development

Buckeye P&Z OKs Verrado apartment complex

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If anyone has seen how much traffic there is at peak times on the Jackrabbit Trail and Verrado Way exits along Interstate 10 these days, wait until that area is built out completely.

That’s the message some Buckeye residents had in opposing the site plan for a 211-unit BTR Verrado apartment complex Tuesday. The Buckeye Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously voted Tuesday to recommend the Buckeye City Council approve the site plan.

The proposed bungalow apartment neighborhood would sit on 17 infill acres on the southeast corner of Verrado Way and Indian School Road.

Tuesday’s vote happened after a nearly hour-long hearing and debate on the Taylor Morrison project.

Several members of the public spoke in opposition to various plan elements, including the density, lighting, strain on resources and, most frequently, the likely added traffic.

Sandy Neubauer, a nearby resident, said she’s read the master plan.

“It doesn’t matter what time of day it is — traffic is horrible,” Neubauer said. “I don’t know how this plan is sustainable.”

Mike Bell said he attended a meeting where a traffic study was presented, but that information was not comprehensible to him.

“That information has to be divulged clