Editor: There is a public hearing scheduled for the proposed Fort Langley Coulter Berry Building on Nov. 19. While I appreciate that public input is being considered, I’m uncomfortable with the possibility that this building could be approved without amending the current bylaws, or addressing the OCP (Official Community Plan).
The Fort Langley OCP and the Heritage Bylaws were designed with input from many people and organizations, not just Township council. I feel that it would be unfair and improper for council to circumvent the guidelines currently in place, to such a degree.
Many volunteers, after consultation with the community, drafted the OCP and gave input on the current bylaws. I would hope requested variances of this nature would not be granted without first examining the OCP and the Heritage Bylaws, to first decide if the community wants them amended.
This building is not asking for a slight variation from the current rules. It is asking to re-write the current rules. The current proposal is one storey more than currently allowed, while being well over a dozen feet higher than the bylaws currently allow. It is also seven per cent over the allotted 60 per cent lot coverage rule.
I do not have an issue with council granting small variances — after all, they are “guidelines.” Variances should be granted in cases when the developer is trying to keep mostly within the guidelines. If the developer needs 31 feet as opposed to 29.5 feet (current height limit) to create an additional feature benefiting the community while still respecting the OCP, that would be acceptable.
In my eyes, few of the requested variances are minor. It would be naive to think that the approval of this building would not change the current makeup, and the future of our town — whether it be for the better, or worse.
Council should listen to the voices of the people, and amend the bylaws and the OCP in accordance to what the community wants as a whole before approving a development that will forever change the face of Fort Langley.
Fort Langley Community Association, Langley Heritage Society, BIA, Township staff, and most importantly Fort Langley residents need to work together and decide to leave the OCP and the bylaws as they are now, or amend them.
I am in favour of new development in Fort Langley. I appreciate many elements within the Coulter Berry Building, and look forward to new shops, restaurants and services being built. However, the developer should work within the current bylaws and OCP until such a time that the community deems they need amending.
one developer should not have the power to chance the makeup of a small historic town forever. I ask that Council reject the current proposal of the Coulter Berry Building, and that