City of Surrey 7912-0323-00        2552-2580 164th St, Surrey  (corner of 164th St & 26th Ave)

 Property is in NCP 5A (Orchard Grove) but is adjacent to Area 5 (No NCP) and NCP 1 (Morgan Heights)

 Current status:  Final adoption  July 13, 2015.

 

 Background

In the fall of 2013, Raicon Developments (represented by CitiWest Consulting Ltd) completed the Planning Department’s pre-notification process for this application. The green development proposal sign was posted on 26th Ave and on 164th St. The Orchard Grove NCP 5 (completed in 2012) governs the site.  The plan essentially had three components, all within the mandate of the NCP:

  • Small Lot single family homes with or without coach houses 10-15 units per acre for the portion facing 164th St near the new proposed 25A Ave;
  • Large Lot Single Family or Large Lot Duplex 2-10 units per acre on the portion of the property extending eastwards from 164th St facing 26th Ave.
  • A Multi-use pathway and Green buffer on 26th Ave.

Residents living within 100 metres of the application site were invited to a neighbourhood meeting hosted by the applicant in April 2014. Concerns raised by residents on 164th St and the north side of 26th Ave resulted in subsequent alterations to the plan and a further meeting in June 2014 with the later outcome that the application was referred back to Planning staff on July 7, 2014.(reference p. 12)

Location

This property is located in Area 5A of Grandview Heights, and according to the Official Community Plan is within the Grandview Heights General Land Use Plan, more specifically Orchard Grove NCP 5A.

Here is a Cosmos image of the subject property, 2014.

citiwest land

Here is an aerial image of the subject property, 2014

citiwest sat

Neighbourhood Feedback

Residents of Morgan Heights (Area 1) on 164th St to the west of subject property and residents on the north side of 26th Ave to the north of the 26th Ave border of the property both raised numerous but different objections to the application.  In addition, there was neighbourhood concern about the disruption to the Multi-Use pathway and lack of protected tree retention.  Although interconnected, these four sets of issues are presented separately for clarity.

Here are the first two drafts of the CitiWest plan presented to residents, drafted in April 2013 and the fall of 2013.

1 Ap 13 1200

2 April 2013

164th St resident concerns

Initially, residents on 164th St in Morgan Heights requested the elimination of proposed 25A Ave between 164th St and proposed 164A St.  There was a request for a decrease in the density of the lots adjacent to 164th St to more closely mirror the frontage of existing RF-12 homes there as per Morgan Heights NCP 1. In terms of safety concerns, residents of 164th St requested that sidewalks be installed next to the curb on the west side of the street (interestingly, in 2009 when that section of Morgan Heights was built there were developer-installed sidewalks which were subsequently removed), to restrict parking only to the east side of 164th St, to institute “resident only” parking on the west side of 164th St and expressed concerns with safety due to increasing traffic on 164th St.

City Engineering complied with the wish to remove the pertinent portion of 25A Ave emptying on to 164th St but denied the resident-only parking request. No implementation date was given for the sidewalk request however it is good news to report that the sidewalks have now been installed (Oct 2014).  After a second meeting with the developer, the request to alter the lots on the east side of 164th St from RF-9 (9 metres wide) to RF-12 (12 metres wide) was granted. This is reflected in the June 2014 plan version below. A lane existing the development on to 164th St remained in the plan however, despite the opposition of some residents.

3 april 2014

26th Ave resident Concerns

Issues with the development perceived by the residents of the north side of 26th Ave from 164th St west to the border of the subject property were compounded by the fact that although the CitiWest land is in Area 5A (with an NCP) the established residential acreages on 26th Ave (ranging from new build to 23 years old) are part of Area 5 which does not have an NCP. Although the homes on the west side of 164th are also in a different NCP (Morgan Heights 1), the built form and density of the homes and lot sizes were not dissimilar and because of 164th resident lobbying, the applicant did in fact increase the lot size of the 164th St homes to mirror on both sides of the street.

Although there was opposition from all residents on the north side of 26th Ave from 164th to 166th St (and although there are only four actual properties which face the subject property on 26th), the issue, aside from the desire to have a lane adjacent to proposed 164A St removed (which was granted) were all based on the issue of transitional density.  The Orchard Grove NCP gives much attention to the necessity of providing a transitional zoning interface on 26th Ave which will compliment the residential acreage homes that were built on 26th Ave from the mid-1990s to the present.  This NCP mandate can be viewed below.

NCP 5A trans dens

5A NCP density guide

The permitted zoning in the NCP for all new development on the south side of 26th Ave practically to 168th St is Large Lot 2-6 units per acre or Duplex 2-10 units per acre.  This latitude of zoning is offered by the City so developers can capitalize on density in the absence of resident opposition.  Initially, as in the site plans above, the developer planned for City design-controlled duplexes at approximately 8 units per acre with small lot homes on the corner of 164th St and 26th Ave. After residents of the north side of 26th Ave held meetings with all City Councillors (with the exception of Councillor Hepner who was unavailable), with the Planning Department, and the developer, the developer adjusted the plan by changing the 12 metre wide duplex lots into 24 metre wide single family lots. This lowered the density to approximately 4.6 units per acre.

