3 things not to miss in the Brookswood-Fernridge draft NCPs

May 4, 2022

By Mike Harrison

Back in October of 2017, Township of Langley council approved the Brookswood-Fernridge Official Community Plan (OCP), which included the requirement to create four new neighbourhood plans. The planning process for three of the four neighbourhoods began immediately, and, on February 11, 2022, after years of work and community engagement complicated by the pandemic, the Township published the highly anticipated draft neighbourhood plans for Booth, Fernridge and Rinn.

Leading up to the release of the draft plans, all indications were that the plans would simply be a more detailed version of the new OCP and that there would be minimal deviation from the OCP which, by most standards, was far more detailed than a typical OCP. At face value the neighbourhood plans are indeed substantially similar to the blueprint set out by the OCP. For example, land use designations are mostly as described in the OCP and engineering and servicing is consistent; however, there are a handful of provisions that, if approved, would significantly impact the timeline and quantity of homes that would be delivered to the market.


Brookswood-Fernridge draft NCPs
Image source: Township of Langley

If you only skim the plan documents, it’s not hard to miss that:

  1. Each neighbourhood requires a 12-acre school and park site prior to any additional development

    The requirement for a new elementary school in each of the three neighbourhoods is not a surprise as this stipulation was included in the 2017 OCP, plus this is the same stipulation that has been included in other neighbourhood plans in Langley, like those in Willoughby. What makes this significant is that each 12-acre site, comprised of 6-acres for an elementary school and 6-acres for an adjacent park, must be dedicated prior to any future developments receiving approval. Again, this is the same process as was seen in Willoughby; however, it seems to have been overlooked by many land purchasers in Brookswood over the past few years. The risk is that we could have a repeat of Southwest Yorkson, a sub-neighbourhood in Willoughby, that had an approved neighbourhood plan for more than a decade before a developer managed to assemble enough land to justify dedicating the school and park site.

  2. 26% of each development must be dedicated greenspace

    All three neighbourhood plans require that 26% of the net developable area of each development site be allocated for Terrestrial Nature Conservation areas. On its own, this is a shocking provision but then layer on top single-family densities which are calculated based on minimum lot size rather than units per acre based on gross site area, like in some Willoughby neighbourhood plans. If densities were calculated as units per acre on the gross site area you may be able to transfer some of the density from the greenspace area to the developable area but with minimum lot sizes, developments will just be building fewer homes.

  3. Land designated Single Family 3 requires a complex mixture of housing typologies

    Single Family 3, the most common land use designation throughout the three neighbourhood plans, requires that no one housing typology (single dwelling, two dwelling, three dwelling, four dwelling, etc.) can exceed 60% of the total number of dwelling units and there must be a minimum of 3 housing typologies. Housing diversity is important but again, what we saw in Willoughby where there are similar requirements, is unless it is a large master-planned community, this strict prescription makes it difficult to develop smaller (2 to 2.5-acre) parcels efficiently, which results in fewer homes and less cohesive neighbourhoods. For more detail, check out the draft the complete draft plan documents at the following links:

Keep in mind that the plans are only drafts at this stage. The Township of Langley just closed out a final phase of public engagement on March 21st which could result in further changes. I will certainly be watching closely for future announcements and updates from the Township.

For more information on the residential development land market in the Fraser Valley or to sign up for my monthly newsletter, please contact:

Mike Harrison

    • Principal, Development Land Sales
    • Land and Development
[email protected]

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