West Maricopa Village
The plans for West Maricopa Village at Smith Enke and Loma roads include about 180 single-family units for rent on Lot 1, which would be developed first. An apartment complex is proposed for Lot 2. Credit: Matrix Equities Inc.

The proposed West Maricopa Village development advanced Tuesday night with city council’s approval of a zoning change for the rental community.

A 35-acre parcel at Loma Road and State Route 238 was rezoned from industrial to mixed use for a project that would include single-family homes for rent, apartments, a gas station, and retail and/or office space. The developer is Scottsdale’s Matrix Equities Inc.

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The site, which is bordered by Acacia Crossings to the east and the future development the Estrella Gin office park to the south, would be developed phases. Phase 1 would include the construction of about 182 single-family homes on 16-plus acres. The homes, which would feature a density of 11 units per acre, will include both two-bedroom stand-alone units and one-bedroom duplexes. Amenities would include a swimming pool and a social pavilion.

The homes would be developed in blocks of 40 units, with main roads, landscaping, trails and amenities installed with the initial block. Construction could begin as early as March or April.

Phase 2 would feature 3-story apartment buildings on just over 14 acres. Construction would follow completion of the initial phase. The number of units is yet to be determined, but the zoning calls for high density usage. The buildings will have a maximum height of 42 feet.

Phase 3, the true mixed-use portion of the community, would rise on just under 1.5 acres. It will include residential such as apartments, condominiums or townhouses on the upper floors and commercial usage on the ground floor. The area also is likely to have a gas station, convenience store and/or a car wash. A final phase would include planned retail, commercial office or medical space.

The community will be designed to be pedestrian-friendly, with a private main street emphasizing walkability and community enjoyment, according to developers. This will allow residents and visitors to move about the community without having to use their cars.

A preliminary traffic impact analysis was completed as part of the Matrix application and determined several upgrades would be required, including the need for a turn lane off SR 238 onto Loma Road.

Other elements of the traffic plan are still being studied in conjunction with Matrix, the Arizona Department of Transportation and the city, including possible right- and left-turn lanes for the intersections at West Maricopa Village, and deceleration lanes on SR 238 and Loma Road.

In other actions, the council also voted to dissolve the Heritage District committee, opting for a broader system of community input that allows for a wider diversity of views.

Vice Mayor Nancy Smith, who has served as council liaison to the Heritage Committee for the past six years, said it was time for a change.

“The meetings and the committee itself were fine, but I also attended the community outreach and can vouch for the fact that community outreach brought in much more fruit, much more comment, much more feedback that was helpful to making decisions compared to what the committee did,” she said. “It’s not that there was anything wrong with the committee, I just saw that the public outreach provided us way more information and feedback and we can use this valuable information to make decisions.”

Finally, the council also adopted a change to expand the number of residents or businesses notified that council is considering zoning approval or variance for a development project.

Previously, parties within 300 feet of a project would be notified by the city of imminent city action. That zone was doubled to 600 feet.

City manager Rick Horst emphasized council’s action would not impact a small-scale residential project like construction of a backyard tool shed or storage container, but would apply only to larger construction projects.