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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

There is an informal group of Yucca district residents who have been quietly working in opposition to the proposed Stonehaven amended residential plan known as GPA 17-01 and ZON 17-01. It is scheduled to be heard by the citizen Planning Commission on Thursday, May 18, 2017 – in less than 2 weeks. The applicants, the John F. Long Trust and Pulte Homes are asking for an additional 300 homes to be added to the 2016 plan already approved the Glendale city council.

Volunteer Yucca district residents secured over 1,000 petition signatures in opposition to this new Stonehaven proposal. That is pretty impressive. They prepared copies of the signatures and turned them into the Planning Department so that they could be included in every Planning Commissioner’s packet as they consider whether to approve or deny this request.

Tom Traw, one of the members of this ad hoc citizen group wrote the following letter for submission with the petition copies for the Commissioners:

“Dear Commissioners:

“I am writing this letter as a spokesperson for the over 1,000 Yucca district residents who have signed petitions in opposition to Stonehaven GPA 17-01 and ZON 17-01. We oppose this proposed revision to the original Stonehaven plan approved in April of 2016 for the following reasons:

  • The proposed, revised plan is too dense. The applicants are seeking an additional 300 homes bringing the total number of lots to 1,406. As a contrast, Rovey Farm Estates located from Northern Avenue to Glendale Avenue, 83rd Avenue to 91st Avenue is comparable. Rovey Farms Estates consists of 300+ acres. Stonehaven is also 300+ acres. Rovey Farms Estates has approximately 800 homes within its boundaries. Stonehaven proposes to nearly double the number of homes that one can find within Rovey Farm Estates.
  • The proposed, revised plan is not a balanced plan regarding lot sizes with the applicants asking for 45% of the project to be composed of 4,000 and 4,500 SF lot sizes. The rest of the plan contains a majority of lot sizes of 5,000 SF and comparably very few offered at 7,000 SF. By way of contrast, Rovey Farm Estates has a balanced plan with the smallest lot size of 7,000 SF (note this is the largest offering in Stonehaven) and a mix of R1-8, R1-10, SR-12 and SR-17. As a result, over time since its inception, Rovey Farm Estates homes have not only held their value but have risen in value.
  • The proposed plan will raise average daily traffic counts on 83rd Avenue, 91st Avenue and Camelback Road with or without a Bethany Home Road connection which, per the John F. Long Trust and City of Glendale Agreement, requires its completion by Jan. 1, 2021. The applicant does not have to submit a design plan for Bethany until the 200th building permit is pulled and does not have to start construction until the 475th building permit is pulled. See below for estimated traffic counts:

                Current* Stonehaven without Bethany   Stonehaven with Bethany

Camelback

83rd – 91st Aves                 25,561                    54,000                                       41,000

83rd Avenue

Camelback – Bethany     15,104                     33,000                                       27,000

91st Avenue

Camelback-Bethany        11,044                     28,000                                       23,000 

* Current  figures provided by the City of Glendale

** Stonehaven Figures with and without Bethany Home Rd.  provided by John F. Long Trust and Pulte Homes at a neighborhood meeting 

Please note the traffic increase with a proposed subdivision of 1,406 homes and a completed Bethany Home Road connector:

Camelback will increase by 15,439 daily trips

83rd Avenue will increase by 15,105 daily trips

91st Avenue will increase by 7,044 daily trips

While some of this traffic increase is the result of continued West Valley growth, there is no doubt those 1,406 homes will, at a minimum, have one car per household and many households will have 2 or more vehicles. This subdivision will produce a substantial number of daily trips significantly impacting the 3 major arterials listed above.

  • The applicant’s offering of 3% park and open space is inadequate by Glendale’s standards. As Planning Commissioners you have reviewed and approved many residential projects. Typically the developer dedicates 10% to 15% of a project for park and open space. This plan offers approximately 9 acres. In a project of over 300 acres, 30 acres should have been dedicated for this purpose.
  • The national average number of K-8 children per household is 1.86. Based upon this factor 1,406 homes will yield an estimated 2,615 K-8 children. A conservative figure based upon 30 children per classroom means that the Pendergast Elementary School District will require an additional 87 classrooms. There will be significant pressure on the two nearest elementary schools, Desert Mirage located at 8606 W. Maryland Avenue and Sunset Ridge located at 8490 W. Missouri Avenue. In all reality, it is anticipated that a new elementary school would need to be constructed. Yet, we note that the Pendergast Elementary School District has not indicated that this project will put pressure to build another elementary school. It is our understanding that the district has not objected to this proposed increase in density within Stonehaven. Recently we learned that typically a developer will donate a $1,000 per home constructed to the affected district. With the prospective of receiving $140,000 from the developer, it is not surprising that there would be no objection.

“Glendale had an opportunity to insure that one of the last, large prime vacant parcels of land in the Yucca district would enhance our community. Sadly that did not occur. The applicants’ latest request to increase the density of the project and to downsize the lot sizes does a disservice to our community and quite frankly insults the image of Glendale as a premier city in which to live, work and play.

“We respectfully ask that you deny the applicants’ request. We ask that you not be intimidated by their threat of abandoning this project. Pulte follows in the footsteps of two previous homebuilders, Fulton and Mattamay, all asking for more density than is prudent or desirable for this prime parcel. They were denied as Pulte should be as well.

“On behalf of the 1,008 Yucca district residents who signed our petition and the dozens of residents who took the time to walk our neighborhoods, we ask you to hear our voices and to represent us on this issue.

Respectfully,

Tom Traw”

You still have an opportunity to express your opinion on Stonehaven to the Planning Commissioners for their consideration. The deadline to send your email to the Planning Department is Monday morning, May 8, 2017. You still have time to email today or tomorrow. After you read this, please take a few moments to send your email to: dfigueroa@glendaleaz.com  . She is the Planning Department secretary and will make copies of your email for each Commissioner. The subject is Stonehaven. Request that she make copies of your email for each Planning Commissioner.

As the elected representative of the Yucca district and the residents who have made it very clear that they oppose this plan, it is my obligation and responsibility to be their voice and to represent them when the issue is brought before the city council for a final decision.

Join the 1,000 people who signed petitions in opposition to the new Stonehaven plan. Make your voice heard. It’s time to become an army.

© Joyce Clark, 2017               

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

CHECK OUT A VIDEO ABOUT SAMMY CHAVIRA’S USE OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS TO THE LEFT OF THIS COLUMN

It has been 18 years and 147 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

On March 3, 1953 a lovely, now historic, neighborhood was born in Glendale. It is known today as Historic Thunderbird Estates. This is a neighborhood of large lots, with mature trees and vegetation, many of which said properties still rely upon irrigation water.

The people who created this neighborhood lived in it for many, many years. Many of these people contributed a great deal to the rich history of Glendale. You may even recognize a few of the names. They were Philip and Bessie Rice, Opal and Earl Moore, Patsy Woods, Stanley and Gwendolyn McDonald, Ralph and Margaret Baskett, James and Sarah Sharpe, C.E. and Gladys McDonald, and Elias and Gaeta Coury.

Here are just a few of the accomplishments of the residents who formed Thunderbird Estates in the 1950’s. The Ira Moore building was used for Glendale Union high school’s very first classes. W. F. Moore was a Glendale councilmember from 1930-34. Willis Moore was on the Glendale Union High School’s first baseball championship team of 1923. R.E. Moore was manager of the Valley Bank, across from Murphy Park, in the 1940’s. Dr. Philip Rice was one of the very few medical doctors practicing in Glendale in the 1950’s. His wife Bess, was prominently involved with the Glendale Women’s Club and was known for her support of cleanup projects and tree planting throughout Glendale. The Coury family is remembered as prominent downtown Glendale merchants of the 1960’s with the Coury Market, also across the street from Murphy Park.

They created their Covenants, Codes and Restrictions (CC&Rs) for this historic neighborhood. Here is what they said and what they intended for this neighborhood …their land:

“The stipulations, restrictions and covenants herein contained shall be taken and considered as covenants irrevocable and restrictions running with the land, and with each and every part, parcel, lot and subdivision thereof, no made or hereafter to be made; and shall not only be binding upon the parties hereto, their respective successors and immediate assigns, but the same shall be binding upon each and every person, persons or corporation on who may hereafter become owners of or interested in said premises, or any part, parcel, lot or subdivision thereof, by or through conveyances, leases, permits or licenses, from or through any of the parties hereto.

