The Planning and Zoning Commission on March 28 recommended rezoning changes to several properties within the proposed Maricopa Station development area, citing the need to “promote greater commercial activity.”

The panel’s recommendations move forward to City Council, which will take action on them during its April 4 meeting.

The changes would affect a multitude of properties covering approximately 63 acres in the vicinity of John Wayne Parkway and Honeycutt Avenue, just south of Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway, transforming the area to commercial and mixed-use zoning from rural and industrial.

An image of the proposed rezoning for Maricopa Station, located at the intersection of John Wayne Parkway and Honeycutt Avenue. The area previously consisted of a combination of county-defined industry, business and rural zoning areas. Photo courtesy of City of Maricopa.

Derek Scheerer, an urban planner for the city, anticipates that simplifying zoning to just one type from a patchwork of county and city types will aid development.

“The city has always looked at this area called Maricopa Station as a (future) commercial driver,” Scheerer said when presenting the proposed changes to P&Z. “This is just south of the Historic City Center. It’s a very appropriate place for this kind of commercial development and mixed-use development. The city is moving forward to clean this up.”

Scheerer also noted that public comment on the rezoning seemed neutral, at best.

“There were no opponents and there generally wasn’t specific support, but no one was against it,” Scheerer said. “They just wanted clarification of what was happening.”

P&Z Commissioner Jim Irving made a recommendation that Development Services review with Maricopa Unified School District the potential for increased traffic congestion. Four schools and Exceptional Community Hospital are within a half-mile of the intersection.

“If you’ve ever tried to drive in that area at 2:30 p.m., you’re behind close to 25 school buses,” Irving said. “Just a recommendation to look at, because I know very well what that area is like for those two hours.”

Scheerer said city staff is reviewing options to alleviate traffic in the area.

Following a public hearing that resulted in no comments, the P&Z Commission unanimously recommended the zoning amendment.

It will be reviewed and open again for public comment during the City Council meeting.