Full house at July 17 Langford Council MeetingTuesday, July 18 ~ LANGFORD. Last night at Langford Council the room was packed to the rafters, probably about 100 people. There was concern among some of the public that a particular piece of property at 3130 Jacklin Road was fairly soon going to have 13 subdivided lots and a much higher density than people who bought larger lots in the area had banked on.
Turns out it was just a request for rezoning (Bylaw Amendment No 483) without any plans for subdivision, at the preference of the property-owner applicant. However, the documentation that had been published in advance of the meeting did include the 13-lot sketch which was apparently only for discussion purposes following a discussion between the applicant and city staff.
Langford council meetings are usually perfunctory and swift, even the public hearing portions. But this July 17 meeting ran almost three hours as Mayor Stew Young encouraged as much input as the public wanted to give, and the meeting format fell into a more relaxed mode of back-and-forth with the public than is normally the case at Langford meetings. Skillful management of the meeting flow allowed for all opinions to be tossed into the mix. At the end of it, resolved and approved by Council.
Through it all other details surfaced such as the West Shore Parkway completion date targeted for the end of September which will help with traffic flow between Hwy 1 and Hwy 14 without people having through the Langford core area. That will help ease commuter traffic on Jacklin Road and the stretch of Sooke Road between Veteran Memorial Parkway and Happy Valley Road.“We make sure we understand our road networks,” Mayor Young told the full room in council chambers. He said that millions of dollars have been invested in the Jacklin Road corridor over the years including bike lanes and sidewalks, and with his trademark visionary style: “Don’t envision Jacklin Road the way it is now.”
More improvements will be made to Jacklin Road, said Mayor Young. That will include sidewalks on the east side of Jacklin Road.
Engineering staff itemized some of the road improvements that are on the drawing board including on Jenkins Road near the TD Bank exit at West Shore Town Centre, and some dedicated left-turn and right-turn lanes on Jenkins. A new interior road within the Sobey’s property (former SD62 Belmont property) is planned for completion by year-end 2017. Other road improvements in strata property areas are being done so that fire and emergency vehicles will have suitable access.
The usual swirl of public comment emerges from the public about how Langford is changing. The dust from construction and frequent traffic congestion are frequently protested, as well as the changing density of the town core area with more multi-family developments.
In defense of the growth, Stew Young told the public at Monday night’s council meeting: “Developments have paid for what we’re doing now. You’ll see a market improvement (in things overall),” he said. He also promoted the relative affordability of Langford housing. “We have lower prices here because we’re doing supply,” he said, itemizing small lots and suites. He said a 3% to 5% increase in house values in Langford is a good thing for homeowners, quoting a $463,000 average assessed value of homes in Langford. “That’s what we tax on.”
House prices in Langford are the second-lowest in the Greater Victoria area, with only housing prices in farther-out Sooke being lower. The actual raw sales average of 96 houses sold in Langford in June 2017 was $679,155 (HPI data-adjusted price promoted by the Greater Victoria Real Estate Board is $579,000). In Sooke the raw sales average of 38 homes that sold in June was $469,322 (HPI was $463,500).
Other items approved by Council on Monday night included a 36-month Temporary Use Permit (up from 18 months as recommended by the Planning, Zoning and Affordable Housing Committee at their July 10 meeting) for Victoria Hyundai to have a vehicle showroom in the parking lot at the West Shore Town Centre. This follows in an interesting way along the lines of comments made by Architecture Professor Avi Friedman at an economic forum in Langford last weekend that the role of shopping malls is shifting in the wake of changes like online shopping.
Two resolutions from the June 27th Protective Services Committee (chaired by Councillor Lillian Szpak) were approved by Council — to accept the West Shore RCMP Annual Year End Report and the RCMP Municipal Contract Policing Multi-Year Plan (which will see an increase of four more police officers for a special on-bicycle unit to in particular police the Langford core area). And the Cherish seniors living complex got their liquor licence approved for happy hour.
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