Community Amenity Contributions

As one of the fastest growing municipalities in Metro Vancouver, the Township of Langley is a desirable community to live and work. Many factors make the Township an attractive community. The rich endowment of parks and community amenities is one of the top reasons for a high livability and quality of life in the Township.

The Township is considering a comprehensive Community Amenity Contribution (CAC) program in which developers provide funding for community amenities, as part of a rezoning process that involves a change in land use and/or a change in density. A community amenity can be any public benefit, improvement, or contribution that can enhance the quality of life for Langley residents. Examples include public spaces, trails, greenways, affordable and special needs housing, fire halls, libraries, and recreation facilities.

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Thank you to all who attended the Open House on April 5, 2018, and completed the Feedback Survey. The public consultation phase is now complete and staff are reviewing public response and feedback for consideration of (1) community amenities to include in the CAC program, and (2) establishing priorities for the provision of the included amenities.

If you were not able to attend the Open House or participate in the public consultation phase and have questions regarding the CAC program which are not answered on this page, please email cdinfo@tol.ca.  

Legislative and Policy Context

Local Government Act

The Local Government Act (LGA) enables local governments to require services, collect fees and/or obtain land from new development to address certain impacts of growth. It allows municipalities to use a number of financing tools for the provision of infrastructure, amenities and services that are needed to support growth. These tools include:

  • RoadDevelopment Cost Charges (DCC): A DCC bylaw is a financing tool provided by LGA s. 932 through 937 to assist local governments in paying the capital costs of installing certain off-site services, the installation of which is directly or indirectly affected by the development of lands and/or the alteration/extension of buildings. DCCs can be established for providing, constructing, altering, or expanding facilities related only to the following local government services:
    • roads, other than off-street parking;
    • sewage;
    • water;
    • drainage; and
    • parkland acquisition and improvement.

DCCs are payable by parties obtaining an approval of subdivision or a building permit, as the case may be.

The Township has had Development Cost Charges since 1986. The current DCC Bylaw No. 4963 came into effect on January 14, 2013. It is being updated to reflect current costs and market conditions.

  • School Site Acquisition Charges (SSAC): Development applications that increase the number of self-contained dwelling units must pay a SSAC. The charge is payable concurrently with the DCC, either at the time of subdivision for single family lots, or at the Building Permit stage for any new construction, alteration or extension of multi-family buildings. SSACs were implemented by School District No. 35 pursuant to Property Bylaw No. 2-2001 and LGA s. 571 through 581.
  • Phased Development Agreements (PDA): Under LGA s. 516, municipalities may enter into PDAs to specify additional terms and conditions, as part of a rezoning process. The additional terms and conditions may include the provision of amenities. The Township is using this tool to obtain cash-in-lieu of amenity from in-stream applications in Brookswood-Fernridge, in the absence of a greenway amenity policy in place for that community.
  • Density Bonus Zoning: LGA s. 482 enables local governments to provide options for the developer to build either to the “base” density or to a higher density, if they provide certain amenities or affordable housing, or meet other specified conditions. The developer, by right, always has the option of developing at the base density, but usually has an incentive to consider higher densities. The Township has greenway amenity policies (GAPs) for areas such as 208 Street Density Review (in Northeast Gordon Estate), Carvolth, Central Gordon, Jericho, Latimer, Smith, and Yorkson. The GAPs were established to fund the costs of greenway amenities in each neighbourhood, with differing paces of development occurring in Willoughby. The majority of developers have opted to take advantage of density bonus zoning and contributed based on the GAPs.
  • Community Amenity Contributions (CAC): Also under LGA s. 482, local governments can obtain financial contributions from developers for amenities, affordable housing and special needs housing. The contribution would be obtained by the local government if, and when, the local government decides to adopt the rezoning bylaw. Based on best practices, CACs can be collected based on two methods: (1) case-by-case negotiation, where a contribution is agreed-to between the developer and the local government, and (2) fixed rate, where contribution is based on a program composed of a prioritized list of community amenities and a pre-determined rate for each new housing unit. The Township is exploring a fixed rate CAC program that would apply to all residential developments in the entire Township. In other words, CAC would be a Township-wide program, whereas Density Bonus Zoning is based on the GAPS in respective neighbourhoods.

Township of Langley Official Community Plan

The Township of Langley adopted a new Official Community Plan (OCP) in 2016. The OCP has the following policies that support the development of a CAC program:

  • OCP Goal: Ensure Fiscal Accountability: The OCP has eleven (11) overarching goals for a sustainable and well-managed community. One of the goals is to ensure fiscal accountability by ensuring development will pay as much of the costs of growth as possible. Having a CAC program would help meet the aspiration of this goal.
  • Housing Policies: The housing policies in the OCP encourage CAC contributions for affordable housing as a community benefit (s. 3.1.4).
  • ParkParks and Open Space Policies: The policies provides for integration of park planning and design into broader community planning initiatives related to land use, residential development, transportation and community amenity provision (s.3.14.4).
  • Financing Development: The OCP has a policy to explore the potential for community amenity charges to cover the costs of facilities and amenities required for urban development that are not funded by DCCs (s. 4.4.3).

