DEVELOPMENT

Buckeye Council annexes Encanto, OKs mixed uses

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Because of a pair of actions taken at Tuesday’s meeting, the city of Buckeye is 38.5 acres bigger.

The Buckeye City Council voted to annex unincorporated land belonging to a developer Tuesday, then approved a mixed-use development plan. The property is an rectangle-shaped parcel that stretches from 191st Avenue Jackrabbit Trail with Monte Vista Road along the southern edge and a developed residential tract to the north.

Neighborhoods to the north and south appear to be horse-friendly. Representatives of those communities met with developers, with one resident voicing various concerns during a March 15 hearing on the annexation.

The Buckeye Planning and Zoning Commission recommended, by a 6-1 vote, council approve the development plan at its March 22 meeting.
Tuesday, the council approved the annexation by a unanimous vote. The development plan was approved 6-1.

Jackencanto LLC will build 99 homes across the middle third of the rectangle, with commercial development to the west, along Jackrabbit Trail and a rural area along the eastern 191st Avenue edge of the property.

Sean Banda, a senior planner for the city, took questions on the development Tuesday. He reassured Councilor Craig Heustis that even with only a 18-foot front-loaded garage setback on the street side, owners of newer 20-foot pickups will still be able to fit their vehicles in Encanto driveways.

Banda clarified that the 2.4 dwelling units per acre density is calculated across the entire 38.5 acres. In its proposal, Banda said, the developer plans to only use the middle four-fifths of the property for 99 homes.

The eastern edge, along 191st Avenue, will be open space, while the western edge of the 38.5 acres will be commercial development along Jackrabbit Trail.

Arizona properties can be annexed by adjacent municipalities at a land owner’s request following a lengthy approval procedure that involves the city that’s annexing it.

The Encanto property was zoned RU-43 as a Maricopa County unincorporated pair of parcels; state law requires incoming properties hold similar designation that would initially make the land SF-43 in Buckeye zoning. The “43” refers to one dwelling per acre, as one acre equals about 43,000 square feet.

Developers such as Jackencanto LLC must pursue rezoning plans separately from annexation into a municipality.

Annexations require consideration at two council meetings. Tuesday’s meeting was the second of those two, for the purpose of holding a public hearing to allow affected parties the opportunity to comment on the request, but no one signed up to speak about Encanto on Tuesday.

The March 15 Council meeting included the first public hearing on Encanto’s annexation.

Council, city staff and the public have all mentioned the need to widen and/or improve Jackrabbit Trail to handle more traffic to and from the new businesses and housing in the area. Several commercial developments and intersection improvements are in progress at Jackrabbit Trail and Indian School Road.

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