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New housing is going up all over Maricopa. Photos by Raquel Hendrickson

A lot of dirt is moving, and it’s to Maricopa’s credit.

The city is set up for 60,000 homes, with 22,000 currently built. Building permits and home construction are obvious in many subdivisions.

With residential combined with ongoing and upcoming commercial construction, Maricopa has remained lively during a difficult economic moment. A presentation aimed for three credit-rating agencies was part of City Manager Rick Horst’s report to council this week and highlighted the amount of development going on in the city.

In October, Moody’s Investors Services upgraded the City of Maricopa from an A1 rating to an AA3 rating. That applied to $27.5 million of its outstanding $37.5 million in general obligation bonds. The credit ratings are an important part of the City’s work to re-fund the bond at a lower tax rate.

The City has an AA- rating from Standard & Poor’s, which called the City’s credit outlook “stable” in its June review. Horst said he is confident the City can earn the highest AAA rating from Fitch Ratings.

Moody’s rating reflected “material improvement in the City’s tax base,” according to its report, “fostered by rapid development and population growth. It further reflects growth in the city’s financial operation while maintaining unusually strong reserves and liquidity.”

The City’s debt level as it continues to pay off the addition of Copper Sky is considered “average and declining.” In fact, while calling Maricopa’s debt level about average nationally, Moody’s pointed out it was low compared to other Arizona municipalities.

All credit-rating agencies look at the same data in assigning ratings.

The residential and commercial activity is showcased to show a rising tide in Maricopa.

“We are reaping the benefits of years of work,” Councilmember Henry Wade said. “It’s been a hard slog. Everyone has to stay the course and don’t sit on the sidelines.”

Santa Rosa Springs

RESIDENTIAL

Several partially built subdivisions are coming back to life.

Among the biggest, Rancho Mirage Estates, which has 568 homes built, is moving forward on 1,568 additional lots, according to the manager’s report.

Nearby, Tortosa, which has built 1,175 homes, will total 2,462 when built out.

The Lakes at Rancho El Dorado, which has fewer than half its plots built, is looking to fill in its housing sites. It has 950 lots to build before hitting capacity of 1,608 and is finishing the circle of Powers Parkway, which had been dead-ended for years.

Santa Rosa Crossings has come back on the map east of Desert Cedars. Horst reminded council it had been “sitting dormant for over a decade.” A developer is now replacing infrastructure in preparation for 720 homes where there are currently none.

The report also showed Homestead working on building 324 more homes and Santa Rosa Springs with 168 more. Not mentioned in the report was the ongoing construction in Glennwilde, Palo Brea, Sorrento and Alterra. The City, Horst said, has been averaging almost 1,000 single-family home construction permits per year.

Additional housing is coming in the form of apartments and senior living complexes. Oasis at the Wells is expected to be completed this year, and the Bungalows on Bowlin are planned to open in 2021.

Copper Sky Commercial is to include 256 apartments and assisted living units, and Copper Sky Commercial South has plans for 256 apartments. Both have completion goals of 2022. The senior housing at Seasons Living at Copper Sky is to include 146 units and expects to be complete in 2021.

A+ Charter Schools

COMMERCIAL

Several businesses are expected to open this year. That includes the second Walgreens, which is at The Wells and set to open almost any day. Next to it is a new retail building that has a dental office as one of its tenants and is expected to open soon.

Maricopa Town Plaza boasts Iconic Tires and a two-tenant shell building that will include a Riliberto’s Mexican Restaurant. Both are expected to open this year. Another building on the lot is to be Maricopa Animal Hospital, set to open in 2021.

AAMCO is nearing its opening date in a complex expected to be complete next year. It also includes John Wayne Self-Storage.

A+ Charter Schools, a new high school, is going up quickly on Alan Stephens Parkway. It is 25,000 square feet on seven acres and pushing to open in time for the new school year in July.

Back at The Wells next to Walmart, Bahama Buck’s has a likely opening date in early 2021. “They’re getting ready to start their construction,” Horst said.

Also estimated completion dates in 2021 are Omni Self Storage, MC Estates, Sonoran Creek Marketplace and the second location of Fast & Friendly Car Wash. There is also a new office complex going up next to the current library.

“It’s a very attractive building that will house an audiology office in it, among other things that we are not aware of at the moment,” Horst said.



A Walgreens near Big 5 is being prepped for opening this year.