Both the LGA and OCP provide a strong legislative and policy foundation for the Township to consider a CAC Program.

Council Direction and Work To-Date

Council has directed staff to: (1) undertake a needs assessment for a target rate CAC policy approach, (2) engage the development industry, stakeholders, and the public to obtain feedback; and (3) present the policy framework to Council for approval. The progress to-date is summarized below.

Needs Assessment

To facilitate the needs assessment, a preliminary list of community amenities was used.. These amenities would be required for the projected population growth to 2041, based on the long-term planning horizon in the Metro Vancouver RGS and the Township of Langley OCP. They are listed below (not in any order):

  1. Satellite Operations Centre: Built in mid-1990s when the Township’s population was approximately 60,000, the current Operations Centre has exceeded its capacity. A satellite Operations Centre would be needed to serve new growth in Willoughby, where the current population of approximately 35,000 would grow to approximately 90,000 at build-out.
  2. Satellite RCMP Detachment: The existing RCMP Detachment in Murrayville was built in 1990. Like the Satellite Operations Centre, a Satellite RCMP Detachment (or an expansion to the existing facility) would be required to serve the expanding population in Willoughby and elsewhere in the Township.
  3. FLP Cultural Centre RenderingNew Community Museum: The Langley Centennial Museum in Fort Langley has exceeded its capacity to serve the needs of the Township. More specifically, the museum is increasingly popular to meet the curriculum needs of Langley school-age residents, as a result of new residential growth in the Township. A new community museum has been proposed to replace the Langley Centennial Museum. Funding for the new museum would come from multiple sources, including potential grants from senior levels of government and other partners. The CAC program would provide partial funding of the new museum, based on the amount that would be attributable to growth.
  4. Conference and Entertainment Centre: The Township is growing as a community, where residents expect community amenities that are commonly available in other urban centres. A conference and entertainment centre has been a top-of-mind community facility for many new comers to Langley. Such as centre would become a cultural hub with opportunities for conferences, performances and other community activities.
  5. Agri-plex: Like the conference and entertainment centre, an agri-plex would serve rural constituents for agricultural events, and urban residents for events such as home shows and pet (felines and canines) shows. This would be a place where rural residents meet their urban counterparts.
  6. Improvements at Langley Regional Airport: Owned and operated by the Township, Langley Regional Airport is a community amenity, where improvements could be made to make it more assessable to Township residents. Future growth in the community would also make it economically viable for air-commuter shuttles to operate out of this emerging community facility.
  7. Township-wide Greenways: The Township has been building a cycling network and greenways for commuting and recreational needs. For example, a bike greenway is being planned to link Murrayville with Willoughby, as part of the overall trail network in the Township. This trail would serve as a commuter and recreational link between communities. Also, the Township built the Fort-to-Fort trail (using funding from General Revenue) to link the former Fort site to current Fort Langley along the Fraser River foreshore. Additional greenways would be built as the overall community grows, based on the Cycling Plan and “Community Connections,” the overall trails plan for the Township.

A second component of the needs assessment was to conduct hypothetical pro forma analyses using potential scenarios that would involve an increase in land use densities, in order to examine the feasibility of collecting contributions for amenities at the time of rezoning. This was completed with assistance of the consulting firm of GPRA by building on the previous work, with the main findings of the hypothetical pro forma analysis summarized below:

  • The Township has the potential to establish a CAC program without adversely affecting development.
  • Brookswood FernridgeIn addition to a CAC program, the Township should retain the existing greenway amenity policies (GAPs) for areas such as 208 Street Density Review (in Northeast Gordon Estate), Carvolth, Central Gordon, Jericho, Latimer, Smith, and Yorkson. The GAPs were established to fund the costs of greenway amenities in each neighbourhood, with differing paces of development occurring in Willoughby.
  • There is capacity for the Township to be flexible in setting the CAC rates, in order to meet strategic municipal objectives. Sensitivity testing was conducted for the following instances:
    • Adjusting the target rate by offering an exemption to the CAC program for a hypothetical geographical area representing 10% of projected growth between 2017 and 2041. The adjustment would shift the total CAC charge to the remainder 90% of the projected growth in the Township and still not adversely impact development.
    • Increasing the rate on single family units and reducing that on multi-family units, in order to make rates less likely to impact pricing and affordability of units.

Early Input by the Development Industry

The Urban Development Institute (UDI) Langley Liaison Committee formed a working group to assist staff with the second component of the needs assessment, which involved a review of the preliminary list of community amenities, the hypothetical pro forma analysis and the proposed CAC rates. The UDI provided some preliminary comments. One of the comments was to engage the broader community before finalizing the list of amenities.

Firehall 6Next Steps

  1. Results of the Open House will be used to finalize the list of community amenities (April).
  2. Based on the results, the proposed CAC program will be reviewed and revised (April/May).
  3. The revised CAC program will be reviewed by the UDI (May).
  4. The final CAC program will be presented to Council for consideration (June).