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ALC denies brothers' bid to split Delta farm

The property is currently owned by two brothers and their spouses
A Delta report noted that the parcel can be farmed without subdivision. The current owners may meet the eligibility criteria for an additional farmhouse on the property to house a second family actively farming under the agricultural zone. City of Delta report

The Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) recently rejected an application by two brothers to subdivide their farm in Tsawwassen.

Located within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), the 57-acre vegetable farm at 2150 56 St. is currently owned by two brothers and their spouses, who purchased the farm site in 1986. They applied to split the property into two equal lots, saying they planned to continue to farm.

Each brother has three adult children and their application stated that they requested the subdivision so that, “they can eventually pass it on to their respective children and continue the farming.”

The ALC panel, however, stated that there are no agricultural benefits for the property, comprised of prime agricultural land, to be subdivided.

“The panel therefore finds that the proposal to subdivide the property would have a negative impact on the size, continuity, and the integrity of agricultural land on the property and on the ALR,” the panel stated.

Delta council this spring forwarded the application to the ALC without comment.

The subdivision would have allowed each lot to have one 5,000-square-foot house and one additional farm 2,500-square-foot house. The report noted that the two farm home plates would reduce the farmable area of the property.

The report also noted that the Ministry of Agriculture does not support subdivision of parcels within the ALR, stating that smaller parcels are less likely to be farmed and can erode long-term agricultural and economic potential. The ministry said the proposed subdivision for estate planning purposes does not appear to be beneficial to agriculture in the near or short term.

While joint ownership of the property may cause complications for future owners, it is not justification for subdivision from a land-use planning perspective, the report stated, adding that subdivision could limit the agricultural potential of the land, lead to further land speculation and undermine its agricultural viability and sustainability in the long-term.

A previous application to subdivide was made by the owners in 2017. That application was not supported by city staff and subsequently denied by council.