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New three-storey building planned for Fort Langley

Titled The Albion, new building on Church Street will feature retail shops, office space and residential units
Artist rendering of The Albion on Church Street in Fort Langley.

Another three-storey building is coming to the Fort Langley business core.

Council authorized a heritage alteration permit for property at 9181 Church St. in an 8-1 vote on Jan. 16, following a public hearing.

The land is owned by Hugh and Joanne McDonald, who plan to tear down the existing 114-year-old single family home to construct a three-storey commercial/residential mixed building, to be called The Albion.

The property is located within the Fort Langley Heritage Conservation Area, meaning a heritage alteration permit is needed for variances in height, lot coverage and siting.

Although the building will be three storeys, the total height is within the nine-metre height restriction for the area.

The Albion will have nearly 3,000 square-feet of commercial space, including retail space on the ground floor fronting Church Street and office space on the second floor. There will also be four residential units, with two on the second floor and two more on the third.

According to a Township report, the building will have a “large family home or ‘big house’” concept, based on craftsman style homes of the early 20th century.

The proponent’s design rationale further explains that the building is based on the former Hope House of Fort Langley and the Trethewey house in Abbotsford.

The design intent “is to provide a historic looking structure that could have been in place for years. The development maintains the required area and amenities to make the project vibrant for life in Fort Langley,” the design statement says.

“Even though three floors were required to make the development feasible, much effort was put into making it appear like a two storey structure with living space in the attic.”

The existing house on the property, which according to BC Assessment was originally built in 1903, was considered for the heritage inventory as a heritage character site in 2006, but was never formally added, the Township report says.

An “As-Found Report” will be submitted to the Langley Centennial Museum archives for future research purposes.

The report also says the project has support from both the Fort Langley Heritage Review Panel and the Heritage Advisory Committee.

The Fort Langley Business Improvement Association stated they take no position on the project, however they requested that an unconnected telephone pole in the laneway be removed and replaced with a proper lamp. The Fort Langley Community Association raised concerns over the parking. The project proposes 12 spaces, which meets the Township requirement, however the association feels that more should be added to accommodate both locals and tourists.

Coun. David Davis shared those concerns, telling his fellow councillors he believes the parking bylaw is “outdated” and should be reviewed.

He cast the lone vote against the project.

“But as a positive, due to the size and the shape of this lot, I think that the developer is using the space well. It adheres to the 29.5 ft. height bylaw, while having the three storeys. So we know that it can be done,” he said.

“However, it is three storeys. Fort Langley’s current bylaw is clear, and until we change the guidelines in the bylaw from two storeys to three storeys, I have to be consistent, and I’m going to vote no.”

No one from the public spoke during the public hearing.

9181 Church Street by Miranda Gathercole on Scribd

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