Panel wants to expand downtown Q.C. - East Valley Tribune: News

Panel wants to expand downtown Q.C.

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Posted: Saturday, August 1, 2009 3:23 pm | Updated: 1:37 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

A committee is recommending expanding Queen Creek’s downtown district and changing land use designations in some portions, including one change that would pave the way for the proposed Victoria Lund mixed-use project.

Queen Creek’s Town Center Committee recommended this week expanding the area to south of the future Victoria Lane. Also parts of Queen Creek Wash and a few portions of land bounded by the new Ellsworth Loop Road would be added.

The recommendation is part of an update the committee is putting together for a plan guiding the area’s development. That plan is expected to go to the Town Council for approval in early 2010.

The committee discussed expanding the boundary to include the proposed Taylor Morrison project, an active adult community at Hawes and Ocotillo roads, said Economic Development Director Doreen Cott.

“There was discussion that it would just expand the boundaries to be too large,” Cott said. “The development will still benefit the town center and the retailers in there since it’s adjacent. But the committee decided not to expand it to include that much residential.”

Taylor Morrison is expected to go before the Town Council with a General Plan Amendment application in a few months, after the developer filed and withdrew a similar application last year.

The boundaries were expanded enough to include another proposed development east of the Taylor Morrison piece.

Last year, developer Bill Lund submitted a General Plan Amendment application for a 51-acre mixed use project south of Victoria Lane and north of Ocotillo Road. The area, which is currently designated for residential use, is half in Town Center and half outside.

Lund ended up pulling his application before the council voted on it.

The committee’s recommendation would pull the entire piece into the Town Center boundary and change the land designation to mixed-use.

The parcel would still have to go through the General Plan Amendment and rezoning process to change the types of projects allowable on the piece, Cott said.

The difference is that, assuming the Town Center plan updates are approved by the council, town staff would put forward one General Plan Amendment application with all the land use changes in the center instead of Lund submitting an application for his piece, Cott said.

Lund said he was pleased with the committee’s recommendation. He wants to move forward with a project that incorporates retail, office and residential components.

“I think this will allow us to be much more flexible in our planning than we would be otherwise,” Lund said. “Just from a planning perspective, it allows us to be more creative.”

But committee chair Cynthia Buffington, who was the only “no” vote of the eight committee members who voted, said she wasn’t comfortable with the committee recommending a land use change.

She also believes the expansions make the Town Center too large for it’s intended purpose: being the core of the community.

“Expanding it is getting to the point of sprawl,” Buffington said. “I don’t think it’s representative of what the residents had in their original vision.”

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