Tags Articles tagged with "development"


Photo by Victor Moreno

Maricopa has the water to grow, but it also has a plan.

“Maricopa has had tremendous growth in its early incorporation,” said Kazi Haque, Maricopa’s assistant director of Development Services.

Haque said one of the big hurdles the city has to jump is the flood plain, as it is holding up the construction of 2,000 to 3,000 homes that have been approved. The proposed homes sit in the flood plain.

Transportation corridors are another big concern highlighted in the city’s planning.

Also in the series Drought & Development
Councilman gives Arizona 30 years left to survive
O’Halleran: Drought means no shortage of water issues
Contingency plan bites into Pinal County agriculture
GWR touts strong water future

“We have been practicing sustainable development,” Haque said. “Our Vision 2040 that our council approved several years ago in 2015 gives us the overall vision of which direction the city needs to go. That was our citizen-driven vision process. These are the ideas we’ve gotten from the citizens, telling us what to do.”

Once the city has a vision it is written into the general plan.

“It gives everybody a blueprint of our physical development for the next 15-20 years,” he said. “These are state-required policies that we have to maintain. Every city and town of a general population has to have a plan,” Haque said.

He said the general plan is the only governing document that must be approved by the voters of a community.

“This is approved by the voters, and we hear what the voters want,” said City of Maricopa public information officer Adam Wolfe. “Each department develops their own strategic plan to achieve these goals. We model our next year or two based on these goals. We do take this to heart. This is what our citizens want, and this is what they have approved.”

One advantage of Maricopa being such a young city compared to most in Arizona is that the infrastructure is new and built with technology and the future in mind.

“When you can develop things from the start that are more efficient, you have a much more sustainable city,” said Wolfe.

Haque said planned growth is also more sustainable because a city can provide infrastructure like water more effectively when growth happens in an area, not “leap-frogging” around the city.

“We plan for it and make it more cohesive rather than fragmented,” Haque said adding, “You plan it but sometimes things go wrong. We try to be cognizant of those facts and educate our staff and ourselves all of the time. We are up to date on technology as well as the rules and regulations.”

Haque said Maricopa is one of the last areas around Phoenix that has large tracts of land available.

“In 2003, they were building homes out here, 60 miles away from the county seat,” Haque said. “There was no real oversight. They were just rapidly building homes. The founding fathers thought they better have control of this place, or it would just be another town out in the desert. That’s when they decided to create a city.”

Though Arizona remains in a long-term drought that has lasted more than 20 years, an assured water supply in Maricopa has prevented the serious concern its possible depletion has caused in the rest of the state. As a result, Haque said Maricopa has “great potential” for growth. The city’s planning area actually covers 270 square miles. In all, the city has the potential to add up to 250,000 residential homes if it actually builds out its planning area.

The city’s planning area goes as far south as Interstate 8.

Haque said planning for inside the city’s boundaries is one thing, but there are variables  the city can’t control, namely road construction that connects Maricopa with the outside world.

“We have this vision. We have the resources set up,” Haque said. “You have to plan it in advance to make sure the infrastructure is in place. If we look at our projection in 2030 or 2040 or 2050, do we have adequate roads? Can they hold current traffic?”

Maricopa may plan their city, but they don’t own the roads leading to Phoenix, Chandler and Casa Grande.

“We need the resources right now,” Haque said. “When you talk outside the city limits you’re talking big money. If you’re talking about east-west corridors and that kind of stuff to Casa Grande and I-10, we’re talking about a lot of money.”

Wolfe said inside the city “we’re in very good shape. We have the plan and we have the natural resources in place like water. The only thing that limits potentially Maricopa from growing is roads. It is access to the city. When you go out of the city limits, we don’t control the roads.”

Wolfe said the City of Maricopa is working with its partners, the state of Arizona and the Gila River Indian Community to make needed improvements take place.

“If you get 160,000 people here by 2050, you have to make sure they can access other areas,” Wolfe said.

Medical offices planned for the southeast corner of Edison Road and John Wayne Parkway are designed to be two buildings with a connecting breezeway.

Maricopa Planning & Zoning Commission unanimously approved the development review.

Kazi Haque, the city’s lead planner, said the elevation “is a little bit different” and the city worked with the applicant to make some changes. As currently designed, doors to the buildings will be on the south side, with some spaces added to the already existing parking lot. The north elevation, facing Edison Road, will be the back of the building.

