A 3,600 square foot restaurant site is expected to replace some of the boarded up buildings in Fort Langley’s downtown after Township council voted in favour of the project on Monday.
Site Lines Architecture has applied to build a new one-storey structure, on a two-lot site which extends from the south end of the building that contains Wendel’s Bookstore and Cafe down to the north end of Gasoline Alley.
The plan includes retaining the walnut tree and wood deck surrounding it on the north end of the site.
The site will include a sizable patio area as well as outdoor picnic spaces. There will also be a green space and some playground equipment.
The existing buildings on the site, which are currently boarded up and have been closed for some time, will be demolished and replaced.
The restaurant will seat 80 people inside with a capacity for an additional 40 people outside on the deck area, according to Gord Klassen of Site Lines Architecture.
The site drew some debate from council about the design of the building, as well as some discussion about parking and laneways, which are often issues for developments in the Fort, where parking is at a premium.
In the end, the council voted 6-2 in favour of the project, with Councillors Petrina Arnason and Bob Long opposed.
Long said he had some issues with the style of the building.
Before building anything in downtown Fort Langley, the Township council has to issue a heritage alteration permit, because of the heritage character of the area.
Councillor Eric Woodward recused himself from the debate and vote because the development is a project of his charity foundation under the umbrella of the Fort Langley Project, a series of proposed redevelopments. The ultimate aim is to fund local charities from the profits from Fort Langley properties and developments.
“Approval to finally replace the last few of these permanently derelict structures is a very positive step forward for Fort Langley,” Woodward said in the wake of the vote. “The board felt we had to propose a modest, no-variance development permit to ensure we would be able to move forward with something, at least.”
The buildings, which include the former Lampliter Cafe, have been boarded up for the last few years after Statewood reached an impasse with the Township over previous development plans.
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