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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.

What will be the impact on the Pendergast Elementary District’s schools, notably Desert Mirage and Sunset Ridge? Nedda Shafir, a Pendergast Elementary School district communication consultant, said in the May 18, 2017 edition of the Glendale Star that the school district is only projecting a rise of 1 to 2 percent of student enrollment (based on enrollment for the entire district), including the proposed Stonehaven project.

There are two elementary schools that appear to be impacted. Even though the Desert Mirage Elementary School is located at 8605 W. Maryland Avenue and the Stonehaven area is not within its attendance boundaries, it would appear that it will have to accommodate some of the new elementary students produced by Stonehaven. The elementary school that is targeted to receive this new influx of students is Sunset Ridge Elementary located at 8490 W. Missouri Avenue. Stonehaven is within its attendance boundaries.

The following information is publicly available by doing a quick internet search. Each school has a maximum capacity of approximately 700 students. The last publicly available enrollment figure for Desert Mirage was 627 students and the current enrollment for Sunset Ridge is 639 students. Again, a quick internet search provided this information.

If the changes to Stonehaven are approved by the city council there will be a total of 1,362 homes. If we multiply the expected 1,362 Stonehaven homes by the national average of .8 elementary students per household, the Pendergast Elementary School District will see its enrollment increase by 1,089.60 new students.

Both schools combined have a maximum capacity for 1,400 students.  Combined both schools have an estimated enrollment of 1,266 students. Stonehaven will nearly double the k-8 students population with an estimated 1,089 new students. It is obvious that neither or even both of these schools will be able to accommodate the new elementary students that Stonehaven will produce. The last Pendergast district bond vote was approved with financing to add classrooms to Sunset Ridge. 

In a letter dated June 20, 2017 addressed to the Stonehaven applicants, Dr. Lily Matos DeBlieux says, “The Pendergast Elementary School District has reviewed and evaluated the Stonehaven residential project. Sunset Ridge Elementary has the capacity and welcomes all students from the Stonehaven Community.”

It becomes clear that, despite the district’s assurances, it will not be able to accommodate this influx of students with new facilities within a year as required by Section 3 of Glendale’s City Code.

From Section 3 of the city’s Codes:

“B. No rezoning application shall be considered complete under Section 3.302 until the applicant provides a letter from the appropriate school district which certifies any of the following, or the time period for the school district’s response to a request for certification has expired under subsection D:

“1. That the school district has adequate school facilities to accommodate the projected number of new students within the school district’s attendance area;

“or 2. That the school district will have adequate school facilities by a planned capital improvement to be constructed within one (1) year and located within the school district’s attendance area;

“or 3. That the school district has determined an existing or proposed charter school can provide adequate school facilities;

“or 4. That the applicant and the school district have entered into an agreement to provide, or help to provide, adequate school facilities within the school district’s attendance area in a timely manner;

“or 5. That the school district does not have adequate school facilities to accommodate projected growth attributable to the rezoning. “ I ask you to judge for yourselves. Have any or all of these city requirements been met or justified with hard data in Dr. DeBlieux’s letter?

Also please take note of item #4, “That the applicant and the school district have entered into an agreement to provide, or help to provide, adequate school facilities within the school district’s attendance area in a timely manner.” There may be no such agreement at the moment but it does confirm what I have learned from within the development and educational communities…and that is, a developer will often make a dollar contribution per house constructed to do exactly what item #4 requires.

By the way, again from an internet search attributed to Civil Rights Data Collection, Desert Mirage has a student-teacher ratio of 28:1 and Sunset Ridge has a student-teacher ratio of 24:1. The Arizona state average is 21:1.

Copper Canyon High School, located at 9126 W. Camelback Road, within the Tolleson Union High School District, seems to fare no better than the elementary schools. Stonehaven is within the school’s boundaries. The Stonehaven applicants have no letter from the district in the latest packet of information they supplied on Friday, June 23rd to each member of the Glendale City Council.

Joseph Ortiz, Tolleson Union High School District Director of Public Relations and Marketing said in the May 18, 2017 edition of the Glendale Star, “The current average number of students per household for Tolleson is 1.35 per household. However, this number is only for our high schools and does not include their siblings in our partner elementary schools.” Tolleson has a planned site for a future high school at Broadway and Dysart Roads. Not to worry—that’s only about 8 miles south and 4 miles west of Stonehaven. FYI, it’s student-teacher ratio is 24:1 as compared to the Arizona state average of 21:1.

