SmartCentres could apply to remove Albion flats farmland

District should let that happen first, then see what happens, says Maple Ridge staff report

Maple Ridge staff are recommending that council allow property owners to file an exclusion application

Maple Ridge staff are recommending that council allow property owners to file an exclusion application

Albion flats still could see an application to remove land on the west side of 105th Avenue, despite land commission comments saying that shouldn’t happen.

Maple Ridge staff are recommending that council allow property owners to file an exclusion application, then wait for a decision by the Agricultural Land Commission.

Depending on the ALC decision, Maple Ridge could then file its own application to remove land on the east side of 105th Avenue.

A decision on a private application could come as soon as July, says the report.

The staff recommendation comes after an ALC statement late last year that said only land on the east side of the 105th Avenue at Lougheed Highway should come of out of the reserve, while land to the west should remain farmland.

Staff also had discussions with landowners, who say they’d likely submit their own application.

SmartCentres, a mall development company, owns several acres on the west side of 105th, fronting Lougheed Highway.

Council, at its Monday morning meeting, will have two other options to consider: the district files its own application to remove only land on the east side of 105th Avenue, an option that fits with the land commission comments; or, the district apply to remove all of Albion flats from the Agricultural Land Reserve, which encompasses most of the Albion flats.

The report is the latest attempt at finding a plan that would allow commercial, business and recreational uses in the area, a process that’s exceeded a decade.

The report says that applying to exclude only land on the east side of 105th Avenue could be a speedier process, with an ALC decision by the fall.

Seeking to remove all of Albion flats even could jeopardize plans for the east side if the commission issues a blanket denial, the report points out.

“We have to consider what the ALC said and we have to look at the impact of doing any of those things,” Coun. Judy Dueck said Friday.

The report sketches out timelines and costs, saying that if an application to remove all of Albion flats is refused, the district then would have to re-apply to remove land to the east, a process that could take until spring of 2013 before it gets ALC approval.

Costs could hit $185,000 if the district had to do a drainage report and traffic studies as part of its application.

On the other hand, if land to the west is removed from the reserve and development allowed, the district many no longer have to do drainage, traffic or agricultural studies.