Tempe offers downzoning to homeowners worried about re-development

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From now until the end of the year, Tempe homeowners can apply to have their properties downzoned to low density for free, saving them $3,500. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) From now until the end of the year, Tempe homeowners can apply to have their properties downzoned to low density for free, saving them $3,500. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
As many as 400 properties in Tempe may fall qualify. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) As many as 400 properties in Tempe may fall qualify. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Downzoning could reduce property values. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Downzoning could reduce property values. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Towering high-rise buildings now overlook the centuries-old neighborhood. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Towering high-rise buildings now overlook the centuries-old neighborhood. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

The Valley has seen a huge explosion in development in the last few years, but one neighborhood in Tempe is doing all it can to keep gentrification out. 

 Properties like Karyn Gitlis's in the Greater Maple Ash area have been catching the eye of developers because of their high or medium density zoning. 

"Developers come in and take advantage of the zoning to put big developments in single family home neighborhoods," said Gitlis. 

Towering high-rise buildings now overlook the centuries-old neighborhood. 

"It has happened five times since I've lived there," said Gitlis.   

Most recently, a developer bought the lot at Ninth Street and Wilson and started putting in a condo complex.

Neighbors fought back, and the City of Tempe offered them an option. 

From now until the end of the year, homeowners can apply to have their properties downzoned to low density for free, saving them $3,500.

"The City is basically responding to concerns from the neighborhoods and the citizens in terms of helping them preserve the character," said Ambika Adhikari, principal planner for Tempe Community Development. 

As many as 400 properties in Tempe may qualify. More than half of those are in Gitlis's neighborhood. 

Gitlis is interested in taking the offer. 

"What it will do make the properties look slightly less desirable to developers. They wouldn't be able to build as high and as dense per acre," she said. 

Downzoning could reduce property values.  

Downzoning also isn't necessarily permanent. A developer could still buy the land and ask the city to reverse the zoning.

But neighbors are hoping the additional roadblock would not be worth the work.

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Lauren ReimerLauren Reimer joined the 3TV/CBS 5 family in June 2016. She is originally from Racine, WI but is no stranger to our heat.

Click to learn more about Lauren.

Lauren Reimer

She previously worked for KVOA in Tucson, covering topics that matter to Arizonans including the monsoon, wildfires and border issues. During the child migrant crisis of 2014, Reimer was one of only a handful of journalists given access to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Nogales, where hundreds of unaccompanied children were being held after crossing into the U.S. from Central America. Before that, Reimer worked at WREX in Rockford, IL. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and still visits home often. When not chasing news stories, Reimer loves to explore, enjoying everything from trying new adventurous foods to visiting state and national parks or local places of historical significance.

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