South Surrey resident Bob Thornton voiced his concern over the grading of a neighbouring lot. (Contributed photo)

South Surrey resident Bob Thornton voiced his concern over the grading of a neighbouring lot. (Contributed photo)

Drainage disagreement in South Surrey

Resident voices concerns over grading of neighbouring lot

The City of Surrey and resident Bob Thornton are going to have to agree to disagree.

Thornton approached Peace Arch News last week over his concern with grading to a neighbouring property – work he worries will cause significant runoff into his and his neighbours’ yards.

City officials, however, say all the proper steps are being followed.

According to a development application, the property behind Thornton’s – in the 14300-block of 31 Avenue – is being developed into nine single-family lots and one open-space remainder lot.

“As they were developing and the grading came in – so on and so fourth – they started building up the lots,” Thornton told PAN Tuesday.

“I thought it was kind of low grading, top load, and that it would go. It didn’t take too long for us to realize that they were really building up the grade of these lots as much as five feet.”

Thornton said the grading would cause “everything” to run off into his yard, which was the most significant concern shared by him and his adjacent neighbours. Thornton said he emailed the city twice with his concern, but did not get a response.

However, he said his neighbour was told by a city official that the lots would have special drainage.

“We understand that they’re saying that, but we don’t see anything going on, now we’re seeing them put the footings in the houses, putting the basement in the houses.”

Sarah Salmond, administrative co-ordinator for the city’s planning and development department, responded to PAN by email, saying the city “does not presently share the same concerns as raised by Mr. Thornton.”

Salmond said the subdivision has passed all inspections and is ready for building permits. And, that the subdivision has adequate draining features and is not anticipated to cause drainage or land problems for those lots existing in the south, which includes Thornton’s property.

“The existing lots have self-contained drainage therefore, these lots should not be relying on the lands of the new subdivision for drainage,” she wrote.

As far as the grading levels, Salmond said that creating subdivisions often involves placing fill and land grading to accommodate the development.

“There will be more inspections during the building permit phase of development, which will include grading checks.”

Thornton also raised a concern with several “magnificent” mature Douglas firs that are sitting on the property. He said the soil build-up created a “man-made well” at the base of the trees.

Salmond said the city will be sending an arborist to evaluate the trees next week, and “whether or not concern is warranted will be determined following that site visit.”

Thornton said he contacted PAN because he hadn’t heard back from the city, which he described as “just frustrating.”

“In my mind, the time to evoke any kind of remedial action is now, not after the houses are long built.”