 

Seasons Living at Copper Sky is a planning senior-living complex. Aerial photo by Kyle Norby (courtesy Desert Rat Aviation)

Two housing developments, including senior living, moved a step closer to realization with approval from Maricopa City Council Tuesday. Both projects were previously approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Bungalows on Bowlin, a mix of multi-family and single-family units, is planned near the northwest corner of State Route 347 and Bowlin Road. The project needed rezoning and the future land use map changed in order to advance.

As planned, the 16.95 acres would include 196 housing units. One-bedroom apartments would be in duplexes while two-bedroom and three-bedroom units would be detached. The property, which is vacant, needed to be rezoned to high-density residential.

Bungalows on Bowlin is planned Bowlin Road west of SR 347.

The application submitted by the architect and engineer stated the units could include “small-lot single residences, townhouses, condominiums, cluster housing and multiple residence housing.”

Vice Mayor Nancy Smith said she had been concerned about possible traffic congestion in the area but was reassured after studying the paperwork. The property will have entry and exit off Bowlin Road and exit-only onto Alterra Parkway next to Fire Station 574.

“I’m happy with the way they joined this community in with the community that is adjacent to it,” Smith said.

Required to inform owners of any properties within 300 feet, the City notified around 95 people. Eight people came to a neighborhood meeting on the development in February. At that meeting, developers said construction might begin eight to 12 months after rezoning approval.

Also Tuesday, the council gave Season Living at Copper Sky planned area development zoning. The 3.82 acres is being developed as senior housing, including independent living, assisted living and memory care.

The acreage is along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard at Greythorn Drive. Rodolfo Lopez, deputy director of Economic and Community Development Department, said the PAD designation allows more flexibility than the previous mixed-use zoning.

It is expected to have 146 housing units, with the independent-living area separated from the assisted-living and memory-care units by a common area. There was no neighborhood meeting on the project because there is no developed property except city property within 300 feet. Lopez said the City has received no negative feedback since the project has become public knowledge.

Includes assist living, memory care

North elevation of Seasons Living at Copper Sky complex. (Landmark Designs)

Plans for senior housing at Copper Sky are set to come before Maricopa Planning and Zoning Commission Monday.

Seasons Living at Copper Sky, created by Shea Connelly Development, is seeking a design review permit and rezoning.

The property is on 3.82 acres at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Greythorn Drive. It is planned for 146 units. According to the City’s report, the plan includes 62 assisted-living apartments, 34 memory-care units and 50 independent units.

City ordinance requires 78 parking space, and the plans include 114. According to the staff analysis, “The proposed use will not create any significant increase in vehicular or pedestrian traffic that will impact the public health, safety and welfare.”

The developer is asking that the property’s zoning change from genera mixed use to planned area development.

City staff is recommending approval of the developer’s two requests, but with 21 conditions.

P&Z meets at 6 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall, but access is limited due to COVID-19. Commissioners may participate remotely. The agenda includes a public hearing on Seasons Living. Members of the public who wish to address the commission during the public hearing will be admitted to the hearing room one at a time, or they can email comments and questions to lisell.blancarte@maricopa-az.gov or call 520-326-6835 at least one hour before the meeting.

The meeting will stream live on the City’s YouTube channel, where it is also possible to leave comments. Those without Internet access may listen to the proceedings over speakers at City Hall outside council chambers while practicing social distancing.

City of Maricopa

Residents eye plans for a rental housing development.

Review permits for a rental housing development and an RV storage complex both received the approval of Maricopa Planning & Zoning Commission on Monday.

The Bungalows on Bowlin is planned for 196 housing units, a combination of detached homes and multi-family duplexes. The project is a little more than half of the empty acreage on the northwest corner of John Wayne Parkway and Bowlin Road.

Housing concepts for The Bungalows on Bowlin.

Along with the residences, the plan includes 426 parking spaces, covered and uncovered. There would also be 60 garages, some included with homes and some for rent.

Mark Reddie of RVi Planning and Landscape Architecture requested a development review permit for the project and rezoning for residential. The main entry/exit point is to be off Bowlin Road, with an additional exit-only on the north side as well.

The commissioners were uniformly in favor the project as presented, though Commissioner Jim Irving asked developers to keep in mind the additional traffic it would bring to an area that is close to Maricopa Elementary School.

There is a neighborhood between the project and the school. For the moment at least, there is empty property between the project and John Wayne Parkway. Senior Planner Ryan Wazniak said the remaining commercial property east of The Bungalows would still have space for “a drive-thru bank or office building.”

Reddie said Bungalows on Bowlin is to be professionally managed, and no renters would be responsible for maintenance and upkeep. He also said the development would provide a buffer for the current housing on its west side.

The City received no comments of opposition to the project.

