November 2017 Zoning Update

The meeting of 11/6/2017 was a typical one with two interesting agenda items.  The first was a zoning case to allow the construction of a 5 story 256 unit apartment building at the northeast corner of Central Ave and Columbus.  The developer presented detailed plans and the committee discussed issues of parking, conformance to the Walkable Urban Code, sustainability and other issues. The plans were consistent with the requirements for the area close to a light rail station.  The committee recommended approval and the Phoenix Planning Commission will hear the case on 12/7.

The second case was not technically a rezoning. It concerned the property at 31 E. Thomas, behind the Panera Bread restaurant.  The developers, Toll Brothers, had gotten the property rezoned in 2006 for a residential mixed-use project consisting of two 658 foot tall towers and a third tower of 514 feet.  If constructed it would have housed the three tallest buildings in Arizona.  The Chase Bank tower downtown is 483 feet. They now feel that such a project is unrealistic and instead propose a 4 story apartment complex wrapped around a 6 story parking structure.  Although the zoning classification would allow for this project, the 2006 zoning had a stipulation of “substantial conformance to site plan.”  The site plan called for the three towers and they want the stipulation removed.  The committee raised concerns about the lack of commitment to solar and to what appeared to be more parking than such a project, at the juncture of the light rail and the planned Bus Rapid Transit line on Thomas, should have.  The committee did recommend approval.  The hearing to remove the stipulation will be before the Planning Hearing Officer on 11/15.

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