Nearly 200 people made their way to Langford City Hall Monday night to voice their concerns and oppose a 73-acre development in South Langford.
Ridley Bros. Development Ltd. has applied to rezone forested lands bordering 804 Latoria Rd. and 950 Worrall Dr. to allow for a 450-home development. It would be a mix of single-family homes on small lots, townhouses, recreational amenities, a community facility and a potential school site.
At Monday’s planning, zoning and affordable housing committee meeting, committee voted to bring the development proposal to council with the amendments that 30 per cent of the land — as opposed to the standard 25 per cent — be designated green space and that the developer is to have another public consultation before going to council.
“We’re disappointed,” said Nicole Polet, a member of a group called Citizens of South Langford for Sustainable Development (CSLSD).
The group is made up of many individuals who are neighbours to the 73-acre land parcel and asked that Langford create a forested park in the area instead, integrating development and natural green space.
“Despite a giant group of people…and possibly one of the best turnouts [the city has] seen, they still pushed it through,” Polet said. “We didn’t feel heard.”
Polet said the group is concerned about what will make up the 30 per cent of green space that will be set aside. She said they worry it will be part of people’s back yards where they might be able to cut down trees if they want. The group is also worried that a school may not be placed on the land — even though the developer has proposed a possible school site — because there are currently no assurances of it being built.
Langford Coun. Denise Blackwell said the possibility of a school site on the lands is a big reason for moving forward with the proposal.
Blackwell said she received a call from Ravi Parmar — SD62 trustee — on the weekend saying it was important to get a site set aside for a new elementary school in the area. She said rezoning the land parcel is an important step to possibly opening a school on it.
“We’re just doing broad brush rezoning of the land,” Blackwell said. “[The developer] has to do their due diligence but as far as I’m concerned [the school] is a critical piece of the rezoning proposal.”
The developer proposed that playing fields attached to the school count as part of the 30 per cent of mandatory green space.
They have also proposed green space to exist in the riparian zones along two creeks that pass through the land. Langford’s Official Community Plan designates that development be 43 metres from either side of the high watermark of a body of water to ensure riparian areas are protected. The developer is proposing the non-disturbance area be lessened to 15 metres from the high-water mark on either side of the creeks.
Blackwell said in addition to streamside protection, more green space will be added.
“I’m not sure where it would be but in my view, it shouldn’t be in people’s backyards,” Blackwell said.
While Polet said she agrees affordable housing is needed, she noted that only 10 of the 450 planned homes will be affordable, according to the proposal.
The developer is proposing to construct 30 homes as small lot homes on parcels of 200 square metres or less. The first 10 would be offered for no more than $399,000 and the additional 20 would be sold at current market value.
Langford Mayor Stew Young said he’d like to see the 73 acres go towards housing, green space, a school, a turf field and a village centre.
Blackwell also noted these plans are in very early stages and that there will be more time to review the proposal and make changes if needed.
Polet said the CSLSD group members are thankful for an opportunity to speak out and meet with the developer but she said they also have an action plan lined up to continue challenging the development.
“An overwhelming majority of us want to see part of that land protected as a park,” Polet said. “We’re continuing to fight for what we feel is appropriate for the community.”