By TARA ALATORRE
PHOENIX – The proposed Riverview housing development located near west Anthem could move forward in the rezoning process with the City of Phoenix, which would reduce the housing density from about one home per three acres to three homes per acre making the way for 170 new homes.
The City of Phoenix Rio Vista Village Planning Committee (RVVPC) will hear a presentation from on March 14, at 6 p.m. by El Dorado Holdings, the developer seeking to rezone the 55 of its 160-acres on the northwest corner of 43rd Avenue and Circle Mountain Road. After the presentation there will be public comments and a possible recommendation from RVVPC.
Although RVVPC, which is comprised of residents and are appointed by the city, does not have any decision-making power it does provide guidance on local issues providing recommendations to the Phoenix Planning Commission. The Phoenix Planning Commission will consider this rezoning request on June 6, where it will move on seeking final approval from the city council.
The development has been mostly opposed by residents from Anthem and New River because of concerns over traffic, safety issues, obstructed views and increased housing density impeding on rural lifestyles and flooding.
El Dorado conducted a Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA), which had to be updated this April when the developers were made aware that Caurus Academy would be building a middle and high school campus adjacent to the proposed Riverview development.
If the rezoning request is approved El Dorado anticipates it will generate approximately 1,694 weekday daily trips, with 125 trips occurring in the morning peak hour and 169 trips occurring the evening peak hour by 2020, according to the TIA obtained by The Foothills Focus.
The intersection of 43rd Avenue and Anthem Way is expected to operate at low levels of service in the morning peak hour even without the Riverview development. While the intersection of 43rd Avenue and Old West Trail will see adverse effects with low levels of service on the westbound approach during the evening peak hour due to the subdivision, according to the TIA findings.
“When minor roads intersect with major roads, it is common for the minor approaches to experience delay,” El Dorado’s Vice President Linda Cheney stated in an email. “Additionally, the threshold for a level of service [E] is 35 seconds per vehicle at unsignalized intersections, meaning that this movement is just past this threshold and no mitigation needs to be applied at this time.”
El Dorado Holdings is also recommending dual southbound left turn lanes be installed at 43rd Avenue and Anthem Way to lessen delays on the southbound approach during peak hours at the intersection and increasing the light cycle length from 70 to 100 seconds.
In addition, putting a portion of the subdivision in the New River’s wash was the biggest concern for residents living in homes that border the proposed development, voicing concerns at community meetings about increased water and flow levels during flash flooding.
Thirteen acres of the subdivision is in a floodplain and El Dorado Holdings must receive approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to get what is known as a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR). A LOMR effectively modifies a flood boundary.
“This wash gets running devastatingly, and you’re going to build 170 homes and that’s really sad,” Deborah Harper said, an Anthem resident who lives in Arroyo Grande, which borders the southwest side of the Riverview property.
However, Ed Bull, a representative of El Dorado Holdings has repeatedly assured residents that the development can withstand a 500-year flood event and will not affect existing homes.
“It is a very common process to build on floodplains,” Bull said. “The foundation is being set at about the 500-year floodplain, and they won’t have to pay for flood insurance if approved ultimately by FEMA,” Bull said at the meeting.
He also noted at the RVVPC on April 9, that the 71 percent of the total parcel owned, which is a total of 160-acres, will be undeveloped, which is to mitigate floodway issues and provide open space for the community.
Bull told residents at the last RVVPC in April, “We have listened an we have done our best to respond.”
The Rio Vista Planning Committee meeting takes place on May 14, at 6 p.m. at the A.C. Beuf Community Center, 3435 W. Pinnacle Peak Road in North Phoenix. For more information call Kaelee Wilson at 602-264-7696. To view a complete copy of the TIA visit The FoothillsFocus.com.