At the proposed RV storage complex called MC Estates, however, there were a couple of neighbors who did not like the potential of noise, lights and “rooftop parties.”

As proposed by owner Duane Rudnick, MC Estates would be comprised of RV garages that would also have space for “man cave” activities. Owner described the project as echoing his intent to have a place to store his RV that could also be a place to indulge in his arts & crafts hobbies away from his Province home.

But the combination of uses caused the commissioners to hesitate.

“So which one is it?” Michael Sharpe asked. “Is it a hobby shop that we’re looking at and that’s what we have to judge and make a decision on, i.e. industrial flex space, or is it truly storage?”

Wazniak said the zoning code “doesn’t describe this combination of uses. We have to use our best judgment.”

Rudnick said the property would be owned and managed by those buying into the concept. Like a homeowners’ association, it would have “covenants, conditions and restrictions.” He said members would be buying into a higher-end community with a board of directors, self-managed by the association.

Wazniak noted the sliver of property off Farrell Road is bordered by residential areas and reminded the commission that Farrell is a “significant regional corridor,” which is expected to be part of an east-west corridor to Casa Grande.

Both the Bungalows on Bowlin and MC Estates required hearings on zoning map amendments and general plan amendments. Though around 15 residents attended, no one addressed the commission.

Province resident Duane Rudnick wants to construct MC Estates on Farrell Road.

IF YOU GO
What: Maricopa City Council Meeting
When: Feb. 4, 7 p.m.
Where: City Hall, 39700 W. Civic Center Plaza

The construction of senior housing, a first for Maricopa, comes before the city council next week in the form of development agreements for Copper Sky.

A housing complex of 146 units for senior citizens is planned at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Greythorn Drive in the park’s commercial district. The agreement is on both a special meeting agenda for a closed session and then the open-meeting agenda that starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The agreements are about more than senior housing, though there is likewise a plan for 28 senior casitas. More than 600 other apartments are part of the preliminary site plan.

These are in addition to the apartment complex already in development off Porter Road.

“We are going to get apartments in Maricopa. I’ve been saying that for two years,” Councilmember Henry Wade said. “Get used to that fact.” None of the planned housing is subsidized.

With four development companies and the City involved, the new agreements look to develop commercial and mixed-use properties at Copper Sky. The entire area, which borders the La Quinta Inn property, comprises 18 acres known as Copper Sky Commercial and nine acres known as Bowlin Plaza.

La Quinta, located just north of the dog park, is the only site currently under development at Copper Sky. It is scheduled to open in November.


Copper Sky Commercial Senior Housing LLC is agreeing to build 146 senior apartments defined as “independent living units, assisted living units and memory care units” in the agreement. That agreement also includes the stipulation the complex will be complete within 18 months of the property purchase. The price is $699,140.

Shea Connelly Development LLC is purchasing Bowlin Plaza ($762,300) with the agreement to build an independent-living complex for seniors. The plan is to have 28 casitas with a clubhouse and pool on the property on the southeast corner of John Wayne Parkway and Bowlin Road.

At the same time, Copper Sky Commercial Mixed Use North LLC is to buy property south of the senior apartments and north and west of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard for $1.3 million for 16,000 square feet of commercial space and around 330 apartments. Copper Sky Commercial Mixed Use South has the same agreement to create 16,000 square feet of commercial space and 330 apartments south of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard for $1.4 million. They both have 24 months to complete their complexes.

The incentives to develop the property commercially could result in the buyers being reimbursed much of the purchase price. Copper Sky Senior Housing, for instance, is buying the lot for just under $700,000, according to the agreement. By the time the City pays the $42,000 in commissions and $10,000 in closing costs is deducted, the price is just $647,000. When 25% of the project is complete, the City will reimburse the company 25% of the purchase price. When 50% is completed, another 25% is reimbursed, and so on.

Renaming Streets

Also on the agenda is a plan for renaming streets in the Heritage Redevelopment District between Honeycutt Road and Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway. The process was initiated by the City, and the Heritage District Advisory Committee was part of the process.

The City wants to rename Burkett Avenue, which is in two parts – from Plainview Street west to North Pershing Street and from Pershing Street west to a dead end at the overpass wall. If approved, both sections of Burkett would become West Stagecoach Lane.

Maricopa Avenue, which also runs between Plainview and Pershing, would be renamed Heritage Lane.

Arizona Avenue, currently between Plainview and Burkett, would be renamed Arizona Lane.

Pershing Street, which runs between MCG Highway and Honeycutt Road, would be renamed North Main Street.

The section of MCG Highway between Plainview to the curve west of the overpass would become West Mercado Street.

