Setback riles some Brookswood residents

A request for a 2.25-metre setback change sparked accusations at a Langley Township council meeting on March 2.

Brookswood landowner Nirmal Kooner has been seeking a variance for a house planned for his five-acre property in the 19700 block of 32nd Avenue.

Kooner wants to build a home 7.5 metres from the road, rather than the 9.75 metres called for under zoning bylaws.

The proposed change has come up before and has drawn some criticism from area residents, some of whom link it to the failed – and unpopular – proposed new Brookswood Official Community Plan that was scrapped last year.

Kooner told the council that he is not starting any process to subdivide his property. He is asking for setbacks identical to those of quarter-acre lots on the north side of 32nd Avenue facing his property.

He also presented a 31-signature petition in favour and said that objections to the variance are “lemmings.”

Speaking for Kooner was Langley resident Roland Seguin, who said Kooner is just trying to plan ahead.

“The owners are simply trying to position their house on the corner of their acreage in the event of future development,” Seguin said.

Seguin then launched some harsh words at opponents of the change, accusing them of having “fabricated” or “trumped up” complaints. Seguin called them “disgruntled” and “anti-development” and a “cabal” with “allegiance to certain council members.”

“I’m not a member of anything,” said Colleen Vanderbet, who lives across the street.

She said she knows the area will be developed one day, but worries that the change could create a precedent under a new Official Community Plan.

She also said she’s worried about the neighbourhood lacking parking in the future.

Jackie Mandzak, who ran for council last November, said the council should stick with the current rules for setbacks and zoning. 

She also opposed any changes until the new OCP is brought forward.

The Township council received a number of letters opposing the change.

Township council voted six to three to allow the variance.

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