The Township of Langley is a British Columbia municipality with a characteristic rural nature. While historically comprising mostly agricultural property, urbanization has spawned densification in select local communities and a concomitant population increase across the Township throughout the twenty-first century. Today, the Township of Langley has managed to retain its charming countryside character in large part due to the majority of its land base being designated for rural residential or agricultural uses. Moreover, while the retention of farmland by way of an Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) designation on certain properties in the municipality has further encouraged rural farming activity, it has also restricted most non-agricultural uses of property in rural areas of the Township.
Designed to support an array of agricultural uses, rural property zoning in the Township of Langley was initially implemented on a variety of lot sizes. Historically, lots of larger sizes were preferred by the Township in rural areas and created to provide farmers with greater option for supporting generational farm management; while subdivision into smaller lots typified the turn towards non-farm use of rural land that is generally considered to be incompatible with sustainable agricultural uses today.
The rural economy in the Township of Langley is thriving. Primarily composed of various farm operations, Langley’s diverse soil types and long growing season facilitate the production of various agricultural products such as livestock, poultry, small fruits, vegetables, flowers, turf, grapes, and mushrooms. The local agricultural industry also supports related agri-business, including feed suppliers, veterinary clinics, grain processing plants, and – perhaps most notably – equestrian operations.
A historically contentious issue in the Township is that of the seeming incompatibility of the urban/rural interface; for instance, in the Salmon River Uplands where land designated for development fell within the ALR. While there exists a variety of land uses, parcel sizes, and lot characteristics of neighbouring properties in such areas, developmental conflict has been ameliorated through the reallocation of urban growth to more central, non-interface land within the Township. Today, while non-agricultural uses of farmland may be permissible in some areas of Langley, appropriate building siting and distance buffers are required to minimize deleterious impacts on strictly agricultural neighbouring land. Such buffers and setback requirements can have implications for stratifiable property.