TWP housing plan fought

Langley Township heard a lot about its proposed lots in an undeveloped plot of Aldergrove land.

Township council held a public hearing on Jan. 20 about rezoning the land to allow for a 61 home subdivision, and plenty of people rose to voice their concerns.

The Township was presented with more than 200 signatures on a petition opposing the project in the 27500 block of 28th Avenue.

Langley owns the land and wants to put on single family homes (61, seven of which have coach houses).

The development would include 40 per cent of the 19.1 acre site set aside as conservation area, such as a buffer zone along Bertrand Creek and in the southeast corner.

The land abuts the border between Aldergrove and Abbotsford.

The northeast corner of the site was once a lagoon. It was the site of the Township’s water treatment plant and the former site of the sewage treatment plant. The engineering department declared the land surplus and is working on ensuring it’s compliant with remediation requirements so it can be rezoned.

Township was told that the site contains lots of low value trees with the growth being 40-50 years old. About two thirds of the trees are evergreens.

Based on Langley School District estimates, the homes would add about 100 kids to local schools, where is capacity.

One speaker complained about the stench of the standing water while another said she hadn’t noticed a smell and saw wildlife using the area.

Teacher Jessica Horst said she would like to see the area left in its natural state so the public can continue to use it as a park. She noted that schools have environmental clubs and curriculum.

“This forest is very easily accessible,” she said of nearby Aldergrove schools.

She added that with the aging population and a lack of housing options for seniors, any development should be seniors’ housing.

Trevor Nicholson noted that once the area is developed and paved, it will change the water table and drainage.

Lee Hollaar suggested the Township, to boost density in Aldergrove, look at creative development.

“Why would we want to add more single family dwellings when, in fact, we’re looking for something with higher density?” he questioned.

He and others noted that this proposal contradicts Township development plans for Aldergrove.

Developer Mike O’Neill is working on getting the 50 acres just to the south of the Township site taken out of the Agricultural Land Reserve so it can be developed. He asked the Township to extend the road from the south end of its property, which is a cul de sac, through to allow access to his 50 acre project. He said he’s been having difficulty negotiating access from the east side of the property, which abuts Abbotsford.

“This all places an extreme burden on our property,” he said.

He asked that the Township project be referred back to staff to be reworked “and we would have an opportunity to work with staff on an overall plan for the area.”

Township council will take the public hearing submissions into consideration before making its decision at a future council meeting.

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