A preliminary sketch of Albert Svab’s plan to develop land that he purchased in 1970.

A preliminary sketch of Albert Svab’s plan to develop land that he purchased in 1970.

‘Major revisions’ for towers in South Surrey’s Morgan Heights

Croydon Drive proposal not supported by school district

A proposal for three 18-storey highrises and an eight-storey commercial building in South Surrey’s Morgan Heights neighbourhood has been referred back for consideration of “major revisions.”

But the proponent behind the project said council’s Dec. 19 decision was not a setback.

“That’s what we wanted,” Albert Svab told Peace Arch News Tuesday. “(City) staff, basically, was looking for guidance because this goes beyond the wording for the area. They didn’t know what to do.”

Svab applied in late April for an official community plan amendment to rezone 9.4 acres at 2660 Croydon Dr. to facilitate the project, and has said he will gift 6.32 acres of the property to the city as greenspace if it is approved.

The land is currently designated Intensive Agriculture and Mixed Employment in the OCP; Business Park/Light Industrial and Buffers in the Highway 99 Corridor Local Area Plan; and Mixed Employment in Metro Vancouver’s Regional Growth Strategy.

Svab wants a Town Centre designation for the land – which he bought for $27,500 in 1970 – and an OCP text amendment to allow a higher density within it. He estimates the finished project would include around 600 high-end units.

According to a Dec. 19 City of Surrey planning report, the Surrey School District does not support the redesignation; the parks, recreation and culture department has concerns “as there has been no assessment of park provision for this portion of the Highway 99 Corridor” LAP; and the proposed amendment to the RGS would require a two-thirds vote of  support from the Greater Vancouver Regional District Board, as well as a regional public hearing.

As well, the proposed Floor Area Ratio density of 3.5 is “a significant departure” from permitted FARs of 1.5 to 2.5 in Surrey’s Town Centre areas, the report notes.

The report also notes that public feedback on the project has all been to voice opposition; an online petition had just over 550 signatures.

Svab said much of the opposition is coming from outside of the immediate area.

And, to develop under the current OCP would create a decidedly different picture.

“The area that I would propose as park with highrises is blacktop with offices,” he said.

If the development goes ahead as proposed, street, lighting and sidewalk improvements would all follow, Svab said.

Svab said he is prepared to be patient.

“The cash register is not ticking. I’ve all the time in the world. If I don’t get what makes economical sense, I’ll just stay.”

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