Rosemary Heights Central NCP map, including proposed amendment areas. (City of Surrey graphic)

Rosemary Heights development ‘on hold’

Council supports call for comprehensive review of South Surrey neighbourhood

Surrey council has put the brakes on development in South Surrey’s Rosemary Heights neighbourhood.

Following a staff report, council voted unanimously Monday to “place all development applications in the Rosemary Heights Central NCP area that are discussed in this report on hold until the comprehensive review is complete.”

The review – which focuses on areas designated “suburban” in the NCP – affects several proposed developments, including that eyed for the 30.5-acre site overlooking the Nicomekl River and formerly occupied by a Catholic retreat centre.

Council agreed that one “materially different” application should proceed.

The decision followed support for a separate report recommending council, for six months, not consider development applications for the Sunnyside Heights area that request an amendment to its Neighbourhood Concept Plan. The timeline is suggested to identify a preferred location for an additional elementary school and incorporate it into a revised NCP.

“What these reports are saying is that we want to take six months to look at the area and reconnoitre with the school board, because the form of housing that has been built has generated more families,” Coun. Judy Villeneuve told council, in expressing support for the recommendations.

She predicted the community – which has been outspoken regarding overcrowding at Sunnyside and other area elementary schools – “will be happy we’re taking the time” to find a location for a new school.

“We’re trying to provide the affordable housing but keep up with the infrastructure as well, so I think it’s a good move.”

Coun. Bruce Hayne noted “a great deal of public interest in the Rosemary Heights area.”

Porte Communities is proposing 278 townhouses and 23 single-family homes on land located at 3690 and 3660 152 St. Requests include rezoning to comprehensive development.

Opponents have been strategizing ways to preserve the site, naming traffic, environment and school congestion as among concerns.

Scott Branden, spokesman for the Rosemary Heights Community Association, said prior to Monday’s meeting that the corporate report was “good news,” and that council support for it would be significant.

“This was our hope… that we could influence the planners and council to hold off on these individual plans and have a proper review done,” he told Peace Arch News.

“If this recommendation goes through, we’ll have a chance to have our say.”

Branden encouraged anyone interested in getting involved to email saverosemaryheights@gmail.com

The application excluded from the review process involves property at 3965 156 St., where 11 half-acre residential lots and a park are proposed.

According to the report, the Rosemary Heights NCP was approved by council in November 1996, and three applications proposed involve “major” amendments.

Staff anticipate reporting back to council – following studies and consultation – in late fall.

tholmes@peacearchnews.com