Current enrollment at Copper Canyon High School based on an internet search showed an enrollment figure of 2, 251. There is no publicly available information on its total student capacity.

If we multiply the 1,362 homes proposed under the Stonehaven changes by Mr. Ortiz’ figure of 1.35, the yield is 1,089.60 new students. That is nearly double the current enrollment and an unsustainable increase in the number of students for Copper Canyon.

Where are all of these children going to go? Perhaps the parents of children in these school districts deserve an explanation based on hard, factual data provided by the respective superintendents.

© 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.

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.

While the applicants attempt to sell you on their proposed changes to the originally approved plan their focus has been on  their investment in Glendale. The issues that should be important and thoroughly vetted are the specifics of the proposed changes such as traffic impacts. Below is a comparison of current daily trips on the 3 major arterials bounding the site to daily counts with and without a completed Bethany Home Road.

                                 CURRENT*          STONEHAVEN                   STONEHAVEN

                                                            W/OUT BETHANY                 WITH BETHANY

Camelback

83-91 Ave                   25,561***              54,000                             41,000

 

83rd Ave

Camelback-

Bethany                       15,104***             33,000                            27,000

 

91st Ave

Camelback-

Bethany                        11,044***            28,000                           23,000

                      

 

*     Current daily traffic count figures dated November of 2015 and provided by the City of Glendale

**   Stonehaven figures with and without Bethany provided by applicants and distributed at a neighborhood meeting

*** Combined total of AM and PM daily traffic counts provided by the City, Nov, 2015

Even with a completed Bethany Home Road, Stonehaven with its 1,392 new homes will increase estimated daily traffic counts by:

  • 15,439 daily trips on Camelback Road between 83rd Avenue and 91st Avenue
  • 15,105 daily trips on 83rd Avenue between Camelback Road and Bethany Home Road
  • 7,044 daily trips on 91st Avenue between Camelback Road and Bethany Home Road

85th Avenue looking north

However, the greatest traffic impact will fall on Camelback Park subdivision. It is a subdivision of approximately 180 homes on the north side of Camelback Road, sandwiched between 85th Avenue and 87th Avenue. They use those two streets to get into their neighborhood.

Currently what makes it worse for those residents is that 85th and 87th Avenues meld to the right into Missouri Avenue where Sunset Ridge Elementary School is located at 8490 W. Missouri Avenue. During the school year they already deal with morning and afternoon parental school traffic as the parents either drop off or pick up their children. Many locals turn left from Camelback onto 87th Avenue or 85th Avenue and cut through up to the traffic light at Missouri and 83rd Avenue to avoid the major intersection at Camelback Road and 83rd Avenue.

87th Avenue

One of the two major access points into Stonehaven is off of 91st Avenue eastward onto Montebello Avenue. The other major access point is off an eventually completed Bethany Home Road southward onto 87th Avenue.  Both of these major accesses into Stonehaven meld onto south bound 87th Avenue – the same current access for Camelback Park. Even with the proposed widening of 87th Avenue by Stonehaven’s proponents, this subdivision will receive the double whammy of Stonehaven traffic from 91st Avenue and Montebello and Bethany Home Road and 87th Avenue. I really feel sorry for these residents. They are about to get hammered. Here is the Open Space Master Plan. It depicts the Stonehaven system of roads about as well as any of their other exhibits.

 

Open Space Master Plan

Proponents say that these changes must be approved in order for the completion of Bethany Home Road. There is a Development Agreement by and between the City of Glendale (COG) and Jacob Long, Trustee of the John F. Long Family Revocable Living Trust (JFLT) dated February 26, 2008. Under the Recitals on page 1 of the agreement it states in Section B, “JFLT has filed with the City a General Plan Amendment application in Case GPA-13-06 and a companion PAD Zoning application in case ZON-13-09 (‘Entitlement’), in connection with the proposed development of mixed-use project (‘Stonehaven’) upon the PAD parcel.” GPA-13-06 and ZON 13-09 represent the original Stonehaven plan approved by city council in April of 2016. This agreement rests upon the original Stonehaven plan, not the changes proposed in the new Stonehaven plan.