Tuesday’s agenda includes a hearing for public comments before the council votes on the street-renaming resolution.

Edwards Circle is Maricopa's public housing complex, but vouchers allow low-income families to rent private homes and apartments. Photo by Kyle Norby

By Joycelyn Cabrera

Public housing in Maricopa is nothing new, but private properties accepting subsidized vouchers give flexibility for low-income families.

The Pinal County Housing Department refers to Edward’s Circle as the “Maricopa property,” a 20-unit public housing complex for eligible, low-income families. Units falling under the Housing Choice Voucher Program would provide more flexibility for a family’s needs if local properties accept the vouchers.

Some rental homes in Maricopa, for instance, have accepted the subsidized vouchers since the beginning of the program. Recent housing studies indicate Maricopa needs more low-income housing.

Rolanda Cephas, Pinal County Housing Department operations manager, explained how subsidies work in local public housing units.

“We operate and we receive subsidies from HUD [Department of Housing and Urban Development] to serve low-income families,” Cephas said. “So, we own the properties, we take care of the properties, we manage the properties. The subsidy is actually attached to the units, so if someone moves out of our public housing, they don’t take the subsidy. The units are what’s subsidized.”

Maricopa does not have private apartments yet. The developer of a proposed apartment complex has stated the project will have tax subsidies but not rent subsidies.

In Pinal County, there are 139 current public housing units, according to Cephas, and 419 Housing Choice Vouchers in use out of a total of 584.

Maricopa has a total of 20 public housing units and 21 Housing Choice vouchers (Section 8 vouchers). Eligible families and individuals occupy the public housing units after a wait-listed period.

Other residences in Maricopa are inspected by the Pinal County Housing Department to ensure the property falls under Section 8 guidelines for those 21 vouchers.

“Section 8 vouchers are vouchers attached to the individual person or individual family,” Cephas said. “So, if someone applies for Section 8 and their name reaches the top of the Section 8 wait-list, what they’ll receive is an actual voucher. They can take that voucher and move into any private rental unit where the landlord is willing to accept a Section 8 voucher.”

Vouchers under the program in Maricopa have the flexibility of choosing a unit to rent, followed by an inspection to determine if the unit meets the housing and rental requirements under the Housing Quality Standards provided by HUD. This includes reasonable rent charges.

According to HUD, the Section 8 program allows low-income families, the elderly and those living with disabilities to afford “decent, safe and sanitary housing in the private market.”

“The subsidy is attached to the voucher on behalf of the family,” Cephas said. “So, if someone finds an apartment … what they would do is go over there with their voucher and paperwork packet; the manager or owner … would fill out their paperwork and give us the information on the actual unit, and then that paperwork is submitted to us.”

The family or individual would pay the difference of the rent charged for the property and the subsidy paid to the landlord on behalf of the family or individual, according to HUD.

Cephas said private properties have the choice of accepting Housing Choice vouchers, but this choice is up to property management or ownership.

The Pinal County Housing Department estimates the number on its Section 8 waiting list to be around 600, while the waiting list for general public housing is approximately 5,000.


This is an updated story clarifying an planned apartment complex’s future subsidies.

An access road separating Walmart to the future apartment complex site is expected to be converted into parking spaces.

Though the chairperson was not on board, the Maricopa Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of the revised site plan for apartments. Monday’s vote came after the developer of Oasis at the Wells and Horizon at the Wells added more parking spaces.

That happened only with the cooperation of the City in allowing 40 off-site parking spaces in what P&Z Manager Rodolfo Lopez called “leftover land” that abuts the south side of the property. The apartment complex is between Walmart and Banner Health.

Commissioners Sandy Hopkins and Ted Yocum listen to P&Z Manager Rodolfo Lopez’s description of the new plan.

Currently, a portion of Shea Way runs from Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway along the west side of the Walmart lot. In the future it is meant to continue north and curve around the north side of Oasis at the Well to connect at a new access point on Porter Road. However, there is an access road dividing the Walmart property and the apartment complex property that meets Shea at a right angle on the west side and is already in use by some vehicles.

“They’ve been using it as Shea Way, but it’s not Shea Way,” Lopez said.

Under the new plan, a portion of that access road will be used for 40 diagonal parking spaces as overflow for the apartment complex.

Commissioners questioned the agreement’s limitations. Ted Yocum said he was concerned the agreement would end at some point in the future and the parking spaces would go away.

Lopez said the agreement could make the parking “permanent, dedicated spaces.” He said the cost of striping for parking stalls would fall to the developer.

