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A compromise reached
A compromise has been reached between residents of Huntsfield Green and developers of a new townhouse complex, after a July 7 public hearing before Langley City council was adjourned to allow time for more information to be gathered about the project.
The 23-year-old Huntsfield Green complex, a 117 unit 55-plus community, is located directly south of a 1.03 acre parcel between 19690-19720 55A Ave., on which the developer wants to build 28 new two- and three-bedroom townhouses.
"I see some major changes in the attitude and the approach to all the properties in the 55A area," said Huntsfield Green homeowner John Fuller on Monday, July 21, when the public hearing was resumed before council's last regular meeting until September.
At the July 7 hearing the main issue local residents had with the design is that it calls for pedestrian-only access from 55A Avenue on the development's north side, while vehicle traffic would enter the complex from a back lane, which runs along the Huntsfield Green property line.
The lane allowance already exists, but has remained an undeveloped strip between the properties.
Project proponent Fred Adab of F. Adab Architects told council on Monday that the lane will be paved, with drainage directed to the centre of the lane into an underground storm sewer. He added that speed humps are also being looked at as a possible way to reduce car speed.
Traffic consultant Jon Voss, hired by the proponent last week to answer questions stemming from the last public hearing, said that he estimates the increase in traffic due to the new development would be "quite negligible", equalling approximately 15 more cars per hour. He added that the paved lane way could handle 100 vehicles per hour before there is a need for another access point to 55A street, although secondary access may be needed sooner for emergency vehicles.
As well, architects have added plans to replace an older retaining wall on the south side of the lane way. A new concrete retaining wall will be built, forming the curb of the lane, and an existing fence built by Huntsfield Green will be replaced on top of it.
Fuller said Huntsfield residents were still concerned about sight lines from their backyards and porches into the new development, and asked about the possibility of making the retaining wall one foot higher.
Adab said the developer was open to the idea.
After the hearing, council voted unanimously during their regular meeting to approve a zoning bylaw amendment to accommodate the 28 townhomes. According to Adab, he expects with Monday's approval that ground will be broken at the site in nine to 11 months.
"I think we've arrived at a point where there's a pretty good compromise," said Hall, adding that he believes the townhouse development is preferable to a four storey structure.