Editorial — Coulter Berry 2.0 likely to be approved by Langley Township council

A new proposal for the Coulter Berry building, dubbed version 2.0, seems likely to win approval from Langley Township council. Given that developer Statewood Properties is now asking that the land be rezoned, a suggestion made by the judge who overturned council’s initial approval of a heritage alteration permit, it seems rezoning could withstand a court challenge.

It is very unfortunate that the Township went down the heritage alteration permit route the first time. The project was far beyond the scope outlined in the Township’s own heritage guidelines for Fort Langley, a point made over and over by members of the community. They were given short shrift by most members of council.

The end result was a court case launched by a group of  people who opposed a number of elements of the design and felt that concerns raised were ignored. Because of the way the Township chose to proceed, the judge stopped work on the project — after a large hole had already been dug, and workers were preparing to take the next step.

Statewood Properties has stated that the decision to stop work has cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars. It has also left a large hole on a prominent corner in Fort Langley, and visitors to the village are constantly asking why there is no work going forward on the project.

The developer is not reducing the height of the building, or the number of storeys, concerns that often came up during a lengthy public hearing. However, the new design incorporates a  better interface with the neighbouring property to the south, and contains one less residential unit. A wider breezeway in the midst of the building will allow for a better connection to Lee’s Market, a major Fort Langley business.

The revised design also incorporates more of what Statewood calls “a design that looks more like a traditional main street. The new look will seem like a collection of smaller buildings that built up over time.”

The developer wants to get back this project on track. It is likely the new application will allow that to happen.

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