Englewood Group representative Brian Pozen said developers reconfigured landscape islands onsite to create 26 more parking spaces. At least five more spaces would be created for parallel parking on Shea Way. That brings the total to 251, the City’s requested minimum.

A handful of residents attended to hear the discussion. Only two spoke.

P&Z Commissioners Linda Huggins, Jim Irving, Dan Frank and Joshua Babb.

Glennwilde resident Tena Dugan said the City was still not considering traffic already in the area from of existing schools and how it will be impacted by the addition of the apartments and a future charter school being built nearby off Allen Stephens Parkway. She also said it was not appropriate for the application to claim there was mass transit nearby when there was only a stop for the local COMET bus.

Resident Ed Michael said he did not like the City using comparisons to other communities to determine its needed parking spaces. “I don’t care what they’re doing in Mesa,” he said.

The incomplete agreement did not spell out some aspects, including dedication, enforcement and keeping overflow from any future businesses in the area out of the apartment overflow parking area.

While Planning Director Kazi Haque said the commission could make such stipulations, and the agreement would be finalized through the city council, Chairperson Linda Huggins voted against recommending the site plan. The five other attending commissioners voted in approval. Vice Chair Michael Sharpe was absent.

The project next goes to city council for approval.

Off-site parking spaces along an access road have been added to a plan for Oasis at the Wells and Horizon at the Wells.

Architectural drawing of elevation for the planned apartment complex, Oasis at the Wells.

Long in the planning stages, a proposed apartment complex is on the agenda for the Maricopa Planning and Zoning Commission at its Tuesday meeting.

It would be the city’s first multi-family development.

Oasis at the Wells is designed to be 5.12 acres on the new Shea Road off Porter Road, between Walmart and Banner Health. According to the plan to be presented to the commission, it will be 120 units in five three-story buildings. The units will be one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments.

The area was rezoned for mixed use last year.

Though current zoning would require 263 parking spaces, the developer is asking to reduce that to 180 parking spaces. City staff indicated its support for that reduction in the staff report on the project.

Staff also noted it had “worked diligently with the applicant in producing architectural interest that will set the design level for future multi-family developments.”

Englewood Development Company is building the complex through Mountain Trace Development and has 14 other complexes in Arizona.

Planning and Zoning meets in council chambers at City Hall at 6 p.m.

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Photo by Jim Headley

The most expensive home sold in Maricopa from April 16 to May 15 was a three-bedroom Gardenia model with a casita. The one-owner house, which is 12 years old, had solar panels installed three years ago with a prepaid 20-year lease. It was on the market nearly a year while the original asking price was dropped $19,500.

  1. 42264 W. Rummy Road, Province, $366,000

Sold: May 1
Purchase price: $366,000
Square footage: 2,337
Price per square foot: $156.61
Days on market: 243
Builder: Engle
Year built: 2007
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 3.5
Community: Province
Features: Guest house, gourmet kitchen, two master suites, butler’s pantry, custom cabinets in two-car garage, covered patio with built in barbecue
Listing Agent: Kim Gillespie, Cactus Mountain Properties
Selling Agent: Debra K. Johnson, Cactus Mountain Properties

    1. 43350 W. Desert Fairways, Rancho El Dorado …………………… $360,000
    2. 18911 N. Falcon Lane, Glennwilde ……………………………………… $336,900
    3. 40997 W. Coltin Way, Homestead North ……………………………. $319,900
    4. 44239 W. Sedona Trail, Cobblestone Farms ……………………….. $318,000

      This item appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.

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Pinal County, in conjunction with the county’s Department of Housing and Workforce Development, will conduct a series of public meetings throughout the county.

IF YOU GO
What: Housing Consolidated Plan & Action Plan
When: Jan. 14, 2 p.m.
Where: Maricopa City Hall, 9700 W. Civic Center Plaza

The meetings are regarding the FY2019–2024 Consolidated Plan and 2019 Action Plan. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires Pinal County to publish a five-year Consolidated Plan, along with an annual “Action Plan” outlining the use of U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds for the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG).

The Department of Housing and Workforce Development will collect information on the housing, community, and economic development needs for the county and assemble a consolidated strategic plan for 2019-24. The Maricopa meeting will be Jan. 14 at 2 p.m. at City Hall, 9700 W. Civic Center Plaza.

All Pinal County citizens are invited to voice their comments regarding housing/community development needs, strategies to meet identified needs, and identifying barriers to those needs.

Public input is an essential component of this planning effort. It is the policy of Pinal County to ensure services are meaningfully accessible to qualified individuals with disabilities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Upon request, auxiliary aids and accommodations are available to individuals with disabilities.

