[Bryan Mordt]

Apartments – many of them – are coming to Maricopa in the next couple of years. They are an important cog in the economic engine that will power growth in the city, City officials say.

This year’s City Council election and the winners’ leadership on housing – and other issues – will help shape the city’s future.

Four candidates — Adam Leach, Vincent Manfredi, Rich Vitiello and Henry Wade — are running for three seats on the council. Leach, a Maricopa Realtor, has never held public office. Manfredi, Vitiello and Wade are incumbents. Manfredi, the city’s interim mayor, is co-owner and advertising director of InMaricopa. Vitiello is the general manager for Kooline Plumbing. Wade is director of housing counseling services for Chicanos Por La Causa.

The primary will be held Aug. 2. Early voting has begun.

At a recent town hall at the Maricopa Library and Cultural Center the candidates discussed their perspectives on apartments and other housing issues.

Rise of the apartments

When it comes to housing, apartments are a controversial issue in Maricopa. But Vitiello doesn’t feel like they should be. He asked the crowd about their past living situations.

“How many people here have ever lived in an apartment?”

Just about everyone raised their hand in affirmation.

Apartments rise at West Maricopa Village at State Route 238 and North Loma Road. [Brian Petersheim Jr.]
“When young adults are starting out in life, they can’t afford to buy a home. Prices are skyrocketing nowadays,” Vitiello said. “And I don’t know about you guys, but I’d like for my kids to be able to move out of the house.”

Wade said as the city grows, different kinds of housing are going to be needed.

“It’s inevitable,” Wade said. “It is going to happen. When we first started talking about apartments, many years ago when we had housing experiment study and we studied the need for apartments, guess what? The need was there, and it continues to exist.

“And I have to agree with my current co-councilmembers, that the young professionals want a place of their own. They can’t afford to purchase a home, but they can afford to live in an apartment for a period of time. What we have to be conscious of and recognize is we have to be responsible in our growth process and our zoning process.

“We have to make sure that we make good decisions for the developers and ensure that the developers make good decisions when they’re coming into our community to build,” Wade said.

Manfredi said the stereotypes about the people who live in apartments are unfair.

“I admit, when I first moved to Phoenix before coming to Maricopa, I lived in apartments for a couple of years,” he said. “I don’t think I’m garbage. I’m not a bad person.”

Manfredi said apartments will drive job growth.

“Diversified housing allows people to come here and work here. It’s important.”

He said companies like Intel, which has a huge campus in Chandler, have differing levels of pay.

“They’ll have people making $50,000, $60,000, $100,000 or $500,000,” he said. “They all have different kinds of housing they’re going to be looking for. The fact that we’re putting that in today and adding that availability will open up a brighter future for the development of jobs.”

Editor’s notes: Vincent Manfredi is co-owner of InMaricopa. This content was first published in the July edition of InMaricopa magazine.