Under Scope of Work, 1.2 the agreement states, “The parties acknowledge that the Bethany Home Road Extension will be completed and accepted on or before January 1, 2022.” That is the drop dead date for completion of Bethany using the originally approved Stonehaven of 2016 as its framework. Within this section it goes on to say, “…in the event that JFLT fails to deliver final plans and specifications for the Bethany Home Road Extension by the deadline specified in Section 3.4 (‘Design Deadline’), then as the City’s sole remedy, this Agreement will automatically expire and have no further effect, and the City will have no further financial obligations to JFLT…”

Under Section 2, Land Transfers, 2.2, it states, “On the Transfer Date, JFLT will also convey to the City the following land: (a) the land north of the centerline of the Bethany Home Road alignment, comprising the north portion of the right-of-way for the Bethany Home Road Extension (the “North “ROW’), and (b) certain undevelopable remnant parcels lying north of the north ROW that will be created by the final roadway configuration described in Section 3.1 (collectively the “Remnant Parcel’). The North ROW and the Remnant Parcel, which total approximately 11.85 acres are legally described in…” It goes on to say in this section, “As the fair market consideration for the North ROW and the Remnant Parcel, the City will pay JFLT a purchase price (‘Purchase Price’) of $One Million, Two Hundred Ninety-One Thousand Six Hundred Fifty Dollars ($1,291,650) (based upon the appraisal dated March 4, 2016)…” There are certainly questions that arise about this section. Why is it the city’s obligation to pay for “remnant parcels?” How much of the 11.85 acres make up the remnant parcels? Why if this Agreement was signed and recorded back in 2008 are they using an appraisal date of March 4, 2016? This date is just a little over a month before the city council approved the original Stonehaven plan in April of 2016?

Section 3, Design, 3.4 states, “JFLT will have final plans and specifications for the Bethany Home Road Extension completed by the civil engineer and approved by the Parties prior to the City’s issuance of the 275th building permit for the Residential Development Parcel)…” It is clear that the design is not due to be approved by the city until 275 homes are built.

Section 4, Construction, 4.2 says, “JFLT will cause the general contractor to commence construction of the Bethany Home Road Extension prior to the City’s issuance of the 400th home building permit.”  It certainly appears that it will be a couple of years before a shovel-full of dirt is turned on the construction of Bethany Home Road.

Section 5, City Payments, 5.1.b states, “After deducting all amounts paid by the City in satisfaction of those obligations, including the Final City Costs Payment, the City will pay to JFLT the remainder of the Transportation Development Impact Fees applicable to Residential Development Parcel collected by the City, but in no event more than the balance of the total Purchase Price.” This section seems to confirm that Development Impact Fees (DIF) are indeed used to pay for the north Bethany Home Road ROW.

Section 9, Assignment, 9.1 states, “JFLT reserves the right to assign the applicable rights and delegate the applicable obligations under this Agreement to any party to whom JFLT conveys all or any portion of the Residential Development Parcel for purposes of developing the residential communities at Stonehaven, whereupon JFLT will be relieved of any further liabilities with respect to such matters.” This appears to give JFLT the right to assign its obligations to Pulte Homes but it apparently does not grant the $1,291,650 to Pulte to offset the cost of construction of the road.

What do we have?

  • A traffic mess in the making with an extraordinary impact on the Camelback Park subdivision.
  • We have increased daily traffic counts with or without Bethany Home Road. The only difference is that the daily traffic counts are higher without Bethany Home Road connecting from 83rd Avenue to 91st Avenue. Just think of the number of cars that will leave and return to Stonehaven every day.
  • We have the city paying $1,291,650 for the north ROW for Bethany Home Road. Historically the city has never done this before and it sets precedent.
  • Part of the payment for the Bethany ROW comes from Transportation Development Impact Fees (DIF).
  • We have an agreement signed in 2008 yet appraisal for the land in question was not done until 2016.
  • We have a road whose design does not have to be submitted and approved until the 275th home is built.
  • We have a road whose construction does not begin until the 400th home is sold.

Is there any good news about Stonehaven? Well, yes sort of. If city council denies the proposed changes and retains the original plan at least it will be a fair and balanced approach to one of the last, major residential parcels in Glendale.

© 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.

 

 

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.

If the proponents of Stonehaven are to be believed…hmmm…it is their intent to offer “diversity and flexibility” to attract millennials, seniors and empty nesters to their smallest lot sizes of 4,000 SF and 4,500 SF. In order to attract these potential buying groups it is essential that Stonehaven provide amenities equal to or greater than the sites at which they have been residing. It has been reported repeatedly in various media that these groups are used to a certain lifestyle including upgraded amenities and expect the same as they make a major investment in a home.