The lot shares the area with Big O Tires, 99 Cents Only and Aaron’s.

Edgar Felix of the RKAA Architecture firm said though Maricopa Police Department had expressed some concerns with the possibility of the breezeway hiding nefarious activity, the area will be fully visible from Edison Road.

The project next goes before city council.

A vacant lot owned by Signal Healthcare may become medical offices.

Medical offices may be coming to a busy corner in Maricopa.

The city’s Planning & Zoning Commission will look at a proposal for a major development review permit on the property on the southeast corner of Edison Road and John Wayne Parkway. The property is owned by Signal Healthcare LLC of Paradise Valley.

The lot is directly west of Big O Tires and north of Aaron’s, with paved parking mostly already in place. The plaza also includes the 99 Cents Only store.

Signal purchased the parcel in 2017.

The commission will look at the proposed site plan, landscape and elevations for 44565 W. Edison Road. The meeting is Monday at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

by -
The Anderson Russell Planned Area Development site is on the extreme southeast edge of Maricopa, outlined in red on the map and in the inset.

A cursory presentation delivered by city Development Services personnel to the Planning & Zoning Commission on Monday exposed concerns about the future development and annexation of a large parcel of land to the east of town.

The “high altitude” overview of the project raised questions among commissioners, who seemed worried about infrastructure installment costs and, above all else, about public safety.

Located at the nexus of Anderson Road and Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway south of the Ak-Chin Regional Airport, the 776-acre Anderson Russell Planned Area Development site is slated for the eventual development of 2,000-3,000 homes as part of the City’s 2040 Vision plan.

Commissioner Michael Sharpe, who at the same meeting was elevated to the position of vice chair, is one of several commissioners who expressed concerns over the project. He is worried about both the cost of infrastructure development and effects from the eventual widening of the highway.

“[It] requires investment in the necessary infrastructure, and that’s going to be difficult,” Sharpe said.

Sharpe asked if the city was “considering when Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway eventually gets expanded.”

Recently-appointed P&Z Chair Linda Huggins raised concerns about emergency situations that could arise due to the proximity of the airport and the subdivision’s distance from first responders.

“With this amount of area being developed, we definitely need to have the Transportation Department look at the egress and ingress,” Huggins said. “We can’t prevent first responders from being able to respond.”

Maricopa Police Chief Steve Stahl said he, too, is concerned about the implications of such obstacles. Though he believes in the city’s development, he said in its current state the MPD would be unable to properly serve the addition of so many homes.

“The way it sits right now there is a high probability that we would not be able to provide the appropriate amount of resources,” Stahl said, “both police and fire.”

Stahl also expressed concern about the isolated nature of the area.

Not only would it become inaccessible in the event of a flood, he said, but the railroad, which currently has trains traveling through Maricopa 40 or more times a day, could further isolate the subdivision, which would reside on the south side of the tracks with no current alternate access.

Development Services staff said they didn’t have all the answers to those questions and were giving only a loose overview of the proposal. A detailed report is due to come back to the commission at a future date.

If the commission decides to move forward with rezoning, public hearings will be held to allow for public input.

Dirt is moving in the Edison Pointe lot as developer Vintage Partners starts grading work. Photo by Mason Callejas

Construction equipment and earth movers began lining up Wednesday in the Edison Pointe lot just south of Fry’s Marketplace on John Wayne Parkway, an encouraging sign after what has been a multi-year struggle to develop the site.

Despite what appears to be a commencement of the project, there has been no official ground breaking.

Casey Treadwell, leasing director for Vintage Partners, the developer of the project, said there are still a few ducks left to line up before the project officially gets under way. The work beginning this week is an effort to prep for larger scale construction that now seems imminent.

“The previous development had some utilities and also some grading that didn’t exactly match what we’re going to do.” Treadwell said. “So, what the public is going to see out there is us going out there correcting some things from the previous development that started and then stopped.”

Though the activity is certainly preliminary to the larger project, Vintage Partners still has not released a set timeline for construction.

Stores looking at space in the new development include a big box pet store, clothing retailers, an automotive service center and restaurants.

by -
Long-empty areas in the Homestead subdivision will begin to fill with homes of new designs.

