Talk about a cliffhanger: The Maricopa County Planning and Zoning Commission heard dozens of protests of a plan to turn the Falcon Golf Course into a “cross-dock” transportation facility.
The commission then heard a representative vigorously defend the project, which would bring hundreds of jobs to the West Valley.
But a vote ... was not to happen.
The May 14 online meeting was to have a vote on a military compatibility permit for property owner Cowley Companies and developer KW Projects. Falcon Golf Course is just north of Goodyear and Litchfield Park and south of Luke Air Force Base.
After a staff member spent more than two hours reading emails from Goodyear and Litchfield Park residents slamming the project, one of the commissioners said she had to leave the meeting.
That meant there was no quorum—the minimum number of commissioners present to continue the meeting and vote on the permit and development plan—and the meeting was adjourned.
“For the public watching, we apologize. This is very unexpected,” said Luke Schlosser, chair of the commission. “We all hate this is happening.”
Dozens of residents were waiting to speak.
They will have to wait until the next Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Thursday, May 28. It is also scheduled as online only. To view and/or participate, visit attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3164624669529885968.
At the May 14 meeting, Darren Gerard, a Planning and Zoning staff member, first read the sole letter of support for the project.
Gerard then read 77 emails harshly criticizing the request by Falcon Golf Course to rezone for a transportation facility.
Many emails cited a traffic study that said the cross-dock would bring as many as 6,000 truck trips daily to Camelback Road. “Traffic, traffic, traffic,” complained one email.
Others protested the involvement of Michael Cowley, the golf course owner who was a Planning and Zoning Commission vice chair until March. “All of you look like you are in this for personal gain— which one of you will be next?” one email stated.
There were another 191 emails opposing the project that were not read, as they were received in time to be included in the staff report (an online protest also received 2,300 signatures).
Gerard also noted opposition letters were received from the cities of Goodyear and Litchfield Park—and that Luke Air Force Base rescinded its previous approval.
After reading the emails, Gerard gave a brief summary of the proposal, noting the Planning and Zoning staff recommended approval of the permit request.
Attorney Jason Morris of Whitney Morris spoke on behalf of Kieran West/KW Projects, defending the request.
“We firmly believe this is not only an appropriate application but a beneficial application for the area,” he said.
Morris also found the critique of Cowley “disrespectful,” noting other members of the commission “regularly recuse themselves” when there are potential conflicts of interest.
Stating that “there is virtually no other use for this area,” Morris displayed a slide showing PV 303, the Goodyear industrial project that spans from Indian School Road to the south side of Camelback Road.
Falcon Golf Course begins on the north side of Camelback Road.
“We are perhaps a movie theater and what we’re looking at across the street is Disneyland,” Morris said.
At that point, Francisca Montoya interrupted to state that she had to leave the meeting, so Morris will have to conclude his argument May 28.