**Update September 25, 2018
The applicant withdrew the rezoning request on Monday, September 24. The request will not be moving forward to the Planning Commission or City Council.
Last year, a consortium of property owners who have a 70-acre tract bordering the Frontage Road between Anthem Way and New River Road successfully petitioned the City of Phoenix to annex their land. A developer has plans for a residential housing subdivision on the land and has initiated a series of meetings with the Rio Vista Village Planning Committee to gain City of Phoenix support for an eventual recommendation in support of the construction, following the approval of rezoning.
Two community meetings were held in Anthem to introduce their proposals to Anthem and New River/Desert Hills property owners; each meeting had over 100 attendees, who collectively were in opposition to the proposed rezoning and subdivision. These meetings were a pre-requisite to the consortium’s efforts to gain support for a zoning change from commercial (C-2) to residential (R-1-6), which was a necessary istep in moving the project forward.
It was the consortium’s goal to obtain a zoning change, comply with specific Phoenix requirements, including the delivery of water services to the area, and then sell the land to an established homebuilder, who would develop the 70 acres into 283 units of 45’x120’ (one-quarter acre lots) with three ingress/egress roads terminating onto the Frontage Road.
Impact to Anthem
The Rio Vista Village Planning Committee heard discussion on the zoning changes for this proposed subdivision on September 11, 2018, at 6 p.m. at the Goelet A.C. Beuf Community Center (3435 Pinnacle Peak Road), at which time the Committee voted unanimously not to approve the rezoning request.
It was the developer’s intent to secure Rio Vista Village Planning Committee support for the requested zoning change. ACC staff and Board members were in attendance at this meeting to voice Anthem's concerns/position regarding this zoning case. In advance of the meeting, ACC Community Executive Officer Neal Shearer sent a letter to City of Phoenix authorities and other involved parties to reflect the ACC’s concerns/position.
- Traffic impact on the I-17 Frontage Road. The representative from the planning group who hosted the meetings indicated that there was no requirement at this time that the developers fund any widening of the Frontage Road either north to New River Road, or south to Gavilan Peak/Navigation Way. A Traffic Study is in process, but details as to the extent of the study were not provided.
- Traffic impact on Exit 229 Anthem Way. The representative declined to discuss any proposed impact on traffic flow relative to exit 229 and Anthem Way, Anthem Way and Navigation Way, or on the Gavilan Peak/Navigation Way four-way intersection. ACC staff estimates that upon buildout, this subdivision will add in excess of 500 vehicles daily to traffic patterns using the Frontage Road, New River Road and Anthem Way, as these will be the only ingress and egress points to the subdivision. Staff believes that W. Anthem Way, Navigation Way, and the four-way-intersection at Gavilan Peak/Navigation Way will be significantly taxed by this volume without any known solutions. This intersection is already considerably burdened with the Arroyo Norte community of 300 homes, and with the addition of 283 more homes, there will likely be a need to add a traffic signal at Gavilan Peak/Navigation Way.
- Police, fire and emergency services resources and response times. The addition of 283 residential homes will place significant stress on police, fire and ambulance services that are already limited in the Anthem/New River corridor. The developer’s expressed viewpoint is that these are predominantly issues that Maricopa County or the City of Phoenix would need to address, and that if required, the subdivision would enter into contracts for service.
- Dark Sky. Anthem is a Dark Sky community, and many New River/Desert Hills residents advocate for Dark Sky requirements, as well. While the proposed project is silent on their compliance with Dark Sky lighting, the consortium’s representative declined to comment as to whether the eventual community would adopt Dark Sky policies and practices in its outdoor lighting.
- Impact on Anthem infrastructure. The proposed project will feature two small neighborhood parks and a short natural walking trail as its sole amenities. ACC staff believes that these limited recreational facilities will lead to subdivision residents utilizing Anthem’s privately owned and funded park system, leading to more expenses for maintenance and rules enforcement.
- Density. New River/Desert Hills property owners who were in attendance raised repeated concerns as to the density impact of the community and the potential drain on water, power capacity and life safety issues. These density concerns also impact Anthem concerns on traffic volumes, traffic flow, school capacity, public safety and other related issues.
View the full memo to the ACC Board of Directors in the August 22 agenda.