City Council votes to rezone rural area in north Phoenix

The Phoenix City Council gave the green light to rezoning part of a Happy Valley Community but residents say the new developments may hurt the livestock there.
Published: May. 31, 2023 at 10:07 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Approval of land being rezoned from commercial to residential for apartments in north Phoenix has caused stress for a rural community that claims it’s already struggling with the city’s growth. “The traffic is just bad. That area is already getting crazy and now we are talking about thousands of people from to come in and out for work, going to school. The roads just are sufficient for that kind of traffic,” said Melissa Crawford, who lives in Happy Valley.

On Wednesday, Phoenix City Council voted unanimously to rezone the land. The area is in north Phoenix near 17th Avenue and Happy Valley Road. The city said it could bring in about 226 units for the city. A lawyer representing the company behind the apartments discussed the project at the meeting. “I really want to thank the team to ensure that we have the best possible development and what you’ll see is an opportunity for true attainable housing,” said Ben Graff, a lawyer for Shelter Asset Management.

Many people in the Happy Valley community showed up to voice their concerns, from traffic to the impacts on the livestock in the area. For some, they say it’s been an uphill battle to voice these issues before Wednesday’s meeting as multiple planning commission meetings kept getting pushed due to no quorum. “We are trying to rally neighbors in a rural community. We live far apart and then we show up to a meeting and no one hears your concerns,” said Alison Mckee, who lives in Happy Valley.

Not everyone is against the rezone. Some people and many businesses in the area welcomed the addition, with one saying it could draw in even more businesses. “Economically, these businesses add significantly to the quality to the life in the local neighborhoods that they serve and increase the property values significantly,” said Charles Eckert, president of Red Hawk Development.

The city also voted in one stipulation. Traffic leaving the apartment onto 17th Avenue can only turn right to help ease traffic concerns brought up by people at the meeting.

correction: This story has been updated to reflect an updated statement from Charles Eckert.

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