Glendale Planning Commission meeting

At a Glendale Planning Commission meeting, Julie Borges says the developer of Allen Ranches in the Waddell/Litchfield Park area wants too many small lots.

Neighbors are alarmed, and the city of Goodyear sent a letter of concern about a proposed development on West Camelback Road east of the Loop 303.

This is not a repeat.

A month after Goodyear sent a letter to Maricopa County expressing apprehension over the proposed development of Falcon Golf Course, the city learned of another project just west of the golf course.

While the proposed Alsup Industrial Park at West Camelback Road and North 159th Avenue is also in unincorporated Maricopa County, the city of Glendale is in the process of annexing the Alsup land.

On June 4, the Glendale Planning Commission approve a rezoning request of Alsup for “approximately 1.2 million square feet of building space feet of industrial, warehouse, office and e-commerce uses.”

At the same meeting, the commission approved a rezoning of the 800-acre Allen Ranches—which Glendale is also in the process of annexing—for industrial and residential development. 

Waddell and Litchfield Park neighbors spoke out in opposition of the development, with several saying they don’t want more industrial development in their once-rural area—and that the proposed residential lots are too small.

“There’s a mad dash on the west side to rezone—we can’t keep up with all of them,” said John Connolly, a Litchfield Park resident who has organized opposition to the Falcon Golf Course “cross-dock” development.

“There seems to be a lack of a master plan out here,” Connolly added. “Maybe it is time for some smart folks to take a pause; get all of the stakeholders together, including the public; and figure this out.”

Goodyear City Council seems to agree with his view.

At a June 1 study session, Goodyear’s elected officials learned about the Alsup project. The city received a written notification 10 days earlier.

“Initially we just knew about the cross-dock. Now we just found out about this project,” Sumeet Mohan, Goodyear’s engineering director, said at the June 1 meeting.

“Now they’re coming to us again with even more,” Goodyear Councilwoman Wally Campbell pondered.

“I’m just so concerned about the residents of Goodyear and the quality of life,” she said.

Bill Stipp complained that, while millions of dollars have been spent on state transportation projects, “Camelback has been ignored.”

Stipp said Goodyear needs to put pressure on to get West Camelback Road improved: “These developers want to develop. We need to get moving. ...

“We’re going to have to be very quick to make sure we protect our residents.”

Several at the study session noted that, while the road is in Goodyear, the land being developed on the north side of the road is not in the city limits, so Goodyear has little control over the projects. 

Meanwhile, there are plans to develop future PV303 projects on the south side of Camelback Road.

A Goodyear Economic Development Department map shows a 4-million-square-foot Sunbelt Investment Holdings development on the southeast corner of  West Camelback Road and Pebble Creek Parkway. It is described as “Industrial development comprised of multiple warehouse/distribution and manufacturing buildings.”

“We’re not clear on what their schedule is on that Sunbelt property,” said Christopher Baker, Goodyear’s Development Services director.

“What was a two-lane country road is becoming  a major transportation thoroughfare,” Councilwoman Laura Kaino said. “We need to take a holistic look at this.”

Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord agreed with that. “I don’t understand why there isn’t concern for all of us to get that road in shape,” she said.

“If they wait until the building goes up (to widen the road), I  don’t know what will happen. ... I am concerned about people and safety for all the three cities.”

Worrying about traffic from the proposed projects, Lord said, “It’s going to be a nightmare.”

Goodyear City Council asked Julie Arendall, the city manager, to write a letter of concern about the Alsup project. The West Valley View requested a copy of the letter from the city of Goodyear but had not received it at press time.

“We received a letter from Goodyear asking to work together to identify resources to widen Camelback Road between Litchfield Park Road and the Loop 303,” Glendale City Manager Kevin Phelps said.

“They did not send a letter of opposition per se, just a desire to add stipulations to have the road widen as part of their approval process.”

Phelps said Glendale will reply to Goodyear about Alsup soon.

“We will be communicating back to the city of Goodyear that we would be glad to work jointly to identify the resources to improve the road, but we will not recommend withholding the certificate of occupancy for the development planned on this site,” Phelps said.

“I will not recommend to the (Glendale) council that we stop economic development moving forward by requiring the road to be improved first.”

Glendale City Council will consider the city’s Planning Commission recommendations to approve rezoning for Alsup, Cotton Properties and Allen Ranches. Of three Allen Ranches requests, the commission seemed to listen to protests and rejected a request for smaller lot sizes.

More than 50 West Valley residents attended the June 4 Glendale Planning Commission, with many passionately opposing the proposed developments in the Waddell/Litchfield Park area north of Goodyear.

Julie Borges said the Allen Ranches developer wants to make too many small lots. “There’s too many people that will be there,” she said.

“I make a sacrifice to live there. I choose to live there and pay twice as much as I would elsewhere, because I want my children to grow up in an area that’s rural.”

Others spoke against Cotton Properties’ plan for a Love’s Travel Stop, saying it would bring noise, traffic and crime.

“Love’s would be bordering our community by a half-block,” said Martha Kuel. “It’s inappropriate. I know it’s good for Glendale’s revenue, but it’s not for us.”

Near the end of the meeting, the commission members seemed to be unenthusiastic about voting on the Cotton Properties rezoning.

Chairman Gary Hirsch asked multiple times for a motion.

After long silence, a motion was made and the rezoning passed with two opposing votes from Martin Nowakowski and Warren Wilfong.

“What we’re doing tonight is voting on the zoning,” said Vern Crow, explaining his “yes” vote. “It has nothing to do with Love’s or any truck stop.”

Nowakowski said he was moved by the Cotton Properties opposition: “One gentleman said there is power of money and power of people. I really believe you showed up and showed the power of people and influenced my vote.”

At that point, applause could be heard from the dozens viewing the proceedings in an adjoining room.

It was one of the few things those opposed to developments had to cheer.