Earlier this month, the City of Surrey approved the Newton-King George Boulevard Plan that will guide the redevelopment and growth of a 413-acre stretch of land along King George Boulevard, one the main arterial roads in the Surrey.

The process of developing the Newton King-George Boulevard Plan began in October 2019, and is focused on the area bound by 68th Avenue to the north, Highway 10 to the south, 130th Street to the west, and 134th Street to the east. The subject area originally consisted of 350 acres of land, before it was expanded in October 2020.

The subject area lies adjacent to the lands governed by the South Newton Neighbourhood Concept Plan, the Newton Town Centre Plan, and the West Newton-Highway 10 Neighbourhood Concept Plan. The City noted in 2019 that it was the only area between Newton Town Centre and Surrey's Agricultural Land Reserve -- further south -- that did not have its own neighbourhood plan.

The first stage of the Newton-King George Plan was approved in June 2021, while the second and final stage of the plan was approved on Monday, March 6, 2023. It now sets the stage for the next 15 to 30 years as the City begins accepting development applications for the area that would have previously required an amendment to the Official Community Plan, on hold since 2019.

The plan includes guidance on factors such as transportation, parks, and land use, while also taking into account projected population growth and infrastructure improvements that may be needed. For developers, the plan also outlines the costs of development, including Development Cost Charges (DCCs) and Community Amenity Contributions (CACs) specific to the subject area.

Surrey Newton-King George Boulevard Plan

The City of Surrey is expecting that population growth and redevelopment of the area will feed into one another, increasing the population from around 6,200 to over 17,000 within the next 20 to 30 years.

As such, the plan's land use strategy hopes to nearly triple the amount of housing units in the area, from around 1,800 now to about 5,500 at full build-out, with a mix of existing single-detached homes as well as townhouses, missing middle housing, and apartments.

Mixed-use redevelopment with higher densities will be focused along King George Boulevard, with low-rise residential development in its immediate vicinity, and the remaining areas primarily consisting of other low-density forms of housing.

Surrey Newton-King George Boulevard Plan - Land UseThe growth strategy and land use strategy for the Newton-King George Boulevard Plan subject area. (City of Surrey)

For mixed-use developments, the City makes distinctions between densities and building forms, but will require commercial or retail uses at grade for all projects that include office or residential uses above. Institutional uses are allowed at both the ground level and the floors above, and parking must be provided underground for all mixed-use projects.

Surrey newton king george boulevard plan mixed use definitionsMixed-use design guidelines for the Newton-King George Boulevard Plan. (City of Surrey)

Distinctions in density and form area also made between various types of purely residential uses, which will primarily be within walking distance of future RapidBus stops. These areas will also serve as a buffer between mixed-use areas and residential neighbourhoods, and the guidelines also allow for various housing forms.

Surrey Newton-King George Boulevard Plan - Residential DefinitionsResidential design guidelines for the Newton-King George Boulevard Plan. (City of Surrey)

The Newton-King George Boulevard Plan is keeping density relatively low, at no more than six storeys, and is instead opting to redevelop the area through gentle intensification, while leaving the highest density projects to the Surrey Central area, located due north.

For the City, the Newton-King George Boulevard Plan is expected to bring in an estimated $112.6M via DCCs at full build-out, compared to $55M under the existing guidelines of the Surrey Official Community Plan. Those estimates are based on 2022 DCC rates, however, and the City of Surrey is about to raise those rates, which will likely come into effect in May.

For CACs, which the City of Surrey charges -- upon subdivision (for single-detached) or the issuance of a building permit (for multi-residential) -- to developers seeking additional allowable density in their projects, the City is projecting about $30.8M in additional revenue, at full build-out.

Surrey Newton-King George Boulevard Plan - Community Amenity Contributions CACsNewton-King George Boulevard Plan Community Amenity Contribution Rates. (City of Surrey)

During public engagement for the Newton-King George Boulevard Plan, the City found that residents greatly preferred a "balanced growth" approach, rather than a "focus growth" approach that would've seen high-density redevelopment of a smaller area or even a "dispersed growth" approach where large areas would see low-density redevelopment.

A significant portion of the subject area also consists of designated fish-bearing watercourses and riparian ecosystems that are protected through government regulations, which the plan reinforces by limiting redevelopment and encroachment in those areas.

With the plan and guidelines set, and the City opening up the area for redevelopment, now it's time to wait and see what happens next.