East Abby residential development proposals concern neighbours

Two proposals call for 370 and 555 townhouse units

One of the proposals would build a 555-townhouse development off of Lower Sumas Mountain Road in an area known as Falcon Ridge.

One of the proposals would build a 555-townhouse development off of Lower Sumas Mountain Road in an area known as Falcon Ridge.

Two large residential developments in east Abbotsford were a cause of concern for neighbours at a public hearing last week.

One is a proposal for 370 townhouse units and 30 single-family lots at Marshall Road and Canterbury Avenue. The project would also lead to the connection of Marshall Road through the development.

Another proposal would build a 555-townhouse development off of Lower Sumas Mountain Road in an area known as Falcon Ridge.

Many residents who spoke against the proposal were concerned about the issues caused by increased density.

The Marshall Road development caused concerns for neighbours who acknowledged they knew the site would be developed, but expected single-family homes.

Troy Cooper said the development “doesn’t fit our community.”

He said the high density is obviously in place to pay for the road and “by the developer, for the developer and subsequently for the city in terms of a massive amount of property tax revenue from the maximum density to fit in this tiny space.”

He asked council to consider scaling back the density and denying the proposal.

Sandra Farenholtz said traffic already gets backed up in the area as parents try to picked up their children from Mountain elementary school and that additional traffic in the area is a concern.

The development near Lower Sumas Mountain Road once again caused concern for neighbours. The project, called Highline by the developer, had previously gone to public hearing in the fall, but was resubmitted and again opened up for public discussion.

Neighbours had concerns about the access to the new development through the existing neighbourhoods and the increase of traffic on residential roads.

Much of the concern for both projects was the impact on smaller community roads – but also access through Whatcom Road, which connects the area to the highway. Many residents said the Whatcom Road exit from Highway 1 is already backed up at rush hour and more people in the area will mean more cars.

Also proposed in the area is Vicarro Ranch – the city’s largest development proposal in more than a decade – which has received third reading from council.

That development, also in east Abbotsford, covers about 383 acres in the McKee Pear Mountain and Eagle Mountain Area and will see construction of about 1,400 residential units – 580 single-family, 120 duplexes, 260 townhouses and 440 apartment units. At the time of that public hearing, residents were also concerned about the impact on traffic on Whatcom Road.

According to city representatives, the developments fall within the scope of the current official community plan (OCP) and the 2007 transportation master plan, which considered the city’s planned growth to the year 2031. Roadwork to accommodate the development and the build out to the developments will take place over many years.

Representatives say that as with most cities, there will be points of congestion during peak house, as it would not be financially feasible to completely eliminate congestion.

Council deferred the decision on whether to pass third reading on the two proposals to the new year.