By Bill Van Nimwegen
The Apache Junction Planning & Zoning Commission met on Tuesday, September 11 and unanimously approved a proposed amendment to the city’s land use map to redesignate a 38 acre property at the southwest corner of E. Old West Highway and S. Goldfield Road from Community Commercial to Medium Density Residential.
Plans for the site include a community development of 178 single-family houses.
The proposal was made by McMillan Manufactured Home Development Company LC and Lennar Homes, represented by Ralph Pew. Mr. Pew told the Commissioners that the development is in its early stages, and because of the property’s proximity to Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) land, there would be a slow, but sure progress to ground-breaking.
Senior Planning Administrator Rudy Esquiviaz gave a brief history of the city’s original plans for the site, including commercial development that would make the eastern entrance to Apache Junction a kind of “gateway” to a commercial district along Old West Highway.
Mr. Esquiviaz said the staff no longer thinks that plan is viable. Infrastructure has been slow to extend to the area, and planning staff is in favor of the land use redesignation.
Several public meetings have already been held on the proposal and, with the exception of one neighbor who voiced concern that 2-story homes might block his view, the plan has met with no opposition.
Mr. Pew said that the preliminary plat of the subdivision (see illustration) has not gotten to the stage of specifying dwelling sizes. Also not finalized are the entrance and exit details, which may depend on ADOT.
If the development wants to have an entrance off Goldfield Road, it will need to cut openings in existing ADOT medians.
Commissioners Peter Heck and Steve Kridler expressed hope that the residential development might spur commercial interest in the area. Mr. Pew is of the opinion that the development of brick and mortar businesses like big box home improvement stores is diminishing. He encouraged the city not to wait for them.
Also discussed was the viability of mixed-use (residential and business complexes) in Apache Junction. Mr. Pew said that financing for such projects was hard to get, and Apache Junction lacks the population density required for success.
The Commission ran down the list of findings before approving the land use redesignation. The matter will be heard by the Apache Junction City Council in a public hearing this week.
The Commission also discussed and held a public hearing for two other land use map amendments at their September 11 meeting.
The Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval to Council of GPA-1-18, general plan land use map amendment to redesignate 50 acres of a 78-acre property at the southeast corner of US-60 and S. Idaho Road, from Community Commercial to Light Industrial/Business Park.
The companion rezoning case to the map amendment was recommended for a continuation. PZ-2-18 would rezone the 50 acre property from B-1/PD (General Commercial by Planned Development) to B-5/PD (Light Industrial/Business Park by Planned Development). The proposals were made by Amerco Real Estate Company and U-Haul International LLC, represented by David Pollock.
Commissioners were persuaded to give the applicant more time to consider conditions and costs relating to the rezoning and will hold further discussions at a later date.
Planning & Zoning Commission meetings are open to the public and held in chambers at 300 E. Superstition Blvd. in Apache Junction. Complete agendas and supporting materials are available at https://apachejunction.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx.