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Proposal under discussion to annex planned Lennar development into Anthem

9/2/2015

Elizabeth Medora
Staff

ANTHEM – The development of Anthem may be growing.

Back in 2014, Lennar Homes brought forth a proposal regarding building 202 homes on the west side of Anthem, north of the Daisy Mountain Post Office. Those plans have been in development; these homes would not have been part of the Anthem community as far as amenities or HOA. Now, discussions are underway to annex the development, known as Circle Mountain Ranch, into Anthem. The potential annexation will be discussed in open meetings presented by Pulte on Sept. 9 and Sept. 14, 6 p.m. both days, at the Anthem Civic Building. The annexation will also be on the agenda of the Sept. 16 Anthem Community Council Board of Directors meeting, to be held at 6:30 p.m., also at the Anthem Civic Building.

If annexed, the planned Lennar development would become a joint Lennar/Pulte project. Pulte already has input into the design of the homes; whether or not annexation is approved, Pulte will ensure that the Lennar design fits the style of Anthem.

Anthem Community Council Board of Directors President Tim Fyke called Pulte “very, very committed” to the Lennar development matching Anthem.

“They (Pulte) want to keep Anthem looking like Anthem,” Fyke said.

Pulte has a vested interest in Anthem, as one of their most popular and vibrant communities. Pulte has retained declarant rights in Anthem, meaning that they have the right to annex developments in a 25-mile radius around Anthem. However, while Pulte has retained these rights, they have not overruled the community and Board of Directors’ opinions.

“Pulte has always been a very, very good partner,” Fyke said. He noted that the community and the Board can object to a project or annexation.

“Pulte’s position in the past has always been, ‘You have to get the Board’s approval, then you come to us,’” Fyke explained.

That’s where the upcoming meetings come in. At the Sept. 9 and Sept. 14 meetings, Pulte will present information to residents and take questions and address concerns directly. Similar information will be presented at each meeting; the two meeting dates are provided in case of scheduling conflicts, so that all residents get the chance to share input. The ACC Board of Directors will then discuss the annexation at their Sept. 16 meeting; residents can also give input at that meeting. 

The Board’s discussions with Pulte over annexation will include possible changes to governing documents. Pulte may be giving up some of the rights they currently hold in Anthem. This possibility has come about due to the Board’s concerns about potential future annexation. Giving up annexation rights would be a good-faith commitment from Pulte not to overburden Anthem’s amenities. Pulte will remain involved in Anthem, even if they do give up some of their current rights.

Since ground hasn’t been broken for the development yet, it is still in the early stages. In an email response to a Circle Mountain Ranch status inquiry, Lennar Division President Alan Jones indicated that Lennar is “still at least a year away from starting in this community.”

“Lennar is under contract to purchase this property and is excited about the opportunity to build in this desirable location in the Valley,” Jones said.

Since this development would be in the city of Phoenix, as the community on the west side of the I-17 is, the city is reviewing the site plan.

“In April 2015, an application for preliminary site plan review was submitted to PDD (Planning and Development Department),” noted Yvette Roeder Public Information Officer for the Phoenix Public Works Department. “The proposed subdivision includes 202 lots. Review comments were returned to the applicant in June 2015 for corrections. The file is available for the public to view at the 2nd floor Site Development Counter or per appointment. A public records request is needed to obtain copies of the information/plans.”

Roeder added that a street classification amendment was brought in last June, but it was determined in August that the amendment was not needed, and the application was then withdrawn.

Since the homes are scheduled to be built whether or not Circle Mountain Ranch is annexed into Anthem, some potential issues brought up when the development was first discussed are now moot. One of the most significant and relevant issues now with the potential annexation is additional use of the Anthem Community Center. If annexed, Circle Mountain Ranch residents would pay the same dues all Anthem homeowners pay to the community and would have rights as Anthem homeowners to Anthem’s amenities, which would add to the already busy community center. The annexation, would, however, avoid future issues with the homeowners using the private Anthem park, as they would be paying dues and would be within rights to use it.

Overall, from the financial point of view, the annexation looks promising for Anthem.

“The financials look good for us as a whole,” said Fyke.

The Anthem Community Council is encouraging the community to attend the upcoming meetings to share their concerns and get the facts.

“The ACC will advocate strongly for conditions that benefit the Anthem community, and take into consideration the input from Anthem residents, and impact on existing ACC amenities and programs,” the Council said in a release to the community on Aug. 27. “The ACC Board of Directors encourages residents to attend these scheduled meetings, take the time and initiative to learn the facts about the annexation and not make speculations based exclusively on local or social media coverage.”

Fyke noted that Pulte has been a good partner to the community and that they aim to make this “a very fair situation for all parties.” They want Anthem to continue to thrive.

“There’s a reason they keep their name on the door,” Fyke said. “They’re very proud of what they built here.”