Looking west, from the 55th floor of Surrey’ Civic Hotel in the city centre. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Surrey City Centre plan expands to include new proposed SkyTrain station

New developments in business district to provide minimum 50% of floor space for office, institutional uses

Surrey council has approved a review of the City Centre Plan, as well as approved a boundary extension for the plan and endorse a “Central Business District.”

According to a corporate report at Monday’s (Oct. 21) regular council meeting, staff recommended council approve staff start a review of the City Centre Plan, including a comprehensive program of community and stakeholder engagement; approve the proposed boundary extensions to the City Centre Plan area; and endorse the “general location” of an interim Central Business District within City Centre, and include a provisional policy requirement that new developments provide a minimum of 50 per cent of its floor area for office or institutional uses.

Council endorsed the report unanimously, with no discussion.

The report states the Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy “designates Surrey City Centre as the region’s second metropolitan centre and centre of activity south of the Fraser River.” Because of that, the City Centre Plan was developed in a multi-year planning process, with it being approved in 2017.

READ ALSO: Surrey positioned to be region’s second downtown core, Oct. 2, 2019

But since the completion of the plan, according to the report, market conditions and transportation priorities have also changed in the area “that have rendered aspects of the original plan out of date,” despite the area experiencing “sustained investment and development, including numerous high density residential, commercial, mixed-use and institutional projects.”

The plan area extension, the report states, is because of a proposed SkyTrain station at 140th Street. The expansion would include additional land within an 800-metre distance of the proposed station.

According to the report, the Central Business District is where office and institutional development will be concentrated to encourage office development and employment growth in “what will be the region’s second metropolitan centre.”

The current land use plan, office development is for the high-density, mixed-use areas surrounding SkyTrain stations and along key transportation corridors, but it doesn’t protect office development and there “has been significant interest to develop residential in the core area.”

The review of the plan densities “will ensure proposed densities, heights and uses are reflective of current market conditions” and will “account for anticipated changes to the BC Building Code,” such as the 12-storey wood frame construction.

READ ALSO: Surrey one of 13 B.C. communities adopting mass-timber technology, Sept. 25, 2019

The report also states that the review will also take into consideration the impacts of increased population and employment.

“Specifically, it will seek to mitigate the effects on infrastructure. community amenities, services and school enrollment.”

For development policies, staff will be analyzing and reviewing existing development and urban design policies “in order to develop recommendations that support family-friendly housing, liveability, and affordability in City Centre.”

The policies could regulate the number of larger two- and three-bedroom) units in a development; the design of units so that all bedrooms have a window; requirements around optional lock-off suites; and tower separation height to reduce shadowing.

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lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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