Surrey council has given third reading to this 166-townhome proposal for three lots at 18738, 18726 and 18702 74th Avenue. The completed townhomes will open in ‘phases,’ in an attempt to alleviate pressures on Clayton-area schools. (City of Surrey)

Surrey council OKs two dense housing projects in Clayton

‘Phase-in’ process aims to better introduce homes, students to Clayton area

A pair of proposals that will see 262 townhomes and 71 apartments built in Clayton have passed third reading.

The development applications were previously presented to council but were referred back to staff to ensure they were “completed concurrently to the completion of local schools.” The proposals have since been amended with a caveat that they be constructed in phases, to align with the opening of two nearby elementary schools.

Maddaugh Road Elementary and Regent Road Elementary, which will both be nearby the sites, will each have a capacity of 650 students.

Construction recently began for the Maddaugh Road school. While a contract has not been awarded to build Regent Road, the district anticipates that both will open to students in September 2021.

FOR MORE: Clayton townhouse projects sent back to staff over school capacity concerns

The majority of council voted in favour of the applications on Feb. 25, with councillors Brenda Locke and Steven Pettigrew opposed.

Ahead of the vote, Pettigrew voiced his “deep concern that we’re continuing to add high density” to an area already riddled with parking and school-overcrowding issues.

“We’re just exacerbating the situation in Clayton and we’re still trying to fix it right now, yet we’re making it worse,” Pettigrew said.

“Hopefully we can stop doing these sorts of things. I believe the solution is to stick with the NCPs (Neighbourhood Concept Plans),” he added, noting the applications require amendments to city plans that “staff has put so much time and effort into putting together.”

“When we don’t follow the NCP, it should be a rarity, not the normal,” Pettigrew stressed.

He said this type of development is “not what I had envisioned when I think of smart development or the type of development I want to see for Clayton. I feel bad and I feel for the people moving into this.… We’re just going to have another huge mess.”

As well as neighbouring the new Salish Secondary, these two developments would be near three other major townhouse developments (which have a combined 249 townhouses) approved by the former city council in 2018.

Councillor Jack Hundial said he would support these two applications because of how far along they were in process, noting they began under the former Surrey council.

“I think we’re too far along in the process and I think the financial hardship to those involved in it would certainly be pretty dramatic,” said Hundial.

Mayor Doug McCallum said he shared Hundial’s mindset given this application was advanced under the former civic government, noting he believes it is, in fact, “smart development.”

“We’re going to be having SkyTrain up in that area, probably certainly before this development’s completed in all its phases, we’ll be up and running there,” McCallum said. “That will help solve at least some of the parking that’s in that particular area. We are sort of trying to look forward.”

The mayor noted Clayton is one area that has “to a certain degree is still affordable for our people that want to live in Surrey, certainly in comparison to other parts of Metro Vancouver.”

However, McCallum said there “needs to be a message out there” that in future developments “we need to address these problems” to “come up with a little better solutions.”

SEE ALSO: Another Surrey townhouse project referred back to staff over school crowding concerns

Council’s vote came after a public hearing for both applications, during which locals voiced opposition due to the high level of density as well as parking and school space, or lack thereof.

The first project is for 166 townhouses across three lots at 18738, 18726 and 18702 74th Avenue that will result in an estimated 42 elementary students and 22 secondary students, according to city documents.

The phase-in process for this project will take place in three parts: 68 townhouses will be completed in Sept. 2021, with 26 projected students; 67 townhouses will be completed in Nov. 2021, with 26 projected students; and 31 townhouses will be completed in Jan. 2022, with 12 projected students.

Now-Leader columnist Frank Bucholtz spoke at the hearing for this project, thanking council for adopting a “phased-in approach” for dealing with the schools, but noted to the best of his knowledge, a contract has not been awarded for Regent Road Elementary.

“If the Regent Road school is not going to be open by 2021, then I think this development is premature,” said Bucholtz, noting Hazelgrove, Clayton and Katzie elementaries are all bursting at the seams.

Local history buff Jim Foulkes, a recipient of the 2018 Surrey Civic Treasures award, also spoke at the hearing.

Foulkes, who lives in the area, said he attended meetings the city held as it developed the NCP for this area.

“All our meetings we went to for the North Clayton area spoke of the Clayton ghetto,” said Foulkes. “No parking for the number of suites that would be in any one building. They’ve had lineups of concerned citizens seeking to keep their parking on 72nd Avenue, east of this area.”

Foulkes said the “developer is only going for the very highest density he can possibly get, that is not within the zoning of this area.”

The agent for the developer, Hub Engineering’s Mike Kompter, told council the project will be “just under 30 units per acre, all told.”

“We’re not asking for higher density than what has been approved by council,” said Kompter. “Parking will be provided on-site, we’re not asking for a variance or reduction in parking for the townhouses.”


Surrey council has given third reading to this development at 18805 and 18855 72nd Avenue that will see 96 townhouses units built, as well as a five-storey mixed-use building with 71 apartments above eight ground-level commercial units. The completed townhomes will open in ‘phases,’ in an attempt to alleviate pressures on Clayton-area schools. (City of Surrey)

The second project, at 18805 and 18855 72nd Avenue, will see 96 townhouses units built, as well as a five-storey mixed-use building with 71 apartments above eight ground-level commercial units.

The phase-in process for this project will take place in four parts: 56 townhouses will be completed in June 2021, with 21 projected students; 18 apartments will be completed in Sept. 2021, with 7 projected students; 71 townhouses will be completed in Nov. 2021, with eight projected students; and 22 townhouses will be completed in March, 2024 with nine projected students.

A man, who said his name was Chris, said he was president of the strata complex to the south of the application.

“I’m here representing the 95 other owners in the complex,” he told council, and voiced opposition to the level of density sought.

“Parking is a massively huge issue,” he stressed, noting it is his belief this development would exacerbate the problem. He suggested the city consider “angled parking” to help create more spaces.

The idea, although opposed by staff due to safety concerns, was something McCallum said would be put under review.

“My kids go to Hazelgrove Elementary,” Chris told council. “At the beginning of the school year there was 70 new students that came in unregistered. That resulted in five new portables on the school that were two or three months behind from the start of the school (year). There were kids in the hallways, music rooms, utility room, spare rooms, any space they had.”

He added that the new students predicted is “way under what actually happens.”

Chris urged council to consider reducing the apartment height from five storeys to two or three, and hoped they would ask the developer to increase parking spaces in the development.

Colin Hogan with Focus Architecture spoke on behalf of the developer, and noted the townhouse project has 92 tandem garages, with just four tandem.

“We feel that will address some of the parking issues that exist,” Hogan told council prior to the vote.

Hogan also said the NCP calls for an “urban landmark” at that location “as kind of the core of that particular neighbourhood where commercial density is suggested.”

“In response to that we’ve put a little more density in that location but we feel it’s the best location in the whole neighbourhood to do it,” Hogan added. “You’ll notice from the site plan we’re setting back that corner pretty significantly to create a big public plaza…. That’ll address that urban landmark the community plan is looking for.”

Final adoption of both projects is expected at a later date.

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