More concern over proposed development in Ahwatukee

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- The aftermath of Tuesday's downpour was devastating for some homeowners in Laveen and the cleanup will cost thousands.

Making matters worse, some who live in those flooded homes believe the City of Phoenix could have done more to help divert the flood waters away from them, pointing to poor planning of a newer development nearby.

"When that neighborhood was built, they didn't actually prepare for the water flow," said Judy Mercado.

Some homeowners who live on the other side of South Mountain in Ahwatukee watched and wondered if they would be next.

"What I was seeing here was probably a 20- or 30-foot-wide stream of water flowing down into that lake; that's all part of the natural drainage," said Ben Holt, the President of Save The Lakes, Inc.

The natural drainage to which he is referring is The Lakes at Ahwatukee Golf Course. And all that rain Tuesday funneled through it and not into homes.

Holt's group says a proposal on the table by Pulte Homes to potentially buy the now defunct golf course and turn it into a housing development could put people here at risk for flooding.

"People are very concerned if you fill up the golf course with homes, where does that water go?" Holt said.

Flooding is just one of the concerns the group has about the project. They would like to see the area remain an open space of some sort.

In an email to 3TV, a spokesperson for Pulte Homes said, in part, their development would actually provide much more peace of mind to adjacent homeowners when it comes to any flooding concerns.

She explained that's because "there are very strict 'zero flow' tolerances that builders must adhere to under new development in the City of Phoenix".

She went on to say they have already had an engineering company study the proposed impact and they found that not only can they manage the drainage from South Mountain but improve local drainage generated by the neighborhoods as well.

Save The Lakes, Inc., is skeptical of that response, but not everyone who lives in the area feels that way.

"I'm sure we have pretty intelligent people working both for Pulte or whoever the developer could be, and for the City of Phoenix to do their homework and make that happen," Edward Corona said.

Corona is a homeowner in the area too.

He is confident any development of the golf course would be done in a way to help mitigate, not increase flooding potential in the neighborhood.

He told 3TV while he is not "pro-Pulte," per se, he is "pro-progress," and something needs to be done to get rid of what's now just a community eyesore. He says he hasn't seen any legitimate alternatives to Pulte's proposal.

"I think it's time for us to move on and figure out, okay, what are our next options," said Corona.

Any development is still a little ways out. Pulte Homes said it is working on getting signatures it needs in order to get a deed restriction lifted so, it can move on to get the property zoned.

Save The Lakes, Inc. is fighting that proposal.