A Langley developer will have to make 25 per cent of any future project elder-appropriate, but won't be required to build a senior's complex.
Township council voted Monday to require a quarter of all units in the Jericho sub-neighbourhood, on 200th Street opposite the Langley Events Centre, to meet SaferHomes standards.
Standards like SaferHomes, or Universal Design, mean a building has lower light switches, higher electrical plugs, and bathrooms designed for easier access with a walker or wheelchair. They're intended to allow residents to age in place, and to make modifications for the elderly easier and cheaper.
When the land was first created as a special sub-region in Willoughby, the Mitrunen family intended to create a seniors housing area. With that not financially feasible, they asked the Township to change their community plan and strip out the seniors-specific rules.
No one on council was fond of simply scrapping all seniors housing, but an argument broke out over how much of the development should be modified to SaferHomes.
Councillor Kim Richter called for 100 per cent of all units there to meet SaferHome-style standards, with Coun. Grant Ward quickly attempting to amend that idea to 50 per cent.
"I think a hundred per cent is asking an awful lot," Ward said.
Richter noted that the entire project was originally to have been for seniors, and noted the increasing numbers of elderly people who will be calling Langley home in the future.
The modified motion was eventually defeated on a four to four tie.
Coun. Bob Long suggested a 25 per cent rate for SaferHomes units in any future development.
"I'm not supporting it, this is a travesty," Richter said.
Some of those who had balked at the higher number, however, now found they could accept the number.
"The developer can still go above that, we're just setting a minimum," said Mayor Jack Froese.
The vote carried 6-2 with Richter and Coun. David Davis opposed.
The land has not yet been rezoned for development, and the rules are being created as part of a community plan amendment.
Parts of the Jericho area could be developed with up to 20 storey buildings, a prospect that led to some wrangling on council two years ago.
@ Copyright 2013