This is from the Stonehaven PAD application, page 21, Section 4.4.1, Active and Passive Open Space, “ Stonehaven will provide an abundance of active and passive open spaces, as depicted on Figure 11, Open Space Master Plan ( I have provided a copy of the plan below). Active open spaces will be evenly distributed throughout the community, providing a variety of recreational opportunities within close proximity to all residents. Amenities will include numerous tot lots, sport courts, soccer fields, ramadas, picnic areas, informal play areas coupled with retention, and trails connecting the overall open space center of the community, providing a community-wide amenity for the use and enjoyment of all residents. Additional passive open spaces will be provided throughout the community along primary entry features, along primary roadways, and between active open space areas connecting the community-wide open space system and providing an open, attractive environment. Retention basins will be integrated into the active and passive open space system, while the primary active amenities such as tot lots and sport courts will remain dry during normal rainfall events.”

Open Space Master Plan

In some parts of the Stonehaven PAD application it is very short on detail and this area is one such. They state that there is 60 acres of open space, both active and passive, provided meeting the minimum of 15% of open space required by the city. This appears to be accurate but it’s difficult to confirm since no data is provided on how much acreage of the open space is active and how much is passive. They do offer that the community park will be 9.1 acres. If you look at their map, there seems to be approximately 10 small pocket parks perhaps a half an acre to an acre in size. Again, they provide no data so it is hard to be exact.

Stonehaven looking west from Sunset Ridge Park

What will the potential home buyer in Stonehaven find? A 9.1 acre community park that directly abuts the 5 acre city park (Glendale taxpayer funded) next to Sunset Elementary School. Why go to the expense of putting a tot lot or basketball park in their 9.1 acre community park when the city has already has those amenities in its park so conveniently close?      

Sunset Ridge Park

 

 

 

 

 

Heroes Park looking northeast

Reference is also made to the Grand Canal Linear Park (city of Glendale and Maricopa County funded); Camelback Park subdivision’s small 3 acre park (with another convenient access route from Stonehaven); and Heroes Park (Glendale taxpayer funded and still unfinished after 20 years).

Stonehaven does not appear to offer much active open space and instead relies on its residents having access to and using city funded active recreation areas. Stonehaven is like a Remora. A Remora is a small fish that purposefully and continually swims with a shark. They have a symbiotic relationship.  Stonehaven, the Remora, appears to have purposefully skimped on active open space relying instead on nearby city, taxpayer funded amenities (the shark).

Keep in mind that a lot of the green area on their Open Space map is street landscaping on the road system, internal streets and entryways. How much acreage is devoted to landscaping? You can’t tell because there is no hard data provided. Are these deliberate omissions of fact? Who knows? If they don’t provide hard data they can’t be criticized if it is insufficient.

It is also interesting to note that Pulte has no problem creating amenities for their other 18 subdivision under construction throughout the valley. Here’s a list of active amenities they offer elsewhere:

  • splash water park
  • indoor rock climbing wall
  • indoor basketball courts
  • lighted tennis courts, softball stadium
  • community pool
  • basketball courts
  • volleyball courts
  • adventure playgrounds
  • dog park
  • amphitheater

Where are these kinds of amenities designed to attract millennials, empty nesters and seniors? Instead the small 4,000 SF, 4,500 SF and 5,500 SF lots are located behind or adjacent to their planned commercial areas consisting of “restaurant row” and a planned grocery center. The lack of active amenities coupled with the location of the small lots is not designed to attract millennials, seniors and empty nesters. The central question is, would you select a home on a 4,000 SF lot with little to no front, side and back yards; behind or adjacent to the commercial centers with a small pocket park that also serves the subdivision’s need for water retention; and has a 9.1 acre community park with sparse amenities serving the needs of 1,391 other homes? If your answer is ‘no’ then how can you possibly support the changes Stonehaven proponents are seeking?

© 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.

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 are Yucca district residents circulating petitions in opposition to the Stonehaven residential plan that will be heard before the Planning & Zoning Commission on Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 6 PM at City Hall in the Council chambers. I have been asked to provide information about the proposal:

2016 city council approved Stonehaven plan. Now add applicant’s request for another 300 homes.