The two plan revisions which incorporated the concerns of the 164th residents can be seen above.  Below is the June 2014 plan which proposed small single family lots and which was the final plan submitted in the July 7 Corporate Report to Council

4 June 2014

The June 2014 plan still did not satisfy the transitional density concerns of the residents of 26th Ave because the jump from one unit per acre on the north side of the street to 4.6 units per acre on the south did not represent a gradual transition as mandated in the 5A NCP nor any other City Planning governance document which sets gradual transitional density as a good practice. Gradual density transition is successfully seen in other South Surrey NCP areas.

Residents proposed lots for the south side of 26th Ave with frontages that mirror those on the north side – with the inclusion of 164A St two of the lots would be smaller – but which maintained the minimum large lot depth in the NCP and thus would be less than half the size of the properties on the north side of the street but which would still give the illusion of consistency. It is notable that the residents on 164th St made and were granted this same amendment (matching frontages) so the new east side of 164th would compliment the existing west side with 12 metre wide lots.

Multi-Use Pathway/Green Buffer Concerns

One of the most sustainable elements of the Orchard Grove NCP is the 9 metre Multi-use Pathway flanked by generously-planted Green Buffer on 26th Ave. This buffer serves to provide privacy to new residential homes on the south side of the street, to create a pleasant pedestrian/cyclists experience, and is part of the transition buffer for the existing residents on the north side of 26th Ave.

Because of increased pedestrian and cyclist traffic on 26th Ave as multiplying residents in Morgan Heights travel to and from Pacific Heights elementary on 26th and 170th, and in anticipation of even more when the Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre at 24th Ave and 168th St., the safety and green appeal of this walkway and buffer is central to ensuring that Orchard Grove is built as a sustainable subdivision with many options for non-motorized travel. Additionally, 26th Ave is “graduating” from being a rural road into a collector road which will enable safe and quick emergency services travel. For this reason, the safety and sustainability of the green path is essential.

The NCP is clear about not permitting any driveways on to 26th Ave as interruptions to this green pathway.

5A land buff

In responding to 26th Ave resident concerns about lot size being too small on the south side of 26th, when the developer returned the June 2014 plan with 24 metre wide lots (essentially two duplex lots merged into one), four driveways on to 26th Ave were added.  This is a contravention of the NCP which clearly states no driveways on 26th Ave because of the green buffer and the Multi-Use Pathway.  The Planning Department allowed this addition of driveways citing that owners of larger homes would prefer their own driveways rather than laneway access. However, in their letters of complaint to Planning and Council in advance of the July 7th Land Use Committee, residents of 26th Ave maintained that not only would the interruption of the green buffer render useless the concept of a buffer in the first place, but it would affect the pedestrian-friendly nature of the Multi-use pathway and would set a precedent for other developers to add driveways on to 26th Ave in their development site plans.

Tree-retention Concerns

This property was formerly used as grazing lands, but a small grove of high value coniferous trees are located at the corner of 164th St and 26th Ave.  The residents of 26th Ave maintained that if larger lots were planned for 26th Ave (as per the NCP) then perhaps these trees could be preserved.  As with any new development in Grandview Heights, residents who moved to the area for green space and the appreciation of trees (especially species such as Western Red Cedar which can not be planted anymore due to global warming) are conscious of ways in which to preserve trees. Although tree retention was not a major issue in the objections to the 26th Ave interface, should lower density lots closer to the 2 units per acre allowed in the NCP be planned it stands to reason that these trees stood a better chance of being saved.

City Approval Process

The Planning Department submitted the Corporate Report for this application and recommended it for first and second reading on July 7,2014.  Public Hearing was scheduled for July 21, 2014.

On July 7th, City Council spoke to this application at the Land Use Committee meeting and was unanimous in denying first and second reading and referred the application back to Planning StaffThis motion is recorded here, page 12. Although the majority of concerns raised by the residents of 164th St had been met, the transitional density issue of the 26th Ave interface had been unresolved by the applicant’s plan.  The applicant was asked by Council to address the issue of creating mirror frontage lots on the south side of 26th Ave on the subject property and, as inferred, for any new land developments in NCP 5A fronting the estate acreages on the north side of 26th Ave.  The video of the Land Use Committee is here.  (After clicking the link for July 7 Regular Council Land Use Committee, fast-forward to minute 4:32).     A transcript of the Councillor’s opinions about this transitional density issue are here.

