Langford councillors advance development plan for forest, despite residents’ dismay

About 200 residents of Langford crammed the municipal council meeting space Monday to object to a 450-home development in south Langford.

Residents object to seeing Ridley Bros. Development Ltd., turn about 70 acres of forest at 950 Worrall Dr. and 804 Latoria Rd. into a mix of small-lot family homes, townhouses, a school and a community centre.

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Residents noted the proposal will drastically alter the nature of south Langford, now dominated by large rural-style, residential lots and open spaces.

“There needs to be more consultation to make this a truly effective proposal,” said one resident at the meeting.

Residents were especially irritated because the municipality is proposing to allow the development to go ahead by creating a new zoning called R5 to accommodate the various proposed land uses.

The property is now designated as RR2, rural residential, that permits agriculture and homes on large lots.

Hearing the proposal were members of Langford’s planning, zoning and affordable housing committee. The committee agreed to send the proposal to council for consideration. But the committee asked the developer to consult with residents and provide more green space — 30 per cent of the site, up from the proposed 25 per cent.

At Monday’s meeting, Frank Lyne, a Langford resident with a background in planning, called the proposal “a rushed attempt forward to accommodate the developer.”

“It’s an attempt to rezone the parcel to a designation that doesn’t even exist,” said Lyne.

The new R5 designation would allow construction of homes on small lots, 200 square metres or less, and townhomes.

But Langford’s Official Community Plan has designated the land “rural with heritage values.” The community plan calls for low-intensity development with a high percentage of open land.

The plan also calls for 40 per cent of the area to be retained as open space.

The developer is offering green space mostly comprised of required riparian zones along the two creeks that pass through the land.

Langford’s existing land-use rules call for a 43-metre-wide riparian protection area on each side of the creeks. But the development is proposing 10 to 15 metres.

As an amenity, the developer is offering to construct 30 of the proposed homes as “affordable.” These would be built in phases.

The first 10 homes, potentially worth at least $500,000 each, would be built and sold for $399,000 or less.

But the remaining 20 would be sold on the open market. They would be constructed on lots smaller than 200 square metres so prices can be lower.

The developer is also proposing to sell a portion of the land to the Sooke School District. But the developer is asking that school playing fields count as green space in reaching its target.

The developer is also offering $1.5 million to the municipality for a recreation facility, possibly built in conjunction with any school.

rwatts@timescolonist

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