  • The applicants, John F. Long Trust and Pulte Homes have submitted GPA 17-01 and ZON 17-01. It will be heard by the citizen Planning & Zoning Commission on May 18, 2017.
  • The land is about 365 acres located between Bethany Home Road to Camelback Road and from 83rd Avenue to 91st Avenue. The land is currently being farmed.
  • There is a plan for this land that was already approved by Glendale’s City Council in 2016. The density of that plan is 1,100 homes on lots ranging in size from 5,000 square feet to 8,000 square feet. The applicant is requesting more density (more homes) on smaller lot sizes.
  • Their application asks for an increase (more density) in the number of homes from an approved 1,100 to 1,406 homes.
  • Their request asks to reduce lot sizes from a minimum of 5,000 SF to 4,000/4,500 SF and to reduce the largest lot sizes of 8,000 SF to 7,000 SF.
  • If approved 45% (nearly half) of the project would be on the minimum lot sizes described above (4,000 SF and 4,500 SF).
  • The applicant proposes to develop an 8 acre park within the subdivision. This equals .02% of the total 365 acres. No additional open space has been identified by the applicant.
  • Typically a developer will provide 10% to 15% of a planned subdivision for parks and open space. This applicant has not done so. For this project parks and open space should be a minimum of 36 acres (that is 10% of 365 acres).
  • It is estimated that the construction of Bethany Home Road would not have to be completed until 2021 per an agreement between the John F. Long Trust and the City of Glendale or…until 200 homes are sold and the design for Bethany must be submitted and when 475 homes are sold, construction of Bethany must begin (per the agreement).
  • Until Bethany Home Road is completed additional traffic pressure from this new subdivision will increase traffic on 83rd Avenue, Camelback Road and 91st Avenue.  
  • With new residents and no Bethany Home Road, we can expect average daily traffic loads of an estimated 54,000 vehicles on Camelback Road; 28,000 vehicles on 91st Avenue; and 33,000 vehicles on 83rd Avenue (statistics provided by applicant).
  • If this proposed subdivision is approved the Pendergast Elementary School District will experience the addition of an estimated 759 (conservative estimate) new K-8 students with a need for 25 new classrooms (at 30 students per classroom).
  • The two closest elementary schools that will experience the pressure of 759 new students are Desert Mirage at 8600 W. Maryland and Sunset Ridge at 8500 W. Missouri.
  • Typically a residential developer will donate $1000 per home to the affected school district virtually assuring that the required approval assuring no detrimental impact from the school district will be granted.

© 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.

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

In the two months since I returned as the Yucca district councilmember I have met with developers of at least 6 proposed residential developments in the district. Some good…some not so good. I will support those that support my goal of Upgrading Glendale. Occasionally there will be a project that doesn’t Upgrade Glendale but also does no major harm either. In those cases there may not be an opportunity to upgrade the proposal. Here is an overview of the current crop of applicants:

  1. Bethany Ranch – the property is located at the southwest corner of Bethany Home Road and 71st Avenue. The current zoning on the property is R 1-6 (6,000 square foot lots). All of the existent homes surrounding this property are also R 1-6. The applicant is asking for a Rezoning to R 1-6 PRD (Planned Residential Development) and approval of its Preliminary Plat. As much as I would like to see this property “upzoned” it is not realistic when all of the homes in the area are on the same lot sizes. I am concerned about the very skinny lots adjacent to 71st Avenue and will ask for further explanation at the applicant’s announced Neighborhood Meeting on March 1st at 6 PM at Coyote Ridge Elementary School, 7677 W. Bethany Home Road. I hope you will join me in learning more about this proposed project.
  2. Stonehaven – the property is located between the Grand Canal and Camelback Road, 83rd Avenue to 91st Avenue. The applicant, Pulte Homes is asking for a “Minor General Plan Amendment” increasing the density from the council approved 1,100+ homes to over 1,400 homes with some lots as small as 3,000 square feet. I do not support this proposal as it is not in keeping with Upgrading Glendale. I hope you will join me in asking the Planning Department to recommend denial and asking the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council to deny the applicant’s request.
  3. Unnamed – the property is located at the southeast corner of Northern Avenue and 83rd Avenue (Yucca district’s large lot corridor). The applicant is proposing R 1-6 (6,000 square foot) lots. Across 83rd Avenue to the west are one acre, irrigated properties. To the south are two gated, large lot communities on the east side of 83rd Avenue. I do not support this proposal as its proposed lots are not comparable to the properties closest to it. It does not advance Upgrading Glendale. The applicant is in the preliminary stages and has not held a Neighborhood Meeting yet.
  4. Jaafar Estates – the property is located on the east side of 83rd Avenue, just north of Glen Eden Estates (at the northeast corner of 83rd Avenue and Glendale Avenue). It is a long, skinny piece of property, a little over 5 acres in size. It is on the east side of 83rd Avenue and just south of the Tennis Ranch. In its Neighborhood Meeting the applicant is requesting R4 zoning allowing approximately 24 lots. The Glen Eden subdivision is R 1-7 (7,000 square foot lots) and across the street on the west side of 83rd Avenue is Rovey Farm Estates with its minimum sized lots of R 1-8 (minimum of 8,000 square foot lots). I will not support this proposal as it does not advance Upgrading Glendale.
  5. Orangewood Terrace – the property is located on the south side of Orangewood Avenue, just west of 79th Avenue. The applicant has held its Neighborhood Meeting and has been sensitive to the requests of the adjoining neighborhoods. The applicant will place its largest lots abutting 79th Avenue (a street of acre, irrigated properties) and the balance of the project will be R 1-8, matching the lot sizes of West Glenn Estates. The applicant has made sure to accommodate the adjacent neighborhoods by making sure  Myrtle Avenue has no connection to 79th Avenue or to the streets in West Glenn Estates. It is a project that I can support.
  6. Bella Vista Homes – the property is located south of Bethany Home Road and east of 83rd Avenue. The existent zoning is SR-17 (17,000 square foot lots) and the applicant proposes to keep that zoning. The applicant has not held its Neighborhood Meeting yet and is in preliminary discussions with the city’s Planning Department. Based upon what I have learned to date it is a project that exemplifies the goal of Upgrading Glendale.

