Prior to the municipal election last October, City of Surrey planning staff were progressing quickly through the development of a new neighbourhood plan for Guildford Town Centre and the 104 Avenue Corridor. All that changed when Doug McCallum was elected Mayor of Surrey and, with his majority council, cancelled the Light Rapid Transit (LRT) project destined for the 104 Avenue corridor, which was a foundational component of the new plan. The cancellation of the LRT put this neighbourhood plan on ice and had planning staff waiting for direction. It wasn’t until recently that planning priorities were outlined and staff could get back to work on this project.
On May 6th, 2019 the City held a public open house to revive the neighbourhood planning process. This meeting included the presentation of a revised draft plan (see below) and collection of feedback from the community and industry stakeholders.
The Draft Land Use Plan
There was speculation that the cancellation of the LRT would necessitate significant decreases in density at what would have been transit stops but it appears the City believes in the long-term transit orientation of the neighbourhood as density has remained relatively unchanged from earlier drafts.
Key changes in the latest draft plan are as follows:
- Expansion of the areas designated for mid to high rise (3.5 FAR) development, South of 105 Ave between 148 Street and 150 Street.
- Relocation of Hjorth Road Elementary away from the intersection of arterial roads
- Increased density for the properties southwest of Guildford Town Centre Mall to permit development up to 6 storeys instead of only 4 storeys.
- City planning staff maintain that 104 Avenue is a rapid transit corridor, although it may only be an upgraded b-line bus route for some time.
Planning staff will compile the comments received from this open house, finalize the plan documents and present the stage 1 land use plan to council this summer (according to the latest timelines provided by the City). Refinements of the plan are likely required following council’s input and planning staff anticipate having a completed plan in 2020.
If you missed the open house and want to check out the display boards or get more information on the Guildford Town Centre & 104 Avenue Corridor Plan process, check out the City of Surrey’s website here: https://www.surrey.ca/city-services/24723.aspx