The proposed hotel.

Fort Langley boutique hotel proposal hits a snag

Township planners are insisting on a lane through the middle of the project, Eric Woodward says

Builder Eric Woodward says a proposed boutique hotel for Fort Langley may have to be cancelled because Langley Township planners are insisting a municipal lane must be built through the building that would house the hotel.

On Sunday, an online message posted by Woodward on his “Department of Fort Langley Awesomeness” website said “the implications for the boutique hotel are grim.”

He said the lane the Township planning and transportation staff wants for the 1.39 acre site at Glover Road and Mary Avenue would run through the middle of the planned courtyard plaza and performance space and force its removal.

If the courtyard goes, Woodward warned, that would mean no green space and hotel rooms that look onto what he called, in a related post to the “We Support Fort Langley Awesomeness” Facebook page, an “ugly lane to nowhere for garbage trucks.”

The plaza also hides the surface parking lot, underground parking entry ramp, eight garage entry doors, loading zones, garbage and recycling areas, and the rear of the commercial buildings, Woodward said.

Eliminating the plaza would mean the underground parkade would have to be split into two separate sides, with two entry ramps.

“I don’t think it would be a very good design any more,” Woodward told the Times.

“I don’t know if I can get it done.”

Woodward said he spent 10 years assembling eight properties on the site so an integrated design could be built.

The project proposal, submitted to the Township following a series of public meetings and focus groups held by Woodward last year, calls for a three-storey mix of residential and business space including underground parking.

Woodward said the demand for the lane from planning and transportation staff came as a surprise because the Fort Langley Community Plan doesn’t require one.

“I don’t understand why they’re (the planners) doing this,” Woodward said.

“Why would they even want one (a lane)?”

Woodward said he decided to go public about the disagreement with the municipal planners because many people have been asking him for an update on the proposed hotel and there has been no progress for several months.

It is not the first time Woodward and Township planners have been at odds.

He noted municipal planners did not support his Coulter Berry Building, but their objections were overridden by council.

Woodward said he thinks council will need to intervene again if the hotel is to proceed.

Woodward is calling on hotel supporters to register online at dofla.org/register.

On Monday, Ramin Seifi, general manager of engineering and community development for the Township, said the project is still under staff review and is not expected to reach council for “the next few months.”

“As is staff’s obligation, we have raised some issues that are related to traffic movement, servicing and services,” Seifi said.

The concerns raised by staff do not represent a rejection of the hotel, Seifi said.

“We are not suggesting that the use is not appropriate,” Seifi said.

As for the observation by Woodward that there is no specific language in the official community plan that requires a lane, Seifi said “not everything is laid out in the community plan, because it would be impossible and impractical to spell out all the requirements.”

Staff must consider the impact of the project in the context of the surrounding area, Seifi added.