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Board of Supervisors Approves Controversial High-Density Development Despite Community Opposition


In a move that has stirred significant community unrest, the Pinal County Board of Supervisors approved Resolution No. 2024-PZ-PA-014-23, greenlighting a high-density development project despite the Planning Commission's unanimous recommendation for denial. The approval allows Langley Bella Vista LLC to re-designate 16.9 acres from Suburban Neighborhood to Urban Center land use, paving the way for a higher density development southeast of Bella Vista Road and N Gantzel Road in San Tan Valley.

Planning Commission's Stance

The Planning Commission had recommended an 8-0 denial of the project, citing numerous concerns raised by the local residents. These concerns primarily focused on increased traffic, noise, and the impact on the rural character of the area. Despite this, the Board of Supervisors moved forward with the approval, highlighting a stark divide between the county's decision-makers and the community's sentiment.

Project Overview

The project, driven by Langley Bella Vista LLC and represented by Jordan Rose of the Rose Law Group, includes several key elements:

  1. Non-Major Comprehensive Plan Amendment (PZ-PA-014-23): Re-designates 16.9 acres to allow for higher density development.
  2. Rezoning (PZ-051-23): Changes zoning from General Business (CB-2) PAD to Community Commercial (C-2) and Multiple Residence (MR).
  3. Planned Area Development (PZ-PD-020-23): Amends the Rancho Bella Vista Master Planned Community to incorporate development standards for higher density mixed-use development.

Community and Commission Concerns

The Planning Commission's denial recommendation was grounded in several critical issues:

  1. Traffic and Noise: Increased traffic from the high-density development is expected to exacerbate existing congestion issues, particularly at the already busy Bella Vista and Gantzel intersection. The noise from a denser population and commercial activities also raised alarms.
  2. Incompatibility with Surroundings: The proposed three-story apartment buildings are out of character with the predominantly single-story residential neighborhoods surrounding the site. Residents fear this will disrupt the visual and social fabric of the community.
  3. Infrastructure Strain: Local infrastructure, including roads and drainage systems, may struggle to cope with the additional burden imposed by the high-density development.

Board of Supervisors' Decision

Despite the comprehensive opposition and the Planning Commission's recommendation, the Board of Supervisors approved the project, imposing specific stipulations to address some of the concerns. These include:

  • Traffic Mitigation: Required improvements to adjacent roadways based on a Traffic Impact Analysis.
  • Drainage Management: Compliance with Pinal County Drainage Manual to ensure adequate stormwater management.
  • Buffer Zones: Installation of noise and visual barriers, such as higher perimeter walls and landscaping buffers.

Recusal of District 2 Supervisor
Mike Goodman, the current District 2 Supervisor and Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, recused himself from both the presentation and the vote due to a conflict of interest. This recusal left the remaining four supervisors to deliberate and make the final decision on the project.

Future Steps

With the Board's approval, Langley Bella Vista LLC can now proceed with applying for site plan approval and necessary permits under the new development standards. The community remains vigilant and divided, with many residents continuing to voice their dissatisfaction with the decision.

For further updates and detailed information on the development's progress, residents are encouraged to visit the Pinal County Planning Department's website or contact their local representatives.

The approval of this high-density development project against the Planning Commission's advice and community's wishes underscores the complex dynamics between development ambitions and community preservation. As San Tan Valley continues to grow, the balance between progress and maintaining the community's character will remain a critical issue for local governance.
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Tuesday, 23 July 2024

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