September 13, 2004
Mesa’s planning staff is recommending denial of requests for general plan amendments to allow for housing developments near Williams Gateway Airport and in north Mesa.
At this week’s Planning and Zoning Board meeting, city staff will urge denial of applications by developers to build homes in the desert just north of the GM Proving Ground and over citrus groves just north of the city’s water treatment facility at McDowell and Lindsay roads, Mesa planning director John Wesley said.
LKY Development wants to make way for homes on 600 acres sandwiched between the GM property and the Mesquite Canyon and Santa Rita housing subdivisions, where the general plan calls for an industrial park.
Mesa officials trying to protect Williams Gateway Airport from residential encroachment said the homes there would be too close to air traffic routes. That viewpoint led to a thumbs-down from staff last year when the developer made a similar request.
LKY’s application this year is essentially the same, except it’s been split in half because the land is in escrow with two homebuilders — Engle on the east and Meritage on the west.
LKY vice president Bill Ring maintains there isn’t a market for an industrial park in the area, and that most of the traffic from the airport will be traveling miles to the north along U.S. 60.
In another development proposal, William Lyons Homes wants to build 1,900 homes and allow some commercial uses as part of the Lehi Farms project.
That development, which would displace 314 acres of city groves, would be north of the city limits, but developers plan to seek annexation into Mesa.
The development would boost density from what the general plan now allows.
Developers are expected to ask the board to postpone this week’s hearing.
Planning consultant Susan Demmit said the developer will use the time to seek a compromise with residents.
Mark Freeman, president of the Lehi Community Improvement Association, said many from Lehi and the Citrus area to the south believe the developer wants to build too many homes.
Others are more concerned about blocking the spread of sand and gravel mining that already exists along the Salt River bed.
Wesley said the conflict surrounding Lehi Farms helped solidify the staff recommendation against the project.
What: Mesa Planning and Zoning Board
When: 4 p.m. Thursday
Where: Mesa City Council chambers, 57 E. First St.