Businesses coming to old courthouse

Businesses may soon occupy the old courthouse.

Businesses may soon occupy the old courthouse.

Council has granted a temporary permit application for a commercial development at the southeast corner of Cedar Connector and Seventh Avenue, the site of Mission’s old courthouse.

The property has been vacant for almost a decade, with ownership changing numerous times. It’s now owned by Ali Shamei, a local businessman who has properties in Abbotsford as well.

Local residents were concerned about a number of issues surrounding the application, including increased traffic to an intersection that has seen almost 170 collisions since 2006.

David Smith, who lives in the adjacent building to the south, said numerous cars use the alleyway daily to shortcut from the Connector to Maple Street, and a new development will increase congestion and compromise pedestrian safety. He said neighbours want the alley closed altogether.

“As residents you have no idea how many squeals of brakes we hear,” he said.

The applicant’s traffic engineer, however, said two-thirds of the reported collisions near the intersection happened at night, not during increased traffic periods.

Jan Voss said the light at the intersection is also set at equal intervals for both Seventh Avenue and the Connector, even though the latter receives 70 per cent of the traffic volume. He said that changing the light duration should solve a number of traffic issues.

Council approved the application, pending compliance with the district’s traffic engineering specifications, including closing the most northern access point on the Connector, as well as a prohibition on any second-hand clothing stores.

The permit allows for a multi-tenant commercial complex within the old courthouse involving eateries, and personal and professional services.

Hours of operation will be 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. for all other uses than eateries, with those businesses allowed to stay open until 11 p.m.

After three years the developer will have to reapply, or request a permanent rezoning of the land use.