A property that once housed the Beladean Motel along King George Boulevard is set to be redeveloped, but one Surrey councillor is concerned the density will set a precedent for the inevitable redevelopment of nearby mobile home park properties.
On Feb. 11, Surrey council voted to give third reading to the application – to build 34 townhomes and 78 apartments at 8205 King George Blvd. – with Councillor Steven Pettigrew the lone voice of opposition.
“I feel that the units are too densified and there’s insufficient indoor and outdoor amenity space. We will be jamming people into a crowded area with no place to get away from it all, especially if we continue this pattern,” said Pettigrew ahead of the vote.
“This and similar area applications to the north and south will displace over 128 mostly elderly residents form their mobile homes,” he added, highlighting the fact that there are mobile home parks to the north, west, south and east of the site.
“I’ve seen the despair in the faces of people who’ve been displaced by these types of developments. And they’re in danger of becoming homeless. Looking at the despair and the tears streaming down their face when they say they have to move out of the city now, they have to go to Prince George, because they can’t afford to live here anymore. I will not be responsible for these peoples’ misfortunes.”
He expressed his “strong” opposition to the application.
“We need to build liveable community with green spaces where people can interact, not massive zones that are densified…. This is not a community building environment, this is a density environment,” said Pettigrew.
The councillor also noted the setback variances are up to 50 per cent, and that the city has no NCP (Neighbourhood Concept Plan) for the neighbourhood.
“This application will set the pattern for this area, in the same manner thats been done in Clayton. Is this really what we want?”
While he encouraged his council colleagues to vote with him, the application received council’s blessing, with final reading anticipated at a later date.
According to city documents, Zenith Developments Ltd. intends to build 34 townhomes on the western side of the property, and 11 ground-oriented townhouses as well as a six-storey apartment with 67 units on the eastern side.
To do so, an OCP amendment from urban to multiple residential is required and the site must be rezoned from Tourist Accommodation to Multiple Residential 30 and Comprehensive Development. In connection with the OCP amendment, the applicant has committed to providing a “community benefit” to the city to the tune of $93,600.
A Development Variance Permit is also required to allow for reduced setbacks.
In a report, city staff say the “proposed development supports the existing B-line transit service on King George Boulevard and plans for future rapid transit on King George Boulevard.” They also note the “proposal is also in compliance with the City of Surrey and TransLink’s Supportive Policies Agreement that is intended to promote development at appropriate scale along the planned transit corridors, including King George Boulevard.”
But the city’s parks department has expressed concern about the “pressure” this project will place on existing parks. recreation and culture facilities in the area. A report notes the applicant has agreed to provide $145,600 to the parks department, “to allay this concern.”
Prior to the public hearing, and council’s vote, pre-notification letters were sent to locals. As a result, the city heard from four people who expresse concerns about traffic, safety of children walking to Newton Elementary, the height of the proposed apartment building as well as school capacity and shading.
No one spoke against the proposal at its Feb. 11 public hearing.
According to a report to council, the developer expects the project to be constructed and ready for occupancy by January 2020.