Leaders in Phoenix and Tempe talk about their ongoing feud over Coyotes’ sports complex

Phoenix Sky Harbor argues that future residents would hate living under noisy flight paths. Tempe says it's all been worked out.
Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 4:05 PM MST|Updated: Mar. 30, 2023 at 5:31 PM MST
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TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- The future home of the Coyotes in Tempe is facing another roadblock after the city of Phoenix, citing airport noise and safety, decided to file a lawsuit to stop it.

Phoenix officials are worried about the proposed apartment homes that could be impacted. “We have argued more than anybody else could in this room, and when you get the four of us on the same side of an issue, you absolutely know it’s the right thing to do,” said Former Mayor Hugh Hallman.

Tempe hosted a rally Thursday, inviting four former city mayors and Coyotes members to discuss the benefits this project will have on the local economy. “We are focused on bringing jobs and new revenue, on cleaning up a landfill, and the Tempe taxpayers do not pay for it,” said Xavier Gutierrez, President of the Arizona Coyotes.

At first, the airport expressed concern about the height of the proposed arena and the cranes used. Now, the airport is focusing on the residential element of the proposed project. “The FAA wrote a letter saying yes, these are in the high noise contours and in the high impact noise area. Now the city of Tempe is saying they got consultants actually evaluating, they don’t believe the FAA,” said Chad Makovsky, the Director of Aviation Services at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

He said Thursday that’s ultimately what drove them to the courts. “What we agreed on almost thirty years ago is that we would move flight paths and defend flight paths, and all we asked for Tempe to do is to ensure we don’t put new homes under the flight paths we moved,” he said.

Phoenix Sky Harbor tells us the noise from the airport and the planes is their biggest concern for the area, but Tempe says they’ve added stipulations to ensure people who decide to live and work in the area understand that and know if they try to sue the airport, they will lose.

Tempe voters will decide the fate of the proposed project through a special election in May.