MARICOPA — Planning and Zoning Commission members voiced several concerns about the new Anderson Farms development in eastern Maricopa.
The development is located on the southeast corner of Bowlin and Hartman roads, near the site of the second Maricopa Unified School District high school. It currently is agricultural land.
Originally, 111 single-family residential lots were approved. Now, approval for 115 lots was up for consideration.
Commissioner Rachel Leffall first voiced concerns about having the homes being too packed together, then adding more to the development.
She was told that even though there is a potential to add four more units, it doesn't mean there's a lack of open space.
Vice Chairman Michael Sharpe said the addition is a minor change compared to what was previously brought up throughout the years.
Commissioner Ted Yocum voiced his concerns about there only being one way in and one way out of the development.
Bill Robertson asked for an explanation of the entrance and exit.
He was told the south exit would go to a large development in the future. A dead end cul-de-sac would also be used for other developments in the future. At the very north end of the property, there's a road, Anderson Road, but it's a dirt road.
These plans are only Phase 1A and 1B in relation to this development and other future developments.
Even though these ideas are still in the early phases, Commissioner Dan Frank was still concerned about the "what ifs," such as what if the people living in the community didn't have any other access.
Linda Huggins echoed everyone's concerns about the lack of access to the development with only one way in and out. She wondered if there would be a temporary access road that isn't dirt for those living there until it's finished.
Phase 1A was approved and is moving forward with other changes and approvals, which had a secondary access point back to the main roadway.
"That might be what some of the problem is," Huggins said. "Maybe moving forward when we are looking at these pieces is that there's some sort of mapping that shows us what the entire overall picture's going to be when it is done, but we still have to look at the 'what ifs.'"
Commissioner Jim Irving said the issue was bigger than an entrance and an exit. It's more along the lines of "where are we going?" and "when is enough, enough?"
"I think, to me, that's sort of the issue," Irving said. "And like we mentioned before, that at one point in time it would be helpful for the citizens to see this plan as opposed to saying 'well, this is going to be that' and 'that's going to be that' and 'eventually this is going to happen' and 'that's going to happen.'"
He said it's important for the citizens to know that it's more of a plan of growth rather than just "accepting every little thing that comes down to jam it in."
Huggins said it would be important when it was time to take the development into consideration rather than discussion only for the whole scheme to be shown instead of second guessing. When looking at the landscape plan, she said as a homeowner she would be hesitant to purchase because she would wonder where she would get out of the development.
She also voiced another concern about this development, which is amenities for children, especially for the toddlers. Huggins wanted to make sure this place is as friendly as possible for homeowners.
Yocum mentioned there would need to be a traffic study done with the high school and grade school near the site. It was clarified that for both phases, a traffic study had been done and submitted.
Leffall brought up another question for consideration: concern about the area being a flood zone along Hartman and Murphy road. She wondered what in the development plan was going to address that issue.
She was told the issue would be looked into and brought forward at the next meeting.
The commission felt concerned about the Red Valley Ranch development as well for having one way in and one way out. The other exits were for potential developments, which may or may not happen.
Some proposals, like this one, were approved years ago by the city and now officials are stuck trying to come up with different solutions with zoning.
The commission was also concerned about the drainage situation with this development. Huggins mentioned putting in a bridge as another access point into the development.
Another concern is that it's a canal, which can be very dangerous for children since there's always water in it. The commission mentioned looking into putting up barriers for the canal for the safety of the families who would be living in these homes.
Britney Orian was introduced to the commission and public as the city operation specialist, taking on the role as secretary for planning and zoning meetings.