Abbotsford’s largest development in more than a decade received the go-ahead from council Monday evening nearly three years after a public hearing on the project.
The Vicarro Ranch project proposed 1,400 residential units, including single-family homes, duplexes, townhomes and apartment units, over a 383-acre area on each side of Whatcom Road in the upper reaches on Sumas Mountain.
The project had been given third reading in 2013, but final adoption of the necessary bylaw amendments had been held up, while various issues and conditions were resolved.
The plan would see 580 single-family homes, 120 duplex units, 260 townhouse units and 440 apartment units built in five separate areas over the site, which has been ranched by the Trethewey family for decades.
The project would also see the a series of trails and three neighbourhood parks created, along with the preservation natural open spaces in the area, which is frequently used by mountain bikers and hikers.
A public hearing in November of 2013 saw people register concerns about traffic on Whatcom Road and local streets, as well as the plan’s effect on the environment and wildlife. A report from 2013 documented several observations of species-at-risk in the area, along with multiple “veteran trees.”
The site also sits just south of the “Thunderbird Caves,” an archaeological site of interest historically known to local First Nations.
The project, as laid out in 2013, envisioned traffic-calming measures on local streets, along with traffic signals at the intersections of McKee Road and McMillan Road; McKee Road and Cassiar Avenue; and the Whatcom Road access points to the development. Retail outlets are also planned for along Whatcom Road.
A traffic report from 2012, however, recommended the ugrading of the Whatcom Road Highway 1 overpass to four lanes to keep up with traffic demands as the area is developed over the next decade.