Proposed British Columbia Self-Storage Project Inspires Fear of Potential Criminal Activity

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A proposed self-storage development in an affluent neighborhood of Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, has received strong opposition from residents, who have filed a petition against the project. Developer Norm Porter wants to build a Southpointe Mini Storage in Rosemary Heights, but residents of nearby condominiums and townhouses argue there is no need for the business and fear it will attract criminal activity.

The petition was filed by Wayne Mercer, who lives in a townhouse development on the east side of the project site at 31 Avenue and Croydon Drive. Among other concerns raised by residents are increased traffic along 31 Avenue, potential impact on a bordering riparian area, hours of operation, light pollution and “unauthorized businesses” operating from the storage units.

“Growers of marijuana and operators of unlicensed businesses could operate all night, and operators of chemical labs would have no problem paying the monthly rent,” Mercer said. “The hours of operation would permit access 24 hours a day, seven days a week—only a fraction of which is supervised.”

Mercer also argued that the local area was already “a saturated market for storage” and said neighboring residents “do not want to see their investments devalued by a poorly planned and unnecessary development [that] could turn into a crime-ridden white elephant.”

Porter said residents’ fears were overblown and that he is working within city and neighborhood planning and zoning requirements, which stipulate the storage facility design resemble offices. The project has had three readings in front of the Surrey council, according to the source.

“There’s no recorded correlation between criminal activity and modern-day storage facilities,” he said. “Modern-day security offers less light pollution than a large parking lot.”

The Southpointe facility would include a four-story storage building with 24,831 square feet and two smaller two-story office buildings on either side of 31 Avenue. A right-of-way between the buildings would be used for parking.

The self-storage project was reviewed by a design panel in June and also received input from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to align with an initiative called “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design,” according to Ron Hintsche, a planning manager for the city.

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