As a Homestead resident and a member of the Maricopa Planning & Zoning Commission, Michael Sharpe listened to his own neighbors express their concerns about proposals to shrink lot sizes and add houses to fill in the rest of the Homestead subdivision on the southeast side.

They were concerns he shared about increased density, HOA fees and transportation levels that could impact him personally.

He heard from Homestead residents like Robert Stock, who worried about increased crime and the impact on the surrounding environment.  “I don’t see this as a step in a positive direction,” Stock said.

“Affordable homes go hand-in-hand with crime,” Breeana Stock said.

Sharpe boiled down his unease with the major amendment to one question to developers: “Would you pursue this without the additional homes?”

Receiving no answer at that time, Sharpe’s concerns were not eased, and he was the P&Z Commission’s lone nay vote.
Much of the debate came from the definition of “additional.” Neighbors said the plans would squeeze in 113 more homes than were supposed to be there. The developers said that is not the case.

“We’re not increasing the approved number of lots. Not at all,” said Jordan Rose of Rose Law Group, representing the developers.

That is careful wording. The approved number is up to 2,408 lots.

That approval came from Pinal County in 2003. The lots were intended to be rather large, ranging from 65 feet wide to 80 feet wide.

After Maricopa became a municipality, it adopted the same platting. The developer at the time was DR Horton, which planned for only 2,295 lots. In between the approved 2,408 lots and the 2,295 planned lots lies the debate.

Starwood Land Ventures acquired Homestead in 2008.

“Homebuilders aren’t going to build on an 80-foot lot,” Rose said. “The market just isn’t there.”

P&Z Commissioner Michael Sharpe
P&Z Commissioner Michael Sharpe

So Starwood proposed the smaller lot sizes and smaller home sizes. At buildout in 2027, there will be probably fewer than 2,408 homes. But there will be more than the 2,295 DR Horton planned for, up to 113 more.

Though the depth of the lots remains at 125 feet, the width will be 45 to 55 feet. The setbacks remain the same to prevent crowding.

When the amendment came before the city council Sept. 6, Sharpe came forward to speak as a resident of Homestead.

He said the city staff did a “phenomenal job” turning lemons into lemonade to work with the developers’ request in a way to meet the newest zoning code. While some residents had expressed worries that HOA fees would go up for everyone in Homestead to account for additional open space maintenance in those parcels, Sharpe said there is a joint use agreement in place on a prorated basis to balance that.

After pointed questioning of the developer, the city council unanimously approved the amendment to change lot sized.

But other worries remained. Starwood has stipulations to meet regarding traffic impact. Traffic signals are required

During the P&Z meeting in August, neighbors opposed the amendment change for the development came out to speak.
During the P&Z meeting in August, neighbors opposed the amendment change for the development came out to speak.

at both ends of Homestead Parkway – Smith-Enke Road and Porter Road. An alternative configuration at the intersection of Honeycutt Road and Continental Boulevard is also requested.

“The subdivision was not designed with this additional traffic in mind,” Sharpe said.

Calling himself “pro-growth, pro-development,” Sharpe pleaded for smart growth and smart development.

A look at Homestead’s planned properties

Smaller homes on smaller lots are the plan for filling in the last of the Homestead North development.

After getting approval from Maricopa City Council, owner Starwood Land Ventures is changing the platting of parcels 15, 16, 18 and 19. In the process, developers want the look of the neighborhood to be different than other communities in Maricopa.

A percentage of the homes will be required to have front porches.

“That front porch emphasis was a particularly important highlight that we wanted to bring,” city planner Ryan Wozniak said. “We just thought that was a good addition to the social capital that our community would benefit from.”

The streets will have tree-lined sidewalks, with the trees between the sidewalks and the curb.

As proposed, each parcel has a theme tree. For instance, Parcel 15’s requested tree would be the thornless hybrid mesquite and the Parcel 18 tree is Chinaquapin oak. The trees and their maintenance are the responsibility of the homeowner.

The streets are planned to be 32 feet wide, with parking on one side.

The current plans are the result of city staff requiring specific details rather than allowing Starwood to design smaller lots, sell homes and then “go on down the road.” One representative of the developer said it turned out to be a benefit.

“Now we’re very excited to be able to bring this product that’s going to be tree-lined streets, porches, patios, enhanced communities,” said Shane Graser of Copper Nail Development.