By Teri Carnicelli
Developers of an apartment complex planned for 3rd Avenue and Camelback Road have asked the City Council to postpone its vote on a requested zoning change for the property until its March 19 meeting. The council was originally slated to review the rezoning request, which would change approximately 1.14 acres from commercial to multi-family residential, at its Feb. 5 meeting.
The continuance request stated that the developers wanted more time to explore alternatives to financing and to review possible further revisions to the development.
Larry Lazarus, attorney for the developers, explains that changes had previously been made to the development proposal that reduced the height of a portion of the project from four to three stories, which also eliminated six units of the affordable housing project.
Representatives from the adjacent Medlock Place historic neighborhood object to the height and the density of the project, which abuts their 100-year-old, single-story community.
Lazarus says that Michael Stringfellow from the Chasse Building Team has contacted the project’s financing partners to determine whether, for example, reducing the height to three stories across the board or otherwise reducing the density of the units to below 50 will compromise the financing. Since this is a planned affordable housing project adjacent to public transit, the project qualifies for certain tax credits and other financial incentives; however, it has to meet certain benchmarks and requirements to retain that status.
“Mr. Stringfellow is going back to the finance people to see if he can still make to pencil out if further reductions are made,” Lazarus says. “As soon as we have an answer on that we’ll try to get together with the neighborhood folks again. We are taking their concerns very seriously, but we also have to make sure we have a project that is financially feasible.”
If the project can’t be reduced any further in terms of height or density, the developers might still go forward with their zoning request. Thus far, the Alhambra Village Planning Committee could not agree upon a position, and the Phoenix Planning Commission voted 4-2 in favor of it.
The City Council is scheduled to hear the zoning change request 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 19 in the Council Chambers 200 W. Jefferson St. Those who might wish to attend the council meeting are advised to check the agenda online at www.phoenix.gov at least 24 hours prior to the hearing to see if any changes have been made to the agenda. Go to “City Government,” then “Public Meetings.” Select “City Council Meetings” and find the agenda posted for March 19 under “Formal Meetings.”