“Further, all conveyances made by the parties hereto shall by apt words convey said lands and each and every parcel thereof, subject to the said restrictions and provisions. But in case such restrictions and provisions shall be omitted from any such deed or deeds, the same shall nevertheless be binding upon the grantee, his heirs and assigns, the same as though specially set forth in such deed or deeds and each and every such deed or deeds shall be taken by the grantee therein named subject to the covenants and provisions of this agreement.

“The stipulations, restrictions and covenants to which said premises are subjected are as follows, to- wit:

  1. Each parcel of land shall be used exclusively for residential purposes.”

There is nothing ambiguous about their words put to paper. We know exactly what their desire and intent was…to keep their land, in whole or in part, for residential use exclusively and in perpetuity. The residents of this subdivision have relied upon the CC&R’s for over 50 years.  When these residents purchased their parcels over the years they relied upon the character of their historic neighborhood to remain for residential use only.

Until Mr. Don Olson arrived upon the scene. For you see, Mr. Olson purchased one of the parcels within Historic Thunderbird Estates. He is using his newly acquired property within Historic Thunderbird Estates for commercial purposes – the sale of trees, big trees, little trees, all kinds of trees…and now he wants the city to grant him a Conditional Use Permit to bless his apparent violation of the Historic Thunderbird Estates CC&Rs.

5841 W. Royal Palm Glendale, AZ

5841 W. Royal Palm
Glendale, AZ

So what has the city done to protect this lovely, old, historic neighborhood?  On Thursday, May 5, 2016 Mr. Olson’s Conditional Use Permit request went before the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission is composed of citizens. The current members of the commission are : Chairperson Steve Johnston;  Vice Chairperson Arthur Dobbelaere;  Commissioner Jack Gallegos;  Commissioner Rick Harper; Commissioner Gary Hirsch, Commissioner Al Lenox; and Commissioner David Moreno. They would decide the fate of this historic neighborhood by making an advisory recommendation to the city council.

The minutes of the Planning Commission of May 5, 2016 reflect the following: “CUP16-01: A request by Don Olson for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to operate a home occupation (Class II) business in a private backyard of a residence, which will mainly consist of growing trees and selling trees to customers with appointments on a property in the SR-17 (Suburban Residence) Zoning District. The site is located north of the northeast corner of 59th and Northern Avenues (5841 West Royal Palm Road) and is in the Barrel District. Staff Contact: Martin Martell, Planner. VICE CHAIRPERSON DOBBELAERE MADE A MOTION TO CONTINUE CUP16-01 TO THE PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING OF AUGUST 4, 2016. COMMISSIONER GALLEGOS SECONDED THE MOTION, WHICH WAS APPROVED WITH A VOTE OF 4 TO 3 (HIRSCH, HARPER, AND LENOX).

Mr. Olson requested that the item be tabled as apparently he has hired a zoning attorney to represent him when the CUP is heard on August 4, 2016. The motion to table was granted on a vote of 4-3 with only Commissioners Hirsch, Harper and Lenox willing to deny the motion to table the action and ready to decide the CUP without the benefit of Mr. Olson’s acquisition of yet another attorney…a  zoning attorney.

This neighborhood is upset, concerned and angry. They don’t have a slick, fancy, new homeowner’s association to protect their interests. As a historic neighborhood they must rely upon the city staff, the citizen planning commissioners and city council to protect them. This becomes more and more difficult as historic memory of what Glendale was and who contributed to shaping Glendale is forgotten by a younger generation.

Will they protect the legacy of Glendale or succumb to a commercialism that slowly eats away at older neighborhoods such as this one? This neighborhood hopes that it can be preserved  as do other historic neighborhoods in Glendale. If we don’t speak for them…if we do not value their legacy…then what is Glendale’s destiny? To become just another ‘burb in the Valley of the ‘burbs??

© Joyce Clark, 2016

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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