The neighbourhood that surrounds the recently-built Carvolth transit exchange could be home to 18-storey buildings if a proposed overhaul of the local community plan wins final approval from Langley Township council.
Details of the plan were aired during a Monday, May 6 public hearing in council chambers.
Staff were ordered to adjust the community plan to take advantage of the 650- parking space transit exchange that opened last year just off 200 Street on 86 Avenue as well as the new Golden Ears Bridge.
The goal of the plan is to make the area around the transit exchange into a second business and retail hub that would function as a gateway to the Township, council was told.
What the presentation to council refers to as the Carvolth Gateway plan covers the area south of the 200 Street/Highway 1 interchange, including those portions that lie north of the freeway, sandwiched between 204 Street and the Langley/Surrey border of 196 Street, and a jagged southerly boundary that roughly follows 84 and 83 Avenues.
The Gateway plan is designed to attract corporate headquarters, business and professional offices, along with, possibly, a hotel and convention centre.
It calls for a high-density mix of residential, retail and business buildings between three and 18 stories tall.
By the time construction is completed in 2041, the area would be home to 5,000 residents and businesses providing 12,800 jobs, Township staff estimate.
In an bid to limit the impact of the new commercial zone on the existing Willowbrook business area, the plan forbids “big box” stores and requires developers to provide 1.5 square meters of office floor space for every square metre of retail.
Township staff believe demand for commercial space is going to rise in Langley beyond the capacity of Willowbrook to accommodate, so the Township either has to find the room elsewhere or lose the business to neighbouring communities like Abbotsford.
There were 22 submissions to the public hearing, nine made in person and 13 in writing, with more than half from business interests who favour the plan.
A few commercial operators had problems with the required ratio of office to retail floor space, but were otherwise supportive.
Opponents, mostly residents of the area, cited concerns about the possible impact on the local Latimer Creek, traffic, pollution, parking and noise.
The proposal will come back to council at a later date for a final vote.