Council rejects Leavitt Machinery expansion in 8-1 vote

Proposal for industrial office, training and maintenance facility failed third reading on March 19

Leavitt Machinery will not be moving forward with their expansion plans.

On March 19, council voted 8-1 against a proposal from the equipment dealer to turn their Langley shop — one of nearly 30 locations in Western Canada and the United States — into an industrial office, training and maintenance facility.

Only Mayor Jack Froese was in favour.

At a public hearing in July 2017, neighbours who live near the facility at 24389 Fraser Hwy, told council to ‘Leavitt alone,’ citing concerns with noise, light pollution and the aquifer.

When the application came up for third reading in September, council referred it to staff to discuss restricting the uses to office and indoor training.

READ MORE: Neighbours say ‘Leavitt alone’ to industrial property expansion

Coun. Kim Richter asked what changes the proponent had made to the application since the referral.

Ramin Seifi, Township manager of engineering and community development, said Leavitt proposed to install a 2 metre high sound wall along the north and west sides of the property, and to make some operational amendments.

For most of council, those changes were not enough.

“The referral was very clear. It says to staff to discuss with the proponent restricting the uses to the office and indoor training. Now it’s difficult for me, because I am very much pro business, but this is an anomaly,” said Coun. Bob Long.

“In my opinion, this doesn’t really address what we asked them for,” Coun. Petrina Arnason added.

“My problem is that it’s not a good interface with the properties to the north. These are beautiful residential homes, and so I think what clearly was brought forward, from my recollection of the public hearing, is that people wanted to have the quiet enjoyment … of their property.”

“I think a 2 metre high fence changed into a 2 metre high noise barrier wall is a step, but it’s not near far enough as to where it needs to go,” said Coun. Blair Whitmarsh.

“I think it’s pretty clear that their business doesn’t fit there.”

Coun. Angie Quaale noted that noise wasn’t the only concern brought up at the public hearing.

“It was also about the lights,” she said.

“It’s unfortunate that … their only solution was this 2 metre sound mitigation.”

Mayor Froese, however, had an alternative view.

“Really, if Leavitt leaves, it could be somebody else going in there that would have 24 hour use in that same property,” he said.

“I think the proponent has taken some measures and heard council in that our concern was the noise, and the neighbour’s concern was the noise, and they’ve done some work to mitigate that noise.”

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