Development plan cheered by some, jeered by others

SURREY – With an area already struggling with overflowing schools, maxed-out street parking and limited public transportation options, are more developments really the answer for East Clayton?

That was the question put to council by resident Linda Stromberg last Monday (Sept. 8) night as a proposed eight-lot development was on the table.

According to Stromberg, her concern was that the developer could be seen as jumping the queue by being considered under the East Clayton Neighbourhood Concept Plan (NCP), when the site currently sits within the West Clayton NCP borders.

As the West Clayton NCP has yet to be completed, any developments in said zone must wait until the process is completed, which is estimated to be spring 2015.

“To me, that NCP process is pretty important and what concerns me are the amendments that come, which I guess they (council) don’t see as exceptions,” said Stromberg. “They allow different things to happen than what might be expected in the

OCP (Official Community Plan), and I’ve seen the way that affects the area.”

Citing overcrowded schools as a prime example of what’s wrong with the density in Clayton, Stromberg said she would have liked to see council keep development and density in the area controlled.

“I realize mayor and council have no control over the provincial (education) funding, but they realize that it’s slow in coming and they do have control over the pace of development,” she said.

However, Coun. Tom Gill said Stromberg was mistaken and that nobody was being leap-frogged for development.

According to Gill, city planners confirmed that the developer still has to wait until the West Clayton NCP is finished before development could proceed any further, as well as having to come back to council for final approval.

“All this does is allow him to go out and start doing his homework about what’s needed for the site,” said Gill of the developer, Evershine Land Group Inc.

Gill went on to say that Evershine had worked closely with the community to ensure the impact would be minimal by including large garages for on-site parking.

“We found that the garages were just too small and made sure they would be able to accommodate two F-150 pick-ups,” he said. “We also found the garages were too close to the laneway and so we had those pushed back.”

Mike Bola, president of Cloverdale Community Association, said he worked closely with the developer on the project and hoped it would become the template for future developments in the area.

Knowing that parking and infrastructure was a key concern in the community, Bola said the developer was open to ensuring they had community support by breaking away from how many of the current homes in the area were designed.

“I said to him we need to look at the parking, we need to look at that and provide us with spots on street and on property for owners,” explained Bola. “So he came back and we worked it out where we created six stalls per house, including the garage.”

In addition, Bola said the developer, which owns the lot across the street from the development, would be adding in wider roads than currently in Clayton, meaning two lanes of traffic could still flow with cars parked along both sides of the street.

“That creates 115 parking spots in that area just by this development,” Bola said. “So we want to set the precedent that any further development must meet these requirements.”

Saying council was very aware of Clayton’s issues, Gill said this development was a good example of the work done trying to solve issues like parking and narrow streets in the area. “These were all mistakes done in the RF-9 lots. This zoning was created before my time on council. In fact, it was created during Doug McCallum’s time on council,” he explained, adding coach houses were also permitted on the old zoning type. “This council has stopped the creation of coach houses, which is a good thing.”

Gill admitted the confusion surrounding the inclusion of the development into the east or west NCP was due to the language used in the staff report, but reiterated that even if the site ends up making use of the East Clayton services, the developer was still subject to waiting until spring for the West Clayton NCP to be completed and that nobody was being moved ahead of the line.

“We listened to the community with this one, Mike Bola worked hard with the community and the developer on it and we are proud of this,” said Gill.

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