One planned project brought out frustrations entailed in the City of Maricopa’s General Plan and how traffic flow is designed.
Though the Planning & Zoning Commission unanimously recommended El Dorado Holding’s Rev Development to the city council for approval, commissioners and staff used the opportunity to push for change.
Rev is planned as a 25-acre residential and commercial area on the southeast corner of Bowlin Road and Porter Road. Still in the application-review stage with few details, it was before the commission asking for a minor General Plan amendment and a zoning change. The residential portion of the project is to be a gated complex of 200 rental housing units.
Those units are planned as a combination of single-story, standalone and duplexes with one, two or three bedrooms. The main access will be off Porter Road, with a secondary access off Bowlin.
The commercial portion, on about five acres at the corner of the intersection, will have “neighborhood commercial” designation.
City staff is using a 15-year-old General Plan for guidance on these developments.
“The 2005 General Plan is a very suburban sprawl type of model,” Deputy Director Rodolfo Lopez said. “Our land-use pattern has to change in the future, so we have a better type of transportation corridor.”
Though it is a down time traffic-wise at the moment, Porter Road has direct access points for three schools, a preschool, Pacana Park, Banner Health and The Wells businesses like Walmart. It also channels traffic for Central Arizona College and two other charter schools. The Glennwilde subdivision is on both sides of Porter.
The addition of multi-family housing to the mix without a way for commissioners to consider the overall traffic flow perturbed the board.
In this case, the traffic impact analysis, which has been submitted to the planning department by the applicant, will not go to the commission until later.
“Traffic will be fully vetted through a traffic impact analysis at the time of the development review permit submittal,” Assistant Planner Peter Morgoliner told the commission. “That is individually for the residential component and the commercial component.”
The one letter of concern the staff received before the meeting expressed concern about traffic.
Brad Hinton with El Dorado Holdings said he gets the concern about traffic in that area of Porter Road. He once lived in Glennwilde, and his children attended Legacy Traditional School, and he witnessed the school traffic.
“I would tell you that we have already done a detailed traffic impact analysis, which has already been submitted,” Hinton said.
Current commercial zoning on the parcel, from the county before incorporation, describes a “much higher intensive use from a traffic perspective.” Hinton said the proposed land use, which the commission approved, is less intensive, and that will show up in the traffic impact analysis.
Nevertheless, commissioners wanted staff to find ways for them to more fully consider traffic in future plans.
“We have to start looking at all these traffic impacts more holistically,” Commissioner Dan Frank said.
“We’ve got to address that issue more thoroughly than we do,” Commissioner Ted Yocum said.
Chairperson Linda Huggins agreed: “We do definitely need to get our hands wrapped around traffic analysis a little bit better.”
But Huggins was also frustrated with the City’s 300-foot rule for notifying neighboring properties about a pending project. She said that rule needs to be changed to widen the scope, even if the change must be done at the council level.
“We need to extend that out, especially in projects this big,” Huggins said.
Lopez said City planners have been working on a “Zoning Touchup” project, which is a “laundry list” of changes they think should be made to the process. That list has been compiled over the past five years.
He also said the City is at “the stage where we may have to revisit the land use plan.”
The Rev at Porter is the latest of a series of multi-family development plans in Maricopa. An apartment complex called Oasis at the Wells is being built on the west side of Porter. There are also the Bungalows on Bowlin on the northwest corner of John Wayne Parkway and Bowlin Road. Two senior housing developments are planned at Copper Sky, and a small complex of 27 units is planned on Porter Road just south of the intersection with Honeycutt Road.
Lopez said the Housing Plan/Housing Needs Assessment has helped the City identify the current housing stock, which is more than 21,000 homes. It shows the City lacks diversity in housing and is about 5,000 units short of an appropriate number of alternative housing, like rentals.
“We are now seeing some good projects coming in,” he said.