So there you have it. All of these proposals have further steps in the process to gain approval that have not been taken yet. Some will succeed. Others will fall by the wayside. As residents of the Yucca district it is our responsibility to support those projects that help to make our district and our city a better place to live. It’s also our responsibility to disapprove those projects that do not meet that goal.

In the coming months there may be the opportunity to welcome some wonderful commercial developments to Glendale. They are still in the “talking stage” and thus must remain confidential. When the principals are comfortable with making their announcements, I will be introducing those to you as well.

As the economy rebounds, the Yucca district has once again become the “hot spot” for residential and commercial development. It’s up to us to be discerning and to remember, does this proposed project Upgrade Glendale?

© 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.

On the evening of January 11, 2017, the applicants, John F. Long Trust (property owner) and Pulte Homes (proposed builder) held a neighborhood meeting at Sunset Ridge Elementary School at 6 PM. I want to thank all of the citizens who took the time out of their busy schedules to attend. The final count of  citizens who attended 72. You rock! Thank you!

Residents attend Stonehaven meeting

Be advised you will have to repeat that night’s attendance again when the applicants’ Minor General Plan Amendment request is heard before the citizen Planning and Zoning Commission and also before the city council.

The meeting room had boards ringing the room depicting the proposed development. Various Pulte and John F. Long Trust personnel were stationed at each of the presentation boards. Did I ever mention how much I hate this type of meeting presentation? It’s a travesty. It’s designed to talk to small groups making it less difficult to sell a project. It’s so much easier to pick people off and convince them of the wonderfulness of a project this way.  If a citizen is not savvy enough to ask the right questions, the person never is told the complete story about the project.

I was pretty darned angry. So I talked (maybe talked forcefully) to the Pulte people and advised them that citizens would be placing chairs in the center of the room where everyone would sit and wait for a presentation from them. That way everyone would hear the same information at the same time and could ask questions or make comments to the presenter(s). Here’s the result of our polite but forceful insistence (resistance??).

The presenters were Jim Miller, John F. Long Trust attorney and Susan Demmitt, Gammage & Burnham attorney representing Pulte Homes, and Greg Abrams, VP of Land Acquisitions for Pulte Homes. The neighborhood meeting was required because the applicants are asking for a Minor General Plan Amendment changing the land use on 65 of the 300+ acres from Medium Density (2.5 to 3.5 homes to an acre) to Medium-High Density (5 to 8 homes to an acre).  The result of this change, if approved by the citizen Planning & Zoning Commission and the City Council, would result in some lots as small as 3,000 square feet. What on God’s green earth will this single family, detached home look like? How about a cracker box?

One of the citizens commented that he was familiar with a similar project in another Valley city where 3,000 square foot lots and small homes had been allowed. The homes could not be resold and so the area became a mass of rental properties. We all know what happens to rental properties and generally, it’s not a pretty picture.

Another citizen commented that there was every possibility that the close proximity of these tiny lots and tiny homes to the University of Phoenix stadium (approximately a mile away) would make these properties extremely attractive to investors who would purposefully buy them as rentals to accommodate football fans, especially for events like the Super Bowl or Fiesta Bowl.

One of the presenters commented that this type of lot size and home would be purchased by millennials. Excuse me, but aren’t millennials living at home with their parents because they can’t afford to buy a home? And many of them simply don’t want to buy a home… period.

