By TARA ALATORRE
ANTHEM – It was standing room only at the Hampton Inn’s conference room during a community meeting last week that informed residents about a rezoning request filed for a proposed development near 43rd Avenue and Circle Mountain Road, which could bring 170 new homes to the area.
The developer facilitated the meeting on January 24, sharing details with residents about the 55.5-acre site, which is owned by Desert Hills 160 LLC, and the its intent to rezone the site from ranch land to single-family residential with a density of about 3 homes per acre.
The empty plot is annexed into the City of Phoenix and located near the post office in west Anthem, with a large portion of the parcel located in the New River wash and a flood zone, which will require the developer to raise areas of land so it can be used, according to the information shared with residents at the meeting last week.
At one point someone in the crowd at the meeting shouted, “leave the river alone!” as the developer explained its proposal to elevate land near New River wash to remove it from the flood zone, which would ultimately require approval from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Other community members that live near the proposed development voiced their concerns that raising the land would just create flooding problems for neighboring properties.
The developer plans on creating two parks and preserving a portion of the 55 acres for open space if the subdivision is approved.
Many people that attended the meeting were concerned about the proposed development’s proximity to the wash, obstruction of views for residents living in West Anthem and traffic issues that could arise.
With the recent announcement of Caurus Academy’s new campus opening in August of 2019 just north of the post office and adjacent to the proposed housing development, the community seemed worried that the traffic study conducted was insufficient because it did not take the new 64,000-square-foot campus into account.
The representative at the meeting acknowledged they were not aware of the new middle and high school campus that will soon be located southeast of its property as it was just recently announced last week, according to a source on background.
The New River Desert Hills Incorporation Committee (NRDHIC) started an online petition in opposition to the proposed development that can be found on its Facebook page or at Change.org.
For more information or to submit a public comment regarding the rezoning case (Z-90-18-1) contact Kaelee Wilson by calling 602-534-7696 or emailing RioVistaVPC@phoenix.gov.