties, Ltd.
Van den Broek’s single objection to the project was the plan to remove existing mature trees from the property and replace them with smaller “street” trees.
Other members of council complimented the design, which includes brickwork, stained wood accents, black metal railings and glass-panelled decks, saying the building will change the overall tone of the area and pave the way for more, similarly high-end, projects.
Before the development permit was issued, the public was given the opportunity to speak about the project and ask questions of the developer.
Once again, parking issues were top of mind for people who live in the area, with residents of James Court asking where workers will park during construction, and whether their complex will lose any of its existing visitor parking to the new building.
Of the eight spaces in front of James Court, residents will ultimately lose the four farthest from the building, they heard.
However, workers will not park in James Court during construction — a rule which will be “strictly adhered to,” they were assured.
Bryce Jeffery, whose grandfather purchased the land after the Second World War and passed it down to his son, John, said the development is very much in keeping with the vision the men had for the land.
“I see myself as the trustee of a dream,” he told council, following the presentation by Wes Friesen of Points West Architecture.
When it formed in the late 1940s, he said, the dream was to see single family homes constructed on the eight-acre property.
After his grandfather’s death in 1977, the dream changed to incorporate the City’s vision for multi-family development, said Jeffery.
The Langley Township resident said his father’s vision was so spectacular as to be almost self-defeating.
For a long time, he admitted, it didn’t look very promising, with developer after developer, coming forth with designs that fell short of what Jeffery hoped for.
There seemed to be a feeling among developers, he said, that high-end developments don’t fit within Langley. This project proves that idea to be false, he said.
“I am satisfied as trustee, that we are producing the best building we can produce,” said Jeffery.
“This project represents every bit of the blood of the best we could get out of the property.
“Thank you for considering it.”
“It’s a gorgeous development,” said Councillor Gayle Martin, adding that it is hard for her to believe that other developers have not seen the potential for upscale projects in the area.
“It’s unfortunate all those trees have to come down, but that’s development,” she said.
Councillor Dave Hall asked Friesen whether the City should look at its parking regulations and adjust them so that more visitor parking is required.
Friesen replied that, in his experience, the current bylaw is appropriate.
Councillor Rudy Storteboom commented that he would not have liked to move ahead without the hearing from the Jeffery family.
“I would like to see the name (of the building) reflect that legacy.”
Councillor Paul Albrecht called it a great addition to the downtown core, while encouraging the developer to use local goods and services during construction.
The building’s 37 units will range in size from 1,000 to 1,600 square feet, with the largest ‘penthouse’ suites located on the fifth floor.
The proposed development will contribute nearly $335,000 to the City in development cost charges and another $37,000 in community amenity charges.
The developer anticipates the project will be complete in about 18 months.