Hundreds packed a June 2017 public hearing on the Brookswood-Fernridge official community plan. (Langley Advance Times files)

Hundreds packed a June 2017 public hearing on the Brookswood-Fernridge official community plan. (Langley Advance Times files)

LETTER: Langley Township plans for Brookswood Fernridge do density wrong

A “radical departure from the traditional norms of developments in Langley”

Dear Editor,

Re: [Brookswood needs input, Langley Advance Times, Feb. 24]

The Planning Department is requesting feedback on the Booth/Fernridge/Rinn Draft Neighbourhood Plans.

As these are very wordy, complex and difficult for even informed people to digest, the average person would have great difficulty.

How much does the public really know?

Since the COVID lockdown, there have been no public open houses. Everything has been virtual on-line.

These plans are prepared by the planners, like a closed loop, the feedback goes back to the planners who make all decisions, then it goes to council for approval.

During the B/F Community Plan process in 2017, the people said they didn’t want it to be like Willoughby. What they meant was they didn’t want higher density small lot compact housing with parking problems in single family areas. So the council designated 7,000 sq. ft. lots and 10 per cent could be 5,000 sq. ft. for single family areas.

4.2 Cluster Conservation Development (CCD). (Page 53 Booth Plan)

Policy 1… Forces ‘all subdivisions and developments’ to apply this cluster method.

Cluster method is basically trading existing trees on part of the development site for “denser clusters of dwelling units” on the remainder.

In the Single Family 3 (the great majority of area) of 7,000 sq. ft. lots, this will result in inferior quality more compact housing and parking problems, precisely what the people negatively related to about Willoughby.

The cluster approach is an experimental concept usually applied to hillside and unusual terrain where the grid system does not lend itself.

The large majority of land here in Brookswood/Fernridge is level ground, conducive to the traditional grid system.

By making the cluster method mandatory to all development, it basically undermines the community plan’s 7,000 sq. ft. lots.

It appears they are using this cluster method to increase the density beyond the 10 per cent limitation of 5,000 sq. ft. lots.

Policy 2… Page 54, “Provide a minimum of 26 per cent of the net developable land area of a development site for the purposes of contributing to and establishing a neighbourhood-wide network of Nature Conservation Areas….”etc.

They are taking away 26 per cent of all the “net developable land”, up front off the top.

When you add this 26 per cent to the (subdivision five per cent parkland dedication) and roads, greenways, trails etc. you are left with only about 1/3 of the land to build houses.

It appears far too onerous and out of proportion loss of developable land, (also considering land values), can only sacrifice the quality of housing. The trees play their part for the ambience of livability, but people can’t live in trees.

Affordability?… Considering land values, this will likely jack up housing prices by over 20 per cent. We know that basic housing has become a huge challenge for the working class, yet we keep adding amenities and taking away developable land, that just drives the cost even higher.

We should be more responsible instead of always passing the problem to other levels of government.

Confiscation of land without compensation should not apply to any developments.

We should be getting our densities from townhouse and apartment buildings, not by subverting the Single Family 3 (7,000 sq. ft. lot) areas.

This appears a radical departure from the traditional norms of developments in Langley.

Roland Seguin, Fernridge

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• READ MORE: LETTER: Langley Township consultation on Brookswood Fernridge plan changes lacking

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