Think about it. I live in a 2, 964 square foot home. I suspect some readers of this blog have homes the same size as mine or larger. I have been trying to image a lot size the same size as my home. I can’t do it.  It literally boggles the mind. Glendale has never allowed 3,000 square foot lot sizes…anywhere, at any time. They should not allow them ever and certainly this residential development should not become a guinea pig for such a lot size and product.

Equally as discouraging, was Pulte’s reduction of lot sizes adjacent to Missouri Ranch (a subdivision of 10,000 square foot lots). Originally the lot sizes adjacent to Missouri Ranch and south of the Grand Canal were supposed to be 8,000 square feet. In this new proposed Minor General Plan Amendment these lots sizes shrink to 7,000 square feet.

The presenters, when asked, shared that the number of homes under the presently approved plan of development was about 1,100 homes. This request for a Minor General Plan Amendment, if approved, would increase the number of homes to over 1,400 homes. Mr. Miller also confirmed that they did not have to submit a design plan for the construction of Bethany Home Road until the 200th home building permit was pulled and did not have to start building Bethany Home Road until the 400th home building permit was pulled.

I went back and reviewed the Bethany Home Road Agreement between the John F. Long Trust (JFLT) and the city approved by the city council on April 26, 2016 (as well as the original Stonehaven Planned Area Development [PAD] allowing 1,100 homes). The following was agreed by both parties with regard to Bethany Home Road : “The Parties acknowledge that the Bethany Home Road Extension will be completed and accepted on or before January 1, 2022.” That’s 5 years from now.

In Section 3.4 of the agreement, JFLT (John F. Long Trust) will have final plans and specifications for the Bethany Home Road Extension completed by the civil engineer and approved by the Parties prior to the City’s issuance of the 275th home building permit for the Residential Development Parcel (subject to Force Majeure Events and any mutually-agreed extensions).” It is safe to assume that it will be several years before the Long Trust even has to turn in a design plan for Bethany Home Road to the city.

Under Section 4.2 it states, “JFLT will cause the general contractor to commence construction of the Bethany Home Road Extension prior to the City’s issuance of the 400th home building permit for the Residential Development Parcel and to achieve completion and acceptance within one (1) year thereafter (subject to Force Majeure Events and any mutually-agreed extensions), but in no event later than the Outside Completion Deadline (January 1, 2022).” How long will it be before the 400th home building permit is issued? Several years probably. In the meantime Stonehaven residents will have limited access to their newly created subdivision. It will certainly put even more pressure on the traffic flow on Camelback Road which is already a mess with the development of the D.L. Horton subdivision on the north side of Camelback Road at approximately 93rd Avenue.

Of even more concern and precedent setting was council’s approval within this agreement of a $1.2 million dollar payment to the Long Trust for the right-of-way needed for the proposed city construction of the north side of Bethany Home Road between 83rd Avenue and 91st Avenue. When a developer builds a subdivision the developer is responsible for paying for and constructing the roads that will serve its planned community. If it’s a major arterial road, such as Bethany Home Road, then the developer will dedicate the necessary right-of-way for the entire road but only pay for construction of its half of the road with the city being responsible for paying for construction of the other half of the road.

Not so in this case and that is what is precedent setting. A senior staffer, part of a “city team” that negotiated with the John F. Long trust, acknowledged that the city had asked Long for dedication of right-of-way for the north side of Bethany Home Road and that the Long Trust refused.  Having been refused its request, the city rolled over and negotiated a payment of $1.2 million dollars to the Long Trust for the right-of-way for the north side of Bethany Home Road. This is precedent setting. I know of no other instance where the city had to pay a developer for right-of-way for a major road that would serve a planned residential development.

Why didn’t the city team decide that if the trust was unwilling to make the necessary dedication for Bethany Home Road that perhaps the entire residential project should not be approved?  The city could have decided that if the trust was unwilling to make the necessary dedication precluding the full construction of Bethany Home Road that the proposed residents of the project would not have adequate ingress and egress from the project. Under that scenario, the Long Trust eager to sell the land to a developer, would have had to dedicate the right-of-way for the north side of Bethany Home Road, if it wanted to approval for Stonehaven and thus successfully complete the purchase of the land by a developer.

Stonehaven currently comprises over 300+ acres and proposes over 1,100+ homes. It looks nothing like Rovey Farm Estates, another planned area development. Rovey Farm estates had approximately the same acreage but only 800+ homes ranging on lot sizes from 7,000 square feet on the west side of the project to one acre lots on the east side of the project. It also contains 3 gated communities within it. If this Minor General Plan Amendment is approved instead of 1,100 homes on 300+ acres, it would be over 1,400 homes on 300+ acres.

