Residents of the Silverhawke neighborhood in Gilbert are voicing concerns over the future of the former Schuff Steel site at Cooper and Guadalupe Roads as the property owner plans to turn a portion of the site into a junk yard.
After hosting a hearing on the project on May 3, the Gilbert Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit and site plan for the Arizona Auto Parts salvage yard to be located on over 13 acres of land at 623 N. Cooper Road.
Concerned residents filed an appeal against those initial approvals with the Gilbert Town Council. The Town Council will consider that appeal at a public hearing when it hosts its regular meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 29.
Weinberger Waste Disposal, a Phoenix-based company, owns the 23-acre property, which it purchased from Schuff Steel in June 2016. The remaining 10 acres will house a future Weinberger Transfer Station.
While the site is already zoned for industrial use, the project still required a conditional use permit due to requirements in Gilbert’s Land Development Code, said Ashlee MacDonald, land use planner for Town of Gilbert.
Section 5.401 of Gilbert’s LDC states that “Generally these uses require special consideration to ensure that they can be designed, located, and operated in a manner that will not interfere with the use and enjoyment of surrounding properties. The process for review of use permit applications is designed to evaluate possible adverse impacts and to minimize them where possible through the imposition of specific conditions or requirements.”
Resident Patti Daley Mills claims that signs notifying residents of that initial Planning Commission hearing were not readily visible to the public.
“This was very hush-hush,” Mills said.
According to the planning commission staff report filed by MacDonald, Gilbert conformed to all public notification requirements, including publishing a notice about the meeting in a local newspaper and posting notices in required public places.
The appeal stated, in part, that it is challenging the commission’s determination “that the proposed use would not be detrimental to the health, rights, or safety of persons living or working in the area.”
The planning commission report states that the project meets four criteria in order to qualify for a conditional use permit. That criteria includes that it is not a public safety or welfare concern for people living or working in the area, that it does not interfere with use or enjoyment of nearby properties, and that it conforms to intent for the site under Gilbert’s General Plan and any applicable local, state or federal requirements.
Auto salvage yard is an approved use for land zoned as general industrial in Gilbert, and the proposed yard will conform with all necessary regulations, according to the report.
Silverhawke residents are concerned that their homes will now bump up against a junk yard.
Home values in the neighborhood generally range from $250,000 to $400,000, according to the online real estate marketplace Zillow.
“When we bought homes, we never had any idea that Schuff Steel would be leaving and become a junk yard,” Mills said.
MacDonald’s report found that the project would not pose a public safety or welfare risk to the area due, largely because it is bordered on three sides by other industrial uses.
– Reach Wayne Schutsky at 480-898-6533 or email@example.com.