BY LINDA BENTLEY | FEBRUARY 20, 2013
‘Despite nearly 1,200 area residents signing a petition in opposition to the proposed project the planning commission recommended approval’
PHOENIX – Phoenix City Council will be considering a general plan amendment and rezoning case at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6 to change the land use of a 22.24-acre parcel at the northeast corner of Cave Creek Road and Rancho Paloma Drive from residential 0-2 units per acre to multi-family residential 10-15 units per acre.
Attorney G. Adam Baugh of Withey Moriss PLC is the applicant representing owner CCRP, LLC.
The law firm’s website touts Baugh as being an “experienced attorney” who “regularly represents land owners and developers before neighborhood organizations, planning commissions, and city councils, and other regulatory bodies to obtain land use entitlements, … He has represented clients to obtain rezone approvals, stipulation modifications, variances, use permits, site plan approval, plats, and more.”
Highlights of his practice include his representation of homebuilders in “obtaining zoning and land use entitlements for multi-family, single family, and planned communities across Arizona including the negotiation and drafting of stipulations, development standards and guidelines.”
The application, when reviewed by the Desert View Village Planning Committee (DVVPC) on Dec. 4, 2012, was met with broad opposition from surrounding residents.
At the time, Baugh explained changes made from his client’s original proposal, which reduced the building heights from three stories to two stories and the number of units from 376 to 328, along with removing a building located close to Cave Creek Road.
Baugh called the project a good transitional use toward a major arterial intersection, buffered by the fire station, churches and a future park site.
He said it also removes the approved Commerce Park/General Commerce Park zoning granted in 2009 on the eastern portion of the parcel and eliminates the probability of a commercial corner.
During that meeting, numerous people spoke in opposition to the project, citing concerns about lighting, traffic, impacts to the local school district and crime.
One speaker questioned whether a market study had been done to demonstrate the need for the proposed development and asked toward whom the project was targeted.
Louis Lagrave, a Dove Valley Estates board member, said Rancho Paloma Drive would become a four-lane roadway whether the project was approved or not and widening of the road would help with existing traffic. He also stated the proposed residential development would be better than commercial on the subject parcel.
Baugh said increased traffic was inevitable regardless of the type of development but traffic demands for multi-family residential would be less than a commercial development and warehouse use would have more intense lighting.
DVVPC committee member Doug Dickson moved to deny the application, with committee member Robert Erickson, who seconded the motion, stating the proposed project was inappropriate and out of character for the area. He stated there were 368 acres of land currently designated for higher density within the Village and there was no need to increase the amount.
Vice Chairman Steven Bower said he did not believe the existing 0-2 residential units per acre designation was appropriate and supported the 10-15 designation.
The committee voted 6-4 to deny the request.
The DVVPC then voted 8-2 to reconsider the item.
The committee then voted unanimously to continue both the general plan amendment and rezoning applications to the Jan. 8, 2013 meeting at the request of Baugh.
The project has since moved forward to the planning commission on Feb. 12 and has been pared down to a 292-unit apartment complex, yielding 12.89 dwelling units per acre.
During that meeting, in addition to an increased number of surrounding area residents speaking in opposition to the project, a Phoenix Police officer said it was his personal opinion the project would increase crime and security concerns in the region.
Despite nearly 1,200 area residents signing a petition in opposition to the proposed project, it is now moving forward to city council on March 6 with a recommendation for approval.
Those who have been involved in the process from the beginning are encouraging anyone who would like to be heard to attend the March 6 council meeting.
Council meets at 5 p.m. in the Phoenix City Council Chambers located at 200 W. Jefferson Street, Phoenix.