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


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