What happened after GG Metro Holdings withdrew its application to rezone 77 acres in Hazelmere Valley to ” light industrial” for a truck park and maintenance facility? Area landowners and stakeholders, including the volunteer FHCV, continued working on the Local Area Plan for the area in order to reach a sustainable land use plan for future zoning. And GG Metro executives including their paid Public Relations consultant joined the LAP table.

After four meetings at City Hall (the last meeting in February 2017 at the Fish and Game Club due to snow), this advisory group is now in the midst of finalizing negotiations with the City of Surrey regarding new concepts for the Local Area Plan that does not include Industrial Zoning south of 16th Avenue.   There are plans for green spaces and paths, along with rezoning to allow a number of types of development.   The  FHCV is cautiously optimistic about this Local Area Plan, which continues to evolve, but has not yet been finalized. A community meeting to present the new plan to the public will invite your commentary in the next few months.

One issue of contention that the community had was that the name “South Campbell Heights” proposed by the City in 2014 to identify the area for the Local Area Plan was problematic; it suggested the southwards creep of industrial North Campbell Heights into a well-loved agricultural neighbourhood historically known as Hazelmere Valley. We are happy to announce that Hazelmere is to retain its own name, even in City parlance! The Local Area Plan is now known as the Hazelmere Local Area Plan and one assumes that eventually when the City starts planning for the areas south of 10th Ave, it could be known as South Hazelmere (but lets not worry about that for 20 years or so….).

This is a special area and FHCV wanted to see something special planned for it; not strip malls and warehouses but land uses that are essential to our expanding community but which have a distinct character and uniqueness and which retain the agricultural and natural heritage of the area.

Here is the area being discussed in the Local Area Plan process.  You have all seen this map many times! The formerly-proposed truck park was in the area outlined in blue. The Local Area plan boundary is in red and the surrounding “Special Study Area” is in yellow.

Here is a preliminary draft of the same area  with general land designations created through collaboration of the members of the stakeholder LAP group and City staff:

Apologies that this is not the easiest thing to read but a PDF has not been made available yet. As you can see, different zones have been created according to a variety of criteria. Here is a key to the “first pass” proposed future land use areas (keeping in mind that none of these changes happen until land is re-developed by land owners in the future, unless the City acquires conservation land for passive parks before such time).

1. Conservation

Establish a contiguous and well managed natural core as a central organization element for the area plan, anchored on the Little Campbell River. (FHCV question: will this be publically-accessed land?)

2. Business Employment

Logistics warehousing and light industry (but no light industry with emissions). (FHCV concern: definitions of “light industry” seem to be slippery; look at the heavy environmental implications of the Ebco and Weir plants in North Campbell Heights. FHCV would want assurances that eventhough this warehousing and industry area is small, that there are zero negative envionmental implications.)

3. Special Commercial / Institutional

 Local and unique commercial uses in the 16th Avenue corridor
(FHCV suggestions: businesses that support agri-tourism, boutique markets, farmer’s markets….)

4. Institutional / Special Residential

Unique form of community-based agriculture and clustered residential village development  (
FHCV understanding: this could include residential care facilities,”village green” types of residential, co-op agric-villages…)

 

These land uses are still open to change based on community input in the Public Meeting in April/May 2017. This community meeting will be your chance to give feedback to the City of Surrey about the proposed plans, and will be critical in deciding if that plan will proceed or be modified further.

 

How did LAP stakeholders and staff come up with these land uses? Through much deliberation over the guiding Planning Principles for the process.

One very significant advancement in the planning principles is since FHCV members sitting on the LAP and those of you  who attended public meetings held at the Fish and Game club brought to the attention of the City the impending danger to the Brookswood Aquifer should inappropriate land uses be instituted,  the City of Surrey has now commissioned an assessment of the Brookswood Aquifer. This aquifer is large and complex and is the primary water source for many residents and farms in Surrey and Langley. Understanding it will allow safer management of the area groundwater, and will influence zoning proposals and land use.

Below are the planning principles the group adopted in May 2016 to create the draft land uses and please note that phrases in red were added/amended by City staff from commentary of stakeholders/FHCV due to feedback after the last committee meeting in October 2016.

  1. Protect and enhance the integrity of the little Campbell River and its supporting riparian area.
  1. Protect the integrity of the aquifer and groundwater resource from contamination and depletion through the development and implementation of Aquifer Protection Measures.
  1. Establish and protect significant wildlife corridors along the Little Campbell River in keeping with the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy.
  1. Protect significant forest stands and tree specimens both within conservation areas and within development areas.
  1. Ensure appropriate buffers and land use interface between development and the ALR, both in Surrey and Langley.
  1. Recognize and build upon the special and unique character of the area through development policies and design guidelines that integrate agriculture and natural systems with development that is compatible in scale, density and intensity.
  1. Respect sensitive land uses and sites including heritage, archaeological sites, educational, conservation and care facilities and cemeteries through compatible interface land uses and buffers
  1. Ensure safe road conditions, intersections and access points, particularly along 16th Avenue and 192nd Street.
  1. Ensure that development is well-connected with a local street, cycling and pedestrian  network to distribute traffic effectively and provide efficient accessibility within the plan area.
  1. Emphasize a high standard of building and site design including low-impact development features such as green roofs, energy-efficient buildings, bioswales and rain gardens.
  1. Prioritize employment land uses, especially agriculture, those that address the regional shortage of employment land and those which require large sites or a semi-rural setting.
  1. Limit new residential development to institutional (seniors, care homes, educational, retreat, non-profit), low density or “agri-community” “or “eco-community” housing where environmental or access considerations preclude employment uses.
  1. Reserve appropriate lands as agricultural for potential future exchange and inclusion into the agricultural land reserve.

What next?

As mentioned, these are merely draft land uses. The pubic meeting sponsored by the City which will be held in April or May will present these land uses and collect feedback from residents and concerned citizens living outside the Hazelmere Area. Yes, this includes residents of Langley, especially Brookswood and Campbell Valley which are right next door to this land use area and which are directly affected by any changes to the aquifter.

The Friends of Hazelmere/Campbell Valley will be contacting area residents when the meeting date is announced and urge to attend.  This will be your last chance to have input on the land use plan for Hazelmere. Better than a truck park, yes? Many thanks to the people who came to meetings, wrote letters and emails, and contacted City Councillors about the Truck Parking Proposal. The City of Surrey responded positively to your input by reassessing the impact on the local environment, the restored Little Campbell River and the Brookswood aquifer.

The Local Area Plan will then go through the process of being amended in the Official Community Plan and will go through first, second, third (public hearing) and fourth readings. Once it is passed by Council, land owners who want to re-develop their properties within the zoning goalposts of the LAP can do so.

You can find out more at the City of Surrey LAP page here

Meanwhile, as always, share your thoughts with FHCV by dropping us a line: info@fhcv.ca

See you at the Public Open House in the spring!

 

 

 

 

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