‘I have a sixth sense there may be issues’

June 26 set for public hearing on liquor store proposed near Crescent Beach

A plan to add a liquor store to a business complex up the hill from Crescent Beach received first and second readings at Surrey council Monday evening, clearing the way for the public to voice their opinions directly to council.

According to a city planning report recommending the proposal move forward, Alldritt Development Limited has asked to open a private liquor store at 12823 Crescent Rd. The plan requires rezoning of the site to “comprehensive development” from “neighbourhood commercial zone.”

In discussing the application at Monday’s land-use meeting, Coun. Tom Gill said he had “some hesitations and some reservations” with the proposal himself, but supported the initial readings in order to hear from the public – an opportunity that was scheduled for 7 p.m. on June 26.

“Certainly, I really want to hear what the public has to say, but I do have a sixth sense that there may be some issues on this one,” Gill told council.

The proposal has been the subject of some opposition, including a petition launched in January that states residents are concerned that “more readily available, accessible alcohol could result in increased impaired driving, public disturbances, vandalism, crime, violence, etc., particularly during certain times of the year such as holidays, high school graduation and the area’s very busy summer season.”

Supporters have countered that the store – which would be relocating from another Surrey site – “would be a great service for the neighbourhood who lives here year-round… and will only improve the success of the other local businesses in that complex.”

The two-storey commercial building is currently home to a veterinary office, coffee shop, bakery and deli.

According to the city report, the site is located within 400 metres of Crescent Park, which has a public children’s playground – meaning the proposal does not comply with city policy.

However, rezoning is recommended, the report states, because the site is more than two kilometres from any other liquor store; the city’s parks and bylaws departments, as well as South Surrey community policing officials, have no concerns; and the applicant has agreed to enter into a Good Neighbour Agreement “to assist in mitigating any nuisance activities.”

As of the June 12 report, city staff had received 17 emails and one phone call from people expressing opposition, with reasons cited including access to alcohol in proximity to the beach and parks; traffic; and parking.

Attendees of a March 14 public information meeting expressed similar concerns, as well as “direct issue with the lack of a traffic light at 128 Street and Crescent Road,” the report states.

The report notes that the Crescent Beach Property Owners Association voted 18-4 in favour of the proposed store in December 2015, and that the applicant also submitted a petition in favour of the store. The latter contained 269 signatures, however, only five live within 200 metres of the site.

The report notes the applicant would be required to improve 128 Street along their frontage. The installation of a traffic signal, it adds, is in the city engineering department’s 10-year servicing plan.

The public hearing is to take place at Surrey City Hall, 13450 104 Ave.