Township of Langley Raises Concerns Over Provincial Housing Legislation

residential developments in Fraser Valley British Columbia Canada December 4, 2023

by Mike Harrison

At the November 20th council meeting, a staff presentation was made to Mayor and Council outlining the requirements of the new provincial housing legislation, summarizing the potential impact and highlighting a preliminary list of significant challenges that are coming as a result of the new legislation.

The staff presentation began with a succinct summary of the three new bills coming down the pike which will amend the Local Government Act with the following:

Bill 44 – Residential Development Amendment Act will require municipalities to amend the existing zoning bylaw to:

  • Allow a secondary suite or accessory dwelling on all lots zoned single family or duplex
  • Accommodate the next 20 years of housing needs as identified in the Housing Needs Report

An accompanying technical manual released by the Province indicates that the new policy will permit 3-4 units on each single family or duplex lot and up to 6 units on lots near frequent transit.

This Bill was clarified to be, effectively, a pre-zoning of property to a density which would create 24,800 units of housing (based on the Township of Langley’s current Housing Needs Report).

Municipalities are required to update their existing zoning bylaws accordingly by June 2024 and update on a rolling basis every 5 years thereafter to align with each updated Housing Needs Report.

Bill 46 – Development Financing Amendment Act will

  • Expand the types of infrastructure which can be paid for with Development Cost Charges (DCCs) to include fire halls, waste facilities, police facilities, etc.
  • Establish a new Amenity Cost Charges (ACCs) fee which would effectively replace the existing Community Amenity Contributions (CACs) and collect funds for libraries, community centres, daycares, etc. The new ACCs would be collected at Building Permit or Subdivision rather than at Final Adoption of rezoning.

Bill 47 – Transit-Oriented Areas Amendment Act will require municipalities to

  • Allow minimum levels of density, size and dimensions within Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Areas
  • Remove parking minimums within TOD Areas
  • Designated their TOD Areas by June 2024

In the TOL this may include areas within 400 metres of the Carvolth Transit Exchange, within 800 metres of the future Willowbrook SkyTrain Station and within 400 metres of the future Bus Rapid Transit stops along 200 Street through Willoughby.

Potential Challenges

The new legislation poses a long list of potential challenges for the Township of Langley and similar municipalities in the Fraser Valley. The staff presentation outlined these implications to mayor and council and the highlights include:

  1. Concern that pre-zoning land would eliminate the municipality’s ability to secure critical development items currently managed with the rezoning process such as land dedications, servicing upgrades, parking provisions and the collection of bonus density fees.
  2. Delays in community projects as the collection of ACCs will be delayed until Building Permit stage rather than at Final Reading for current CACs.
  3. Increased burden on existing and future infrastructure (roads, parks, schools, sanitary/water services, etc.) and the costs required to update existing Engineering Servicing Plans, some of which have just been created.
  4. The lack of staff resources to meet the aggressive timelines imposed to amend complex policies and bylaws.
  5. Competing priorities between development of greenfield areas and the redevelopment of brownfield neighbourhoods which would now require significant attention in order to plan for the unexpected additional density.
  6. Uncertainty around the future of upcoming greenfield areas such as Booth, Fernridge and Rinn in Brookswood, now that density in those areas could potentially double.

The staff presentation wrapped by suggesting Mayor and Council consider suspending and/or repealing neighbourhood plans in greenfield areas (eg. Brookswood, Williams, etc.) as well as reconsidering all single-family subdivision development applications.

CLICK THIS LINK to watch the recording of the council meeting containing the staff presentation and subsequent discussion. The presentation starts at 48:08.

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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Data sourced from Fraser Valley Real Estate Board