Complexities of RGS and ALR: Langley Township decision (Murrayville subdivision) moves agricultural land closer to urbanization, sets precedent

Murrayville subdivision within ALR gets go-ahead
(by Natasha Jones, Langley Times, 7-June-2011)
Excerpt: A majority vote of Township council has moved another piece of Langley agricultural land closer to urbanization.

Below are bullet points of article with an independent comment.

Article bullet points:

  • On May 30, council voted 8-1 to give first and second reading to an application to rezone 11.02 acres for the development of 21 houses. Owners request to exclude the land from the Agricultural Land Reserve was rejected, but the Agricultural Land Commission agreed to subdividing it. This will require rezoning and an amendment to the Township’s Rural Plan, triggering a public hearing. Date not yet set.
  • The ALC refused to exclude the land from the reserve, in part to avoid conflict with the Regional Growth Strategy currently, and to avoid creating expectations in the rest of the area designated Small Farms/Country Estates without ALC endorsement.
  • Councillor Mel Kositsky (only vote against the rezoning bylaw’s first two readings) said “This is setting a bad precedent,” adding that it is premature and may trigger a flood of similar applications.

Independent comment by Jim Wright of Richmond’s Garden City Lands Coalition Society (http://gardencitylands.wordpress.com/)

  • My impression from the Langley Times article is that the ALC is trying to hold its ground but sometimes feels a need to compromise. The half-acre lots will just become building sites for large houses, and most of the value for ALR uses (including conservation uses) will be largely lost. Coun. Mel Kositsky is right that it is setting a bad precedent. In contrast, the “natural buffer” claim sounds like nothing more than spin. The picture I get from the article is that a new residential strip of large houses will be added immediately beside other ALR land, whereas there is currently a road serving as a buffer between ALR land and the existing residential area. In other words, the new development in the ALR will eliminate a buffer, not add one.
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