A developer wants to build 64 family homes on half-acre lots on 32 Avenue near 168 Street in South Surrey.

A developer wants to build 64 family homes on half-acre lots on 32 Avenue near 168 Street in South Surrey.

Developer wants to axe 533 trees in South Surrey

City council postpones vote on 32 Avenue property proposal.

The City of Surrey has postponed a vote on a proposed housing development in South Surrey that would require cutting down 533 trees – most of which are considered “high value.”

A developer went before council Monday (Nov. 5) seeking an amendment to the North Grandview Heights Neighbourhood Community Plan (NCP) to develop a 29.2-acre parcel of property on 32 Avenue near 168 Street to include 64 family homes on half-acre lots.

A city staff report to council indicates 533 trees on the site would come down, 257 of which are alder or cottonwood (often referred to as “scrub” trees because they don’t survive development well).

The developer had planned to save 45 of 321 “higher value” trees, a retention ratio of 14 per cent.

“Given the steep slopes on the property, and the necessary grading to achieve an acceptable subdivision design layout, on-site tree retention at this rate is considered reasonable in the context of the existing NCP designation,” the report to council states.

The trees slated to come down include Western red cedar (153), big leaf maple (65), Douglas fir (27), paper birch (14) and others. The builder planned to plant four or five trees on each lot – a total of 436 trees – 40 per cent of which would be native conifers. The bylaw requires 809 be planted, so the developer would pay cash in lieu.

“Staff anticipates there will be a significant visual impact associated with the clearing and development of this site,” the report to council states.

The proposal was sent back to staff Monday for review.

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