[btn]By Teri Carnicelli[/btn]
After facing strong opposition from residents in the Peter’s View Neighborhood Association, a developer agreed to reduce the height of a proposed upscale apartment complex near 19th Street and Indian School Road.

The height concession, along with some additional traffic calming measures, was made just hours before the Phoenix City Council was set to vote on the developer’s request for a zoning change for the five lots that were in the process of being acquired for the apartment complex. The lots were a mix of zoning categories, from residential (mobile home park) to office and other commercial zonings.

Lee Busenbark, who had previously spoken against the development plan, voiced her approval of the negotiated changes prior to the City Council’s vote on the rezoning request at its June 4 meeting.

“This is a compromise reached between the community and the developer,” she said. “Each community is different and each site is different, and this one we have deemed is appropriate for our neighborhood.”

After numerous meetings with representatives of the neighborhood and Councilwoman Laura Pastor’s office, the developers agreed to reduce the height by about 9 feet, bringing it to 44 feet total, well within the R-4 zoning category. The reduction did not dramatically impact the number of units planned, however, as the top floor was to have a sort of second-story “loft” available for some of the larger apartments to be offered on that level. The height reduction simply reduced those units back to single-level apartments.

In addition, no balconies will be constructed for those top-floor units that face north or west, providing additional privacy measures to the homeowners who live adjacent to the development site.

The developer also agreed to reduce the number of “carriage houses” along 19th Street and Devonshire Avenue, and to construct an 8-foot wall between the carriage units and the public sidewalks. No balconies will open along the eastern property line.

Resident who were concerned about the traffic impact of 220 multi-family residential units being added to the community were pleased to learn the developer agreed make driveway access into the complex off of Indian School Road and 20th Street only; there will be no access from 19th Street or Devonshire Avenue.

The developer also will deposit $8,000 into a fund to be managed by the Street Transportation Department to be used for traffic calming measures, such as speed cushions, limited turning, raised sidewalks or other such traffic management tools in the neighborhood surrounding the development.

“The Peter’s View Neighborhood Association became very active through this process and became engaged,” Councilwoman Pastor said. “Developers are also neighbors, and establishments are part of the neighborhood and they do bring economic development. We worked fast and furious to at least get to a compromise.”

Additional stipulations that were attached to the rezoning approval include future meetings between the developer’s architect and neighborhood representatives, prior to submitting final plans to the Development Services Department, to review the color of the building and at least three different material boards which reflect alternatives for the accent materials. Residents had expressed concerns about the aesthetics of the proposed design not being compatible with the surrounding neighborhood.

“The leaders from the area did a great job advocating for their neighborhood and I believe set the right message for other redevelopment projects that will come in to the city,” said Mayor Greg Stanton.

The City Council voted 9-0 to approve the rezoning request.


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