A rendering of one of the buildings that is part of a proposal to build 328 homes at 8190 King George Boulevard. (Photo: surrey.ca)

Surrey council approves housing development to replace mobile home park

Developer intends to build 218 townhomes and a six-storey apartment building with 110 units near Bear Creek Park

NEWTON — Another manufactured home park in Surrey is facing its demise to make way for redevelopment, after the developer got the green light from city council Monday night.

This time, it’s King George Mobile Home Parks Ltd., at 8190 King George Boulevard next to Bear Creek Park.

In place of the park, which is along the planned light rail transit line, Dawson + Sawyer intends to build 218 townhomes and a six-storey apartment building with 110 units on the 9.5-acre site.

The 328 homes would be split over two lots: the apartment building and 32 townhouses would be adjacent to King George on lot one, and 186 townhomes would be located on the eastern portion of the site, on lot two.

A third lot, a 0.3-acre riparian area, would be conveyed to the city to be consolidated with Bear Creek Park.

The project requires council’s approval for an Official Community Plan amendment, from Urban to Multiple Residential and Conservation and Recreation.

To proceed, a portion of the site must also be rezoned from CTA (Tourist Accommodation Zone) to Comprehensive Development, Multiple Residential 30 and One-Acre Residential. The developer also seeks south, west and east setback reductions for lot two to “achieve an efficient site layout and a more urban, pedestrian streetscape.”

City staff wrote in a report to council that “the density and building form are appropriate for this part of Newton, in proximity to a future Light Rapid Transit station.” It also states the plan is in compliance with Surrey and TransLink’s Supportive Policies Agreement that aims to promote development, at appropriate densities, along planned transit corridors like King George Boulevard.

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(A bird’s eye view of the proposal. Photo: surrey.ca)

Surrey council voted to give third reading to the project Monday night, after a public hearing that saw eight people speak to council ahead of their vote, including five in support and three opposed.

Before the meeting, Surrey council also received two opposition letters, one in support, and 80 “form letters” submitted together in support of the development.

While two residents of the manufactured home park spoke in favour of the development at the hearing, two others spoke in opposition.

One resident shed tears as she spoke of losing her home of 20 years, saying she is “devastated” and that her health has deteriorated since feeling “pressured into selling.”

A staff report also noted “some residents were dissatisfied with relocation options provided, move-out dates and time to sign agreement to sell.”

Another resident, Martina Herrick, told city council she’d been through two “demovictions” with Dawson + Sawyer previously and has seen the “debilitating effects they’ve caused.”

Other residents said the development was necessary progress in a growing city, with one woman saying the company paid her ahead of schedule to help assist her to move to her new home early.

City council heard that all 81 park residents have signed agreements to sell their manufactured home, and “flexible move-out dates have been provided for all of the existing tenants, ranging from mid-2018 to late 2019.”

City staff noted in their report that the applicant’s Affordable Housing Program exceeds the requirements set out in city and provincial policies.

Tenants were given three options, according to the report, including selling their manufactured home to the applicant, the applicant co-ordinating and paying for the relocation of the manufactures home, or choosing monthly payments of up to $700 per month for the rest of their life to assist with future housing in addition to moving expenses.

All tenants will also receive 12 months’ rent as compensation.

A “bonus” for quick turnaround in the agreement decision was also offered.

Aside from tenancy issues, a staff report noted city hall heard concerns about the proposal ahead of the hearing that ranged from traffic and safety to the fact that there is no provision in the project for low-income or rental housing.

As for traffic, staff noted the application includes the dedication of new east-west and north-south roads, and doesn’t propose access from King George Boulevard.

In all, the development is projected to result in 60 more elementary age students at Bear Creek Elementary, and 34 for Frank Hurt Secondary, with occupancy set for 2021.

Of the 120 protected trees on site, 46 are to be retained through development. A total of 283 replacement trees are proposed.

See also: Dozens of Surrey seniors relocating after city OKs manufactured home park redevelopment (May 17, 2018)

See also: ‘Inevitable’ demise for many manufactured homes in Surrey

Several other Surrey manufactured home parks have been redeveloped in Surrey in recent years.

Most recently, city council in May gave its approval to Dawson + Sawyer to demolish 80 homes at Fleetwood’s Green Tree Estates to build 137 townhouses.

This proposal, too, is within close proximity to a proposed light rail transit station at Fraser Highway and 160th Street.

That project means dozens of Surrey seniors must relocate.

In 2016, residents of Park Mobile had to relocate due to a WestStone Group proposal to build a $250-million state-of-the-art seniors facility there, with more than 400 units of varying levels of care as well as a research centre and offices.

Twice, city council delayed that plan over concerns about where the park’s tenants would go but in the end, all 47 homes were acquired by the developer.

In South Surrey, the last remaining residents of the Seacrest Motel and RV Park agreed to move off the property in March of 2017.

While officials with developer Lark Projects Ltd. said “everybody was happy,” others disagreed, and faced the challenge of finding an affordable place to live.

“We are human casualties of Surrey’s fast development, closing down beautiful communities for homes we can’t afford,” said Nancy Malloy, one of the last residents to accept a financial settlement package from Lark, at the time.

-With files from Black Press

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