Persons seeking accommodation should contact Pinal County at http://www.pinalcountyaz.gov/Housing/Pages/Home.aspx or call 520-866-6275. Individuals with a hearing impairment can contact 711.

The proposed Vista Village property (star) is almost six acres.

A developer wants to build a 100-unit apartment complex in Maricopa, and a vote by Maricopa City Council on Tuesday may spur the project.

As proposed by Englewood Group, Vista Village will be constructed on a triangular, six-acre lot north of Walmart and south of Banner Health on Porter Road. The multi-building development would include two-story and three-story buildings with a pool, laundry, fitness center and playground.

The city council approved the re-zoning of the property from light industry to general mixed use. It was not an approval of the project but allowed Englewood Group to start the development process. It would be the first apartment complex in the city.

No member of the public or city council spoke against the re-zoning at the Tuesday hearing. Planner Rodolfo Lopez said the Development Services department did not receive any public comment, either.

The rezoning was previously recommended by city staff and by the Planning & Zoning Commission.

Development Services commissioned a study last year on housing needs in Maricopa. The idea of an apartment complex has been controversial in the past, with opponents saying rentals bring crime, but it has gained interest in the past year.

The Housing Needs Assessment Report from July 2017 noted that 97 percent of Maricopa’s housing is single-family homes, far above the Arizona average of 64 percent. It found a lack of “work force” housing for teachers, police, etc.

“For single people who wish to live alone, there are no housing options other than living alone in a large home,” the report stated.

The result is two or more families renting one “single-family” home.

Englewood, which has 74 properties in Arizona, Indiana and Illinois, has been eyeing Maricopa for more than a year.

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Photo by Mason Callejas

The most expensive home sold in Maricopa from March 16 to April 15 was a 13-year-old Engle home in Province. The one-owner house with a play pool and fire pit went for $9,500 under its asking price and was on the market less than three months.

  1. 20144 N. Evening Glow Trail

Sold: March 24
Purchase price: $390,000
Square footage: 2,830
Price per square foot: $137.81
Days on market: 76
Builder: Engle
Year built: 2005
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2.5
Community: Province
Features: Great views, granite countertops, his and hers walk-in closets, fireplace, covered patio, 2 master bedrooms, formal dining room
Listing agent: Dana L.P. Melcher, Revelation Real Estate
Selling agent: Patti Wasowicz, The Maricopa Real Estate Co.

  1. 22386 N. Sunset Drive, Cobblestone Farms, $333,450
  2. 41644 W. Springtime Road, Province, $332,846
  3. 41903 W. Almira Drive, Glennwilde, $330,000
  4. 42443 W. Bravo Drive, Rancho El Dorado, $325,000

    This item appears in the May issue of InMaricopa.

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Photo by Mason Callejas

Marketed to first-time homeowners and landlords, the least expensive home sold in Maricopa from March 16 to April 15 is a no-frills house in Senita. It was sold for cash at asking price with no time on market.

  1. 42968 W. Cowpath Road

Sold: March 20
Purchase price: $130,000
Square footage: 1,509
Price per square foot: $86.15
Days on market: 0
Builder: Unknown
Year built: 2008
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2
Community: Senita
Features: Basic house with three bedrooms and a two-car garage
Listing agent: Eric A. Hubert, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Arizona
Selling agent: Anthony Schumacher, The Maricopa Real Estate Co.

  1. 19039 N. Ventana Lane, Glennwilde, $140,380
  2. 36029 W. Velazquez Drive, Tortosa, $145,000
  3. 42974 W. Jeremy St., Senita, $145,000
  4. 43432 W. Rio Bravo Drive, Rancho El Dorado, $263,000

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Homestead construction

 

As construction on residential housing ramps up in Maricopa, the city is considering ways to make the process easier for developers.

Last year the city received 500 residential building permits, and recent projections predict major growth ahead.

During a city council work session March 20, the Development Services Department presented the city’s current procedure: An eight-application process that usually entails two years of meetings and sub-steps before a builder receives a building permit.

A team of planners began brainstorming how to consolidate timewasting steps and documents about a year ago.

The result was a color-coded flow chart that details the city’s process used since pre-recession Maricopa as well as updated steps the department has identified and streamlined.

Development Services Director Martin Scribner said even with improvements, development processes are inherently complex across the nation.

“As a rule, the process is complicated,” Scribner said.

The process is detailed in a digital timeline that essentially serves as a snapshot of what developers could expect during the pre-development stages.

Some of the department’s major consolidation in the process affected the construction and inspection portion of the process.

SMARTGov, the city’s digital terminal for permit viewing and submittal, is a big part of that, according to Senior Planner Rodolfo Lopez.

