Langford city council is mulling two large apartment-style developments that would add over 400 residential units, but a number of locals aren’t happy with the plan.
The first would see 352 units, split between two mixed-use buildings between 904 and 914 Dunford Ave. near its intersection with Jacklin Road. The plan also calls for 1,000 square metres of ground-floor commercial space that would either front onto Dunford Avenue or Jacklin Road. The two buildings would be part of Langford’s city centre zone, as the city continues its push for densification.
Langford hosted a talk on March 5 by McGill University architecture professor Avi Friedman, who has worked with the city on the vision for its downtown and still occasionally consults with the city. While she supported Friedman’s vision, Coun. Lillian Szpak voiced concern about greenspace and said the city needed a strategy for developing Langford’s downtown.
Mayor Stew Young said protecting greenspace before developing is a “chicken and egg situation,” as much of the city’s green space is paid for through an amenities fund contributed to by developers, who are charged per unit of housing. The city needs that money to prevent large tax increases from being passed onto residents for buying greenspace, he added.
Greenery was also an issue for the proposed rezoning of 350 Lone Oak Pl. The lot includes a portion of Millstream Creek, which also has a park trail running alongside it. The developers are proposing the riparian area bordering the river be given to the city, which would take over the role of protecting the habitat.
The development plans for 75-unit apartment building, with zoning rules allowing for up to six storeys. The area is bordered by the Trans-Canada Highway and is in a single-family dwelling subdivision. Residents in the area sent in emails that recounted a long list of concerns, mainly focusing on the number of cars the development would bring and its impacts on the nearby greenspace.
The medium-density apartment zoning being sought for the development requires 2.75 parking spaces per dwelling unit of two bedrooms or less and 3.75 spaces for each unit of three or more bedrooms. A number of residents in correspondence said this allowance does not encourage active transportation and would lead to too much traffic in the area.
Among them, Amanda Chisholm worries the area would become “just another neighbourhood bulldozed over by development.”
“We are a neighbourhood of mainly single-family homes and chose to buy here due to that fact. Surely some areas in Langford need to be left for people who want a choice besides high-density living?” Chisholm wrote in an email to council.
A change.org petition drafted by residents who oppose the rezoning had around 200 signatures as of March 8.
Council passed the first reading on the Dunford Avenue development during Monday’s meeting (March 7) and received the staff report on the Lone Oak Place proposal for information.