Area 5 : 164th St Infill (Morgan Crest)

2652-2716 164th St.

Location: Area 5 (no NCP)

City of Surrey Project No. 7913-0226-00, Passed Third Reading June 21, 2014, Passed Fourth reading Dec 2014.

(Scroll to  bottom/section above City Contacts) for Tree retention plan, and tree-replanting schedule.)

History

In November 2012 two representatives of six property owners on acreages between 26 and 28 Avenues on 164 Street appeared before Surrey Council with the intent of assembling and developing their properties (averaging 1 acre each) for residential subdivision. They subsequently appeared before Council on March 11, 2013. Council recommended that in order to assemble their lands for development sale, that they partner with a developer. This is reflected in the pertinent Planning Report to Council.

Location

This is a COSMOS view of the assembled properties marked in red included in this application. (image oriented with 32 Ave to the north, 24th Ave to the south, although not shown).

COSMOS view

Here is a Google Maps image (2014) of the properties, also marked in red, same orientation.

infill-map-2

These properties are in Area 5 of Grandview Heights, and according to the Official Community Plan and the Grandview Heights General Land Use Plan they cannot be subdivided until a Neighbourhood Concept Plan is in place.  The zoning for all properties in Area 5 are RA (Residential Acreage) 1-2 units per acre, which means that although the balance of properties in Area 5 are 1 acre lots, a proposal for ½ acre lots would have been acceptable under the zoning.  The six property owners worked with First Century Capital Corp. and Hunter Laird Engineering to create a site plan that was initially shared with neighbours on 165th St, 26th Ave and 28th Ave whose one acre properties either abutted the proposed development or which were within 100 metres of its borders in developer-lead neighbourhood meetings which commenced in July 2013..

 Neighbourhood Feedback

Neighbours expressed wishes to maintain the large lot character of the area and those who were concerned with tree retention expressed dissatisfaction with the small lot sizes, road alignments, and potential tree loss.  Questions about why such an assembly was being permitted in an area still without an NCP (and therefore one where subdivision of lands into parcels of less than half-acre pieces) were raised to the applicant and the City Planning Department as well as to individual members of City Council.

Over the period between July 2013 and March 2014, First Century hosted additional neighbourhood meetings and altered aspects of the plan, including using neighbourhood consultation to transition the high density small lot subdivision to the existing one-acre lots abutting it with in many cases approximately 1/4 acre lots.

City Approval Process

The application for the rezoning of these properties received first and second readings by Council on April 14, 2014. The application reached the Public Hearing stage on April 28, 2014.  In addition to proponents of the infill application (the property owners and their friends/families, and the applicants), many taxpayers living in the immediate neighbourhood whose properties would be affected by the application as well as several residents from other parts of Grandview Heights and Surrey who had an interest in the ramifications of development without an NCP, were in attendance.

Several aspects of the infill development struck a negative chord with neighbours of the area

  • If such an infill was permitted in a neighbourhood (Area 5) without an NCP, what would prevent similar small-lot development applications in the future?
  • Why couldn’t the assembled land be developed as 1 or ½ acre lots (within the zoning), which are in demand, thereby enabling the land owners to sell while preserving the area character?
  • How could the Planning Department recommend such a development that was in contravention of the Council-approved OCP and GH GLUP?
  • Were the owners of the six properties receiving “special treatment” by being allowed to subdivide their properties into parcels smaller than one acre or half-acre lots?
  • Given the small size of lots, protected tree retention would be challenging. This was especially a concern for residents who had enjoyed a mature green screen at the back/side of their yards for up to two decades.

City Council referred the application back to Planning Staff for further study/public consultation.

You can view the video recording of the Public Hearing and the final vote here.

After the referral back to Planning, small changes were made to the plan. Despite the fact that there is no NCP for Area 5, and the neighbourhood overwhelmingly rejected any development without the public consultation process an NCP would have provided, Council approved by granting third reading a 36 lot subdivision on 21 June, 2014.

The Final Planning Report to Council submitted by the Planning Department included an arborist report which recommends the removal of 204 out of 232 trees, most of which will not be replaced. It also includes maps as well as the final lot plan for 36 lots.

Here are two schematics which show the arborists’ plan for tree-removal and replanting.

Several Grandview Heights residents were vocal about the process and outcome of this application.

Print media articles/letters can be read here.

Personal opinions of residents can be read  in the GHSA Blog

Ramifications and ongoing action:

Of significance is that during the period of July 2013 to March 2014, several area residents undertook a neighbourhood survey. Putting a finger on the pulse of the neighbourhood, so to speak, is one of the initiatives that resulted in the founding of the Grandview Heights Stewardship Association.

The GHSA will continue to monitor the progress of this development, especially since one day after the passing of third reading of the application, a one acre property on the corner of 164th and 28th Ave (adjacent to the north of the land assembly) was sold.  Should this property be annexed to the First Century development and subdivided into less than into two half-acre lots, then the uniqueness of the special consideration afforded to the owners of the six properties comprising the assembled land is suspect.

Taxpayers were assured by Council on April 28 and June 21, 2014 that further “piecemeal” incursions into Area 5, a neighbourhood which has not undergone an NCP due to the desires of residents to maintain the one-acre estate character, will not occur.

While the application was referred back to Staff, Planning prepared “Additional Planning Comments” which deemed this property and two adjacent acres on the corner of 164th and 28th Ave as an “urban containment area” that is “underutilized.” As a result, after this application reached fourth and final reading, another infill was approved in January 2015. For more on this please refer to information about DA 7914-0225.

Further Conversation

You are invited to submit feedback about this action item through the website contact page and GHSA members are invited to submit articles for the GHSA Blog.

Our local newspapers also welcome letters and commentary. Email them at

Peace Arch News http://www.peacearchnews.com/contact_us/

Surrey Leader      http://www.surreyleader.com/contact_us/

Surrey Now          http://www.thenownewspaper.com/contact-us

Should you want further information on this project, you can view its progress on Cosmos.

Resources

City of Surrey Planning Department contact for this application: Heather Katimahara 604-591-4424     HKamitakahara@surrey.ca

GHSA  contact for this application: info@grandviewstewardship.org

First Century Capital Corp. (Developer) contact for this application: bjones@firstcentury.ca

City Council Members

Judy Villeneuve:  javilleneuve@surrey.ca

Barinder Rasode: bkrasode@surrey.ca

Mary Martin: mmartin@surrey.ca

Linda Hepner lmhepner@surrey.ca

Barbara Steele: hbsteele@surrey.ca

Bruce Hayne: BruceHayne@Surrey.ca

Tom Gill: tsgill@surrey.ca

City of Surrey Documentation

Original corporate report: http://www.surrey.ca/bylawsandcouncillibrary/CR_2013-R048.pdf

Final Corporate report: http://www.surrey.ca/bylawsandcouncillibrary/PLR_7913-0226-00.pdf

Surrey Official Community Plan: http://www.surrey.ca/city-services/1318.aspx

Grandview Heights General Land Use Plan: http://www.surrey.ca/city-services/1325.aspx

Video of public hearings and final vote: http://civic.neulion.com/cityofsurrey/