‘Down-zoning’ comes to Bolivar Park

Council votes to restrict size of homes in area of North Surrey.

  • Apr. 15, 2016 6:00 a.m.

Small bungalows are being eclipsed by so-called monster homes three and four storeys high, which are blocking view corridors and ruining the small neighbourhood feel in Bolivar Park.

That’s according to area residents who lobbied for an end to the construction of oversized homes.

Almost 300 people packed Surrey council chambers on Monday night – most hoping to stop the what they said are an onslaught of monster homes into a small enclave in North Surrey.

A smaller group of people was opposed to the idea, with many saying it would limit their renovation choices and reduce the resale value of their homes.

People from both sides of the argument crammed Surrey council chambers during a marathon meeting to consider a bylaw restricting the size of structures in the 121-home area by 20 per cent. Currently, houses built in the area are allowed to be built up to 4,020 square feet.

The majority of residents at the meeting wanted that reduced to 3,240 square feet.

Known as the Bolivar Park Neighbourhood Extension Area, the homes in questions are bounded by 136 Street to the west, 140 Street to the east, 112A Avenue to the south and 114 Avenue to the north.

The call to restrict size is similar to other “down-zonings” in the city that took place for similar reasons, including St. Helen’s Park in 2006 and Royal Heights Park the following year, as well as one in Kwomais Park in South Surrey in 2015.

At the April 11 council meeting, scores of people lined up to speak about limiting the size of homes in the Bolivar Park area.

Sherry McRae has lived in the area for 24 years and said her smaller home now lies in the shadow of another home under construction.

Already gone is the view of the North Shore mountains, she said, adding all that will be left to look at when the roof goes on is sky.

Jonathan Wheeler told council he’s more than happy with the size of his modest home and is curious as to why anyone would want more space.

“It’s more than adequate,” Wheeler said.

There were those opposed to down-zoning, mostly due to the potential loss of the value of their home, and others who believe it will restrict their renovation options.

Joseph Kadir was not in favour of the changes to allowable land uses.

“This change is a step backward,” Kadir told council and his neighbours. “Your property will devalue… up to $150,000 in the current market situation.”

One resident said he had plans for his home, some of which would be in contravention of the proposed bylaw should it be adopted.

“This bylaw wouldn’t allow me to build the house that I had been dreaming about building,” he said. “I want to have a workshop for my son and I.”

At the end of the night, council voted unanimously to rezone the neighbourhood, restricting the size of the homes allowed there.

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