“(Developers) don’t have to resubmit some of those documents unless something is changed or modified,” Lopez said. “This process streamlines it a lot quicker.”

The city has been teasing a redesign of its website and Mayor Christian Price indicated he’d like to see the process timeline posted on the city’s digital front page once the online update is completed.

Development Services is expected to compose a similar timeline for commercial development, which entails an even more complicated process.

Vice Mayor Peggy Chapados said the digital flow chart could decrease the number of complaints the city receives from commercial builders regarding perceived delays in the process.

The commercial development presentation is expected sometime in the future.

“The more information we get out there, the better,” Price said.

 

Costa Verde is building homes in the Santa Rosa Springs development. Photo by Michelle Chance

A report by Phoenix-based consulting firm Applied Economics estimates Maricopa’s recent housing growth could be a sign of more to come. It projected 1,200 new housing units will be built every year for the next five years. If future construction projects become a reality, AE estimates the city could grow by 42,000 housing sites 20 years from now. To read the report submitted to Maricopa Unified School District, click here.

 


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The developer of multifamily housing is interested in Maricopa.

An apartment developer presented a plan to City Council Tuesday, outlining its intentions of developing affordable multifamily housing structures in Maricopa.

Representatives from the Indianapolis-based Englewood Group discussed with members of council their two-fold approach to multi-family housing and how it may be able to help Maricopa overcome the rental gap in the city.

According to their presentation, 76 percent of renters in Maricopa are cost burdened, earning only 30-50 percent of the Area Median Income. Also, according to the presentation, 33 percent of Maricopa residents earn $50,000 or less per year.

Englewood Group representative Brian Pozen said 97 percent of houses in Maricopa are single-family homes. Based on current market analysis, rental properties in the city have an average rent of $1,376 per month with nothing available for less than $1,000.

This, they said, is where they can help.

Englewood’s approach, Pozen said, would use both market-rate and low-income apartments to fill this need.

Market-rate units would range in cost from $800 for a single bedroom, up to $1,300 for a two bedroom, he said.

Three-bedroom apartments were not discussed.

Low-income units would range from around $700 for a studio to $900 for a two bedroom, he said. To achieve that goal, the company would utilize the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit.

To qualify for the credit, the complex would have to abide by the qualified Allocation Plan which prescribes that the unit would need to be, among other things, smoke-free, built and maintained efficiently, preserve historical aspects of the region and target low income tenants.

Englewood representative Julia Surak said, this is not “Section 8 housing.”

“You can use a Section 8 voucher, but you don’t need it to live there,” Surak said.

Building the low-income units would take more time, Pozen added. However, he said, Englewood has already signed a “letter of intent” for a property in Maricopa where they hope to construct market-rate units.

Once that property is rezoned, he said, Englewood can begin moving forward with permitting and subsequent construction almost immediately.

To apply for the tax credit, the land must already be zoned for multifamily thus drawing that process out on a longer timeline which they hope would conclude in spring or summer of 2019.

The company also expressed an interest in building a senior living complex. Each complex would contain on average 20 units per acre – 90-110 units per complex.

Residents are asked if they want to continue to live in their current homes in later years. Photo by Michelle Chance

A recent housing study conducted by the city prompted debates online from residents who oppose the idea of multi-family housing in Maricopa. Read the study here

Saturday morning, residents continued the discussion during “Councilman on the Corner,” a public forum held regularly by Councilman Henry Wade.

“This subject seems to have resonated when I put it out there in Facebook and social media as to a question I posed,” Wade said. “It generated quite a bit of discussion, although that question was quite a small part of what the housing assessment is all about.”

Some residents argued the apartment and condominium units would bring down property values and attract crime.

“I also value that we have low crime, and that’s partly because of the kind of neighborhood that we have,” said resident Leonard Gonchar.

Maricopans who support the idea fired back.

“As a retired person, I’m not an undesirable,” said resident Karen Balliet, who said she cannot afford the cost of a single-family home in the city.

Balliet said after her husband died, she closed her business and searched for a home in Maricopa near her children and grandchildren.

“I was going to have to go to Casa Grande or Chandler to be as close as I could to them,” Balliet said. “But luckily for me, they built a multigenerational home so I could move in with them. That’s the only choice I had.”

Maricopa Development Services Director Martin Scribner said besides a few exceptions in Province, a retirement community, Maricopa is dominated by single family housing.

Scribner said the city is losing opportunities to attract multi-family housing developers, as well as the renters who would occupy the units.

“They have to be making somewhere near $50,000 per year in order to afford the housing here,” Scribner said.

