By TARA ALATORRE
PHOENIX – A proposed housing development that would have brought 286 new single-family homes to a 71-acre parcel of land located on the Interstate-17 Frontage and Circle Mountain roads near the rural community of New River is officially dead.
Sometime this week the developer withdrew the application, which was requesting the City of Phoenix to rezone the parcel from commercial to residential and would have made way for the proposed Valley Ridge Estates housing development, according to a Phoenix spokesperson.
“EPS did withdraw their application this week and didn’t provide a reason,” stated Phoenix Planning and Development Department’s Public Information Officer, Angie Holdsworth, in an email to The Foothills Focus on September 26.
That means the developer’s application regarding Valley Ridge Estates will not move forward in the rezoning process or seek further approval from the Phoenix Planning Commission or City Council.
The parcel, which is owned by New Hamburg Land Company, was in the unincorporated boundaries of Maricopa County, but was recently annexed into Phoenix in hopes of hooking up the potential homes to the city’s utilities.
Although the application is withdrawn for Valley Ridge Estates, the land is still annexed into Phoenix and commercially zoned, and the developer’s future plans were unknown at the time this was written.
The rezoning request and proposed housing development was mostly opposed by the communities of New River, Desert Hills and Anthem since it first appeared on the planning department’s docket this March.
Many of the rural community’s residents have attended the meetings to speak out against the proposed development citing safety concerns regarding traffic and increased emergency response times. Other concerns raised were water shortage issues, light pollution and losing their rural lifestyle.
Overcrowded public schools were also a point of contention between residents and the developer. The Deer Valley Unified School District confirmed that it could not accommodate the amount of high school students that were projected by the 286 additional residences.
On September 11 the Phoenix Rio Vista Planning Committee, which is an advisory board, unanimously voted to recommend a denial for Valley Ridge Estates to the city’s planning commission.
The October 4 Phoenix Planning Commission hearing that was scheduled regarding this rezoning request has now been cancelled.