Langley Township seeking to capture land value increases from new SkyTrain

Mar 11 2020, 5:33 pm

One of the municipalities at the potential future eastern end of the Expo Line intends on tapping into the value of rising land values from the Fraser Highway SkyTrain extension to help fund new community amenities and facilities.

The Township of Langley’s new bylaw for the Willowbrook Community Plan passed its first and second readings earlier this week, which would create a system for the municipal government to capture up to 75% of the share of land value increase associated with the SkyTrain extension.

Early conceptual plans by TransLink call for two stations at Fraser Highway’s intersection with 196 Street — on the west side of Willowbrook Shopping Centre — and 200 Street in the City of Langley. The Langley City and Langley Township municipal border is roughly 700 metres to 1,000 metres north of these stations.

Utilizing land value capture as a public financing tool will allow the municipal government to create new public benefits, such as public parks, libraries, and affordable housing. Measures of recovering the land value include community amenity contribution policies, direct taxes on benefiting properties, special assessment districts, and tax increment financing.

Along with updates to the community plan, city staff will be tasked with developing a land value capture system, and setting 2018 as the base year for the system, which was previously proposed by city staff for 2020.

These policies align with a similar approach by the City of Surrey in its CACs along the future SkyTrain corridor, according to a city staff report.

The 16.5-km-long, eight-station Expo Line extension from the existing King George Station to Langley City Centre is expected to cost $3.1 billion, with the first seven km and four new stations reaching 166 Street in Fleetwood expected to be funded by transferring $1.6-billion in unused Surrey Newton-Guildford LRT funds. An additional $1.5 billion is required to take the rest of the extension to Langley City Centre.

If funding permits, both segments could be completed by 2025, with construction beginning in 2022.

By 2035, TransLink anticipates the extension to Fleetwood will attract 39,900 average daily boardings, while a full extension will generate 62,000 average daily boardings.