City officials said housing and rental costs pose a challenge to not just retirees on a fixed income, but also to young professionals in the infancy of their careers.

Patti Coutré, president of the Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board, said the district hired 80 employees for the new school year, many of whom are single and hired within the first five years of teaching.

Coutré said the housing costs in Maricopa often drive young educators to live in the Valley and make a long commute to work.

“If we can get them living in Maricopa, we have a better chance of retaining them. That’s one of our goals because it does show that our schools will get better if we can retain the employees,” Coutré said.

Scribner and Wade reiterated multi-family housing does not necessarily equate to “affordable housing” and the negative conations that often accompany the term.

However, Project Manager Kazi Haque said meetings with county agencies and local school districts proved there is also a need for housing for lower-income families as well.

“There is a lot of tendency for homelessness, which you don’t see every day,” Haque said. “There is homelessness over here, but it is undercover.”

In September, the city will begin work on a housing plan that will set priorities for the future of Maricopa housing.

File photo

Does Maricopa need more diverse housing?

That’s the question posed by City Hall in a survey conducted this winter. The survey ran on the city’s website in late February through today. It asked residents what housing should look like in Maricopa in the next decade.

The city had a booth at Salsa Festival to question residents in person.

Rebecca Rothenberg of Atria Planning said the survey was meant to get feedback that helps the city “streamline zoning.” Atria was contracted to conduct the survey.

A presentation of a housing update is due to come before Maricopa City Council at its work session Wednesday at 6 p.m. A final draft of the housing report is due in May.

Rothenberger said while several residents indicated concern about apartments bringing crime or causing lower home values, a large portion of single-family homes (up to a third) are already occupied by renters.

The draft study shows 97 percent of housing is in single-family units, and “no housing for single individuals, regardless of income.” There are also no senior apartments or other housing for seniors in the low- to medium-income brackets. Rothenberger said more diversity in housing makes a community more sustainable.

Home ownership is considered affordable ($100,000 to $200,000) but renting is not, with most houses renting for at least $1,000 a month.

If Maricopa encourages diversity in available housing, planner Kazi Haque said there are options and zoning available for them. Besides apartments, that includes duplexes, condominiums, executive homes and townhomes.

The survey asked Maricopans what they want, if any, of those options.

A housing steering committee will have a workshop on the survey results Tuesday morning in council chambers before the presentation to city council that evening.

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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.

Fulton Homes has purchased parcels in Glennwilde. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

After an eight-year hiatus, Fulton Homes is coming back to Maricopa.

Fulton plans to build 400 homes in the Glennwilde subdivision starting in 2017.

Dennis Webb, vice president of operations for the developer, said the new construction activity in the city and interest rates were important factors for the return.

“The pricing of homes has substantially improved,” he said.

Fulton Homes created Cobblestone Farms, where it constructed around 900 homes at the beginning of Maricopa’s establishment as a municipality. When the economy collapsed and the housing bubble burst, Fulton and most other developers left, at least temporarily.

Interest rates during the construction boom were around 7 percent. Now, that is around 4 percent and is expected to rise in 2017. Webb said that is a significant component.

He said the housing boom in Maricopa was an exciting time, and Fulton Homes was putting in many of the young city’s most expensive houses.

“We had a great product in Cobblestone,” Webb said. “I just drove through there again, and it still looks pretty good.”

Fulton Homes’ plans for Glennwilde are three products – small, medium and large.

Webb said the small home will be 35 feet wide with square footage between 1,500 and 2,300. In the medium range, the homes will be 1,700 to 3,400 square feet. The large homes will be 2,000 to 4,000 square feet.

Customer demands and tastes have changed in the past eight years, and Webb said the company is moving with the times.

“We listen to our customers and take into account what they want,” he said.

That means energy-efficient homes with lots of storage space, courtyards, large garages, great rooms and more bathrooms. Potential customers can visit the Fulton Homes Design Center in Tempe before they buy to examine what elements are most important to them.

Another important factor in Fulton Homes’ decision to take on parcels in Maricopa was the fact the lots were finished. Though the property had gone through a few owners in the past few years, the lots are shovel-ready.

Permits have not yet been pulled, but the company expects to start construction in the first quarter.

“We want to have the highest quality homes in Maricopa,” Webb said.

He said Fulton Homes had a good year in 2016 and expects 2017 to be even better.

“We think Maricopa we’ll be a good one for us,” he said.

Fulton joins Richmond American Homes in filling in the lots in Glennwilde.
Fulton joins Richmond American Homes in filling in the lots in Glennwilde.