Resident proposals for solution

Like Council, residents, the GHSA and the surrounding neighbouhood have expressed the following solution which is within the NCP and which would not interfere with exisiting laneway plans or RF home proposals on 25A St:

– Large lot single family – lowest possible density in NCP (2 units per acre/.5 acre or slightly larger)

– no curb cuts: lane way access only; amenity sidewalk and transition landscape buffer uninterrupted.

A perfect example of this is seen in Douglas NCP where large lots just under .5 acre have lane access (do driveways) and a walkway bordered by a landscape buffer. Behind the lane are RF homes.  Viewing the image below, consider the north side of 4th as the north side of 26th Ave.

douglas

There is also the exact same situation in Rosemary NCP where existing acreage homes face .5 acre lots which themselves back on to RF homes. Driveways are allowed in this Rosemary case, but there is no amenity pathway to contend with. The principle of the transitional density and lot frontage mirroring issue is identical to what residents want on 26th, however, and is a good example of how the solution can be reached.

IMG_6223

RA homes on west side of 156th St

 

1/2 acre homes on east side of 156th - transitional density from 1 acre to 1.2 acre

1/2 acre homes on east side of 156th – transitional density from 1 acre to 1.2 acre

 

Ramifications and ongoing action

If proper transitional density is not observed on 26th Ave, then the reality is that existing one-acre residential acreages on the north side of 26th Ave which are not part of the Orchard Grove NCP become, in fact, the transition zone. This then infers that the transition zone for most of Area 5 is this small strip of acreages which have ironically been offered additional zoning protection as a result of the infill development on 164th St with a zoning of “1 acre max”.

Further ramifications are that other applications for duplex development on the south side of 26th Ave at 166th Ave are in the pre-notification stage at the Planning Department. Residents of 166A St and 27th Ave (Area 5) have already expressed concerns to the GHSA that duplexes are not complimentary to the neighbourhood, will cause an increase in parking issues and traffic, and is not an appropriate transitional density choice for 26th Ave. (note: this Application (7914-0118) was posted in December 2014 and is the subject of discussion in this Priority Actions section.

In the weeks approaching the Land Use Committee first reading of the CitiWest application in July 2014, the newly-formed GHSA conducted a survey of approximately 100 households in the one-acre residential neighbourhood of Area 5 who did not want to see the north side of 26th Ave become the “transition zone” for Area 5A by allowing the building of duplexes or any Large Lot 2-6 unit per acre homes on the south side of 26th Ave with frontages narrower than those on the north side of 26th Ave. This survey also reflected of residents’ interest in having a safe pedestrian green pathway which is uninterrupted by driveways as 26th Ave will increasingly become busier and the main route of travel within Orchard Grove.

UPDATE:

After the Application was referred back to Staff in July 2014, residents heard nothing about it.

On January 26th 2015, at the request of South Surrey Planning Manager Nicholas Lai, a group of residents representing 26th Ave/ members of the GHSA met with senior staff and the applicant’s representative (CitiWest).
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss changes to the plan which had been put forth in motion RES.R14-1188 regarding transitional density on 26 Avenue at the Council Land Use meeting July 7, 2014. Specific changes to the plan had been proposed by several councillors, with directions to Planning staff to pursue with the applicant.

After many meetings since January 26th 2015, Planning submitted this application back to Council for first and second reading on Monday February 23, 5:15 pm in Chambers.  Planning, residents, and the Applicant  collaborated on a working plan for the 26th Ave interface.  Most notable feature of the new lot layout: lots on 26th Ave have frontages which range from 31m wide to 35 m wide. This allows for a more gradual density transition from the north to the south side of 26th, as guidelined in the NCP.

Read the new Planning Report to Council here.  Public hearing was set for Monday, March 23.

The Application was granted Third Reading after Public Hearing on March 23, and Final Adoption was granted by Council on July 13, 2015.

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 our 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 and also by clicking this link for the development application

Resources

City of Surrey Planning Department contact for this application: Catherina Lisiak  Clisiak@surrey.ca/ after Jan 2015 Heather Kamitakahara Hkamitakahara@surrey.ca

GHSA  contact for this application: vblinkhorn@grandviewstewardship.org

CitiWest Engineering: Roger Jawanda  rjawanda@citiwest.ca

City Council Members

Linda Hepner: mayor@surrey.ca

Judy Villeneuve: javilleneuve@surrey.ca

Mary Martin: mmartin@surrey.ca

Barbara Steele: hbsteele@surrey.ca

Bruce Hayne: BruceHayne@Surrey.ca

Tom Gill: tsgill@surrey.ca

Vera LeFranc Vera LeFrac

Mike Starchuk: mike.Starchuk@surrey.ca

Dave Woods: Dave.Woods@surrey.ca

 

City of Surrey Documentation

July 7,2014 Planning Report link

February 23, 2015 Planning Report link

Orchard Grove 5A NCP

City of Surrey Council Minutes: Regular Land Use Committee, p. 12

City of Surrey Council Regular Land Use Committee, Jul 7, 2014. Minute 4:32 and beyond.

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