The Augustine House in rural Ladner has moved a step closer to being able to expand, although no formal plans are in the works.
Delta council held a special meeting earlier this month to decide whether to give conditional approval to an application by the Augustine House Society for a zoning amendment and lot line adjustment.
It will pave the way for a future expansion of the seniors' care facility on the agriculturally zoned land.
The application involves the entire site in the 3800 and 3900 blocks of Arthur Drive, which includes four properties that are to remain in the Agricultural Land Reserve. The parcels contain the Augustine House Residence for Seniors, Augustinian Monastery and agricultural fields, as well as Sacred Heart Church and Sacred Heart School.
Chilukthan Slough runs through the area.
The application by the owners is to adjust the lot lines of the four parcels to reflect the current uses as well as a possible expansion of the seniors' facility. The expansion would be at the monastery buildings.
Council also agreed the McKneely Residence at the site, now the Augustinian Monastery, be placed on Delta's heritage register.
Following the meeting, Hector Herbert, vicepresident of the Augustine House Society, told the Optimist the application is simply a housekeeping matter to make the current uses on the properties all conforming, something he said should have been done years ago.
He noted there's no proposal in the works to expand the seniors' facility, as that's something they'll look into at a future date.
Architect Brian Hart said the original layout of the site has four properties and there will still be four properties once the application is approved.
The Agricultural Land Commission has already approved the lot line adjustments to reflect the boundaries of the institutional and agricultural uses.
Future conversion of the monastery buildings or construction of a new building for use as a community care facility, seniors' congregate housing and/or seniors' congregate care facility would require a new application for a non-farm use.
Council still has to give final approval, which will likely take place at an upcoming meeting at municipal hall. Metro Vancouver's approval is also required to extend sewer service the monastery, which is now outside Delta's sewer area.
The Augustine House Society is a non-profit group created in 1992 from members of the Knights of Columbus Council 7916.
Augustine House was opened in the summer of 2003. The facility has 102 suites as well as 20 assisted living suites. A separate wing has a secured area for 13 residents that require round-the-clock nursing care.
A resident opposed to the current application wrote to council asking why the building of religious centres and care facilities has been deemed an appropriate use of agricultural land.
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