Tracy Holmes photo Sisters Leslie Ford (left) and Pam Postle (with two-year-old grandson Lachlan Postle) say many Rosemary Heights residents who will be affected by proposed changes to the area’s Neighbourhood Concept Plan were not included in city consultations.

City sought ‘limited’ input to Rosemary Heights plan: residents

Proposed changes to South Surrey neighbourhood ‘will affect everybody’

When it comes to allowed density in a pocket of South Surrey’s Rosemary Heights neighbourhood, city staff are mulling two options – status quo of one to two units per acre, or an increase to allow up to four units per acre.

And while a recommendation is expected to go to council in February, area residents say not enough has been done to examine the impact of potential changes to the ‘suburban pocket’ – an area that stretches roughly from 37 Avenue on the north to just north of Rosemary Heights Crescent, and from just east of 156 Street to, on its southernmost end, approximately 154 Street – and, that many who will ultimately be affected were not asked for input.

“It will affect everybody in this whole area,” Postle told Peace Arch News.

“None of us on the west side (of 152 Street) got the (online) survey.”

In mid-June, following a staff report, Surrey council voted unanimously to “place all development applications in the Rosemary Heights Central NCP area that are discussed in this report on hold until the comprehensive review is complete.”

The decision followed support for a separate report recommending council, for six months, not consider development applications for the Sunnyside Heights area that request an amendment to its Neighbourhood Concept Plan.

The Rosemary Heights review focused on areas designated “suburban” in the NCP, and affected several proposed developments, including that eyed for the 30.5-acre site overlooking the Nicomekl River and formerly occupied by a Catholic retreat centre (3690 and 3660 152 St.). The latter is where Porte Communities has proposed to build 278 townhouses and 23 single-family homes.

Feedback opportunities included a Dec. 5 public information meeting and a two-question online survey that closed Sunday.

An email to Postle from city staff confirms that only property owners in the Rosemary Heights Central neighbourhood received a code to access the survey.

The intent, the email explains, was “to limit input to those within the neighbourhood to help us focus on those key stakeholders.”

Postle – who lives in the Edgewater complex, kitty-corner to the retreat lands – said that in addition to leaving many who will be affected out of the process, studies undertaken to gauge impact to traffic and schools didn’t capture the real picture. Traffic was reviewed during non-peak hours, the impact of developments such as Harvard Gardens was not considered, and the number of additional school children was “underestimated,” she said.

Postle’s sister, Leslie Ford, who lives just outside of the ‘suburban pocket’, agreed.

A summary of the transportation review notes the pocket designation results in a “relatively low volume increase”; traffic from the Porte development and potential high school volume is “within local road threshold”; and, that no significant improvements are required.

“They haven’t factored traffic in at all,” Ford said, predicting the intersection of 36 Avenue and 152 Street is “going to be ugly,” and that “people will die” if plans to have vehicles exiting the Porte project onto 152 Street are approved.

Postle said the survey should be redone, “and cast the net wider.”

She is calling for a complete moratorium on development until infrastructure has caught up.

Regarding status of the Porte plan, city officials say staff provided comment to the applicant in mid-October and are awaiting a revised submission.

The staff report on the Rosemary Heights Central NCP is tentatively expected to go to council in February.

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