Council approves 162 townhouse units near Estrella Gin Business Park


Mayor Nancy Smith, shown here at the Sept. 22 city council meeting, made strong comments in support of the city’s multi-family housing needs at Tuesday’s meeting. The city now needs about 6,500 multi-family units to have the desired ratio of apartments to single-family homes. [Victor Moreno]

City Council on Tuesday gave the green light for more multi-family housing, unanimously approving three measures that will advance a townhouse project adjacent to the Estrella Gin business park.

Measures approved include a minor change to the General Plan land use for high density residences from employment use; an amendment to the zone map changing the zoning to high density residential from light industrial; and finally the rezoning of 10.2 acres at the southeast corner of West Edison Road and North Estrella Parkway for high-density residences.

Developer Construction Solutions Company will construct the 162-unit multi-family project adjacent to the Estrella Gin commercial development on Edison and Loma roads.

Elevations submitted by the developer call for five three-story buildings approximately 40 feet tall with a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedroom units.

Two acres of the site will be cut into one-acre parcels to be rezoned as neighborhood commerce to allow for the development of commercial blocks, which should house at least one business with a drive-thru window.

Community facilities will include a clubhouse, pool, greenbelt, site-wide walking paths and enclosed parking garages. There will be 399 parking spaces on site.

The city has long touted the need for multi-family housing and commissioned a study, which shows it needs 25% of its homes to be multi-family. Currently, there are over 22,000 single-family homes in Maricopa, which means the city needs 6,253 multi-family units to reach this benchmark.

Objective of the housing plan

There are 2,133 multi-family units authorized in the city – those built or approved – leaving a deficit of more than 4,100 multi-family units to reach 25%.

There are over 70,000 single-family homes permitted in the Maricopa planning area, which would require approximately 18,000 multi-family units to meet the 25% recommended by the study.

Mayor Nancy Smith and Deputy Mayor Vincent Manfredi both came out strongly in favor of the townhouse project, citing the need to provide more housing diversity.

“As more people live in the town of Maricopa, more businesses will come,” Manfredi said. “We will see big box stores, Lowe’s and places like that coming in the near future. We’ll see places like the stores you see in Tempe Marketplace. You will see more and more of them in the city as more and more people move to Maricopa.

“But to think that all of this is going to happen before people get here, it’s not happening,” Manfredi continued. “You’re not going to open a store and hope people move to an area.”

He cited what happened to several large retailers who bet on Casa Grande’s growth and lost in the Promenade project.

“The Promenade is practically empty,” Manfredi said. “That’s why Target is gone, Sam’s Club is gone, Best Buy is gone and Foot Locker and so many other stores that opened there in anticipation of growth, and that’s not has not happened. Commercial development follows the rooftops, not the other way around. We need multi-family housing for the growth we want as a city.

Smith cited the danger of passing a bill similar to one introduced in the Arizona Legislature last year, in which the state would assume control of city zoning. See: State House bill would remove local zoning authority – InMaricopa

“Every community in the metro area, probably every community in the state of Arizona, is behind multifamily development. They’re behind it,” Smith said. “And that’s why the state legislature is looking to take control of zoning. And then if they take control, they can choose what goes where, how many homes you put in, what it looks like – and we don’t want that to happen. No community in the metro area… wants this to happen.

“So the challenge is to stay on top, so we continue to win the argument that local control is the way to go so that we determine what goes where, what it looks like, and we have control of our To have economic development, you have to have people who can work there and you have to have housing that they can afford.

In other cases, the Council has approved an acting presiding judge OK with Stephen McCarville for the remainder of this calendar year, largely to oversee the city’s transition to a self-governing municipal court and agreed that McCarville would serve as acting presiding judge for the entire 2023 calendar year.

Editor’s note: Vincent Manfredi is co-owner of InMaricopa.

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