Just as the city council listened to a neighborhood and denied the Bio-Life application at its January 10, 2017 meeting, let us hope that they will continue this practice and listen to a host of neighborhoods opposed to these applicants’ request for even greater density and the downsizing of lot sizes in this project.

Glendale has many, many starter homes and mid-level homes throughout the community. Isn’t it time to demand upscale, upgraded communities on the vacant parcels it has left? Shouldn’t the goal be to upgrade Glendale rather than build to the common denominator of what’s already there?

How does this Minor General Plan Amendment serve the best interests of Glendale’s existent residents and the soon-to-be new Stonehaven residents?

© 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 THE VIDEO ON SAMMY CHAVIRA’S USE OF TAXPAYER MONEY TO THE LEFT OF THIS COLUMN

It has been 18 years and 146 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

At the city council voting meeting of April 26, 2016 there were two agenda items that should raise  eyebrows. One was the council approval of the Long Trust proposed residential project located between Bethany Home Road and Camelback Road, 83rd Avenue to 91st Avenue called “Stonehaven.” It comprises over 300+ acres and proposes over 1,100+ homes. By the way, it will look nothing like Rovey Farm Estates, another planned area development. Rovey Farm estates had approximately the same acreage but only 800+ homes ranging on lot sizes from 7,000 square feet on the west side of the project to one acre lots on the east side of the project.

Stonehaven will have 1,100+ homes on lots, 43% of which will be 5,500 square feet…very small lots with very small homes. For this reason alone, many concerned residents asked that Stonehaven be tabled with council direction to take another look at these very small lots. The 5,500 square foot lot size does not even meet the city’s minimum standard for detached homes which should be R 1-6 (6,000 square feet). All of the citizen’s concern fell on deaf ears and city council approved Stonehaven unanimously.

Of more concern and precedent setting was council’s approval of a $1.2 million dollar payment to the Long Trust for the right-of-way for the proposed city construction of the north side of Bethany Home Road between 83rd Avenue and 91st Avenue. When a developer builds a subdivision the developer is responsible for paying for and constructing the roads that will serve its planned community. If it’s a major arterial road, such as Bethany Home Road, then the developer will dedicate the necessary right-of-way for the entire road but pay for construction of only half of the road with the city being responsible for paying for construction of the other half of the road.

Not so in this case and that is what is precedent setting. A senior staffer, part of a “city team” that negotiated with the John F. Long trust, acknowledged that the city had asked Long for dedication of right-of-way for the north side of Bethany Home Road and that Long refused.  Having been refused its request, the city rolled over and negotiated a payment of $1.2 million dollars to Long for the right-of-way for the north side of Bethany Home Road. This is precedent setting. I know of no other instance where the city had to pay a developer for right-of-way for a major road that would serve the planned residential development.

Why didn’t the city team decide that if the trust was unwilling to make the necessary dedication for Bethany Home Road that perhaps the entire residential project should not be approved?  The city could have decided that if the trust was unwilling to make the necessary dedication precluding the full construction of Bethany Home Road that the proposed residents of the project would not have adequate ingress and egress from the project. Under that scenario, the Long Trust eager to sell the land to a developer, would have had to dedicate the right-of-way for the north side of Bethany Home Road, if it wanted to approval for Stonehaven.

There is more within the approved development agreement between the Long Trust and the City of Glendale, “The Parties acknowledge that the Bethany Home Road Extension will be completed and accepted on or before January 1, 2022.” That’s 6 years from now.

In Section 3.4 of the agreement, JFLT (John F. Long Trust) will have final plans and specifications for the Bethany Home Road Extension completed by the civil engineer and approved by the Parties prior to the City’s issuance of the 275th home building permit for the Residential Development Parcel (subject to Force Majeure Events and any mutually-agreed extensions).” It is safe to assume that it will be several years before the Long Trust even has to turn in a plan for the road to the city.

Under Section 4.2 it states, “JFLT will cause the general contractor to commence construction of the Bethany Home Road Extension prior to the City’s issuance of the 400th home building permit for the Residential Development Parcel and to achieve completion and acceptance within one (1) year thereafter (subject to Force Majeure Events and any mutually-agreed extensions), but in no event later than the Outside Completion Deadline (January 1, 2022).” How long will it be before the 400th (40%) home building permit is issued? Several years at least. In the meantime these new residents will have limited access to their newly created subdivision.

How does any of this agreement serve the best interests of Glendale’s taxpayers and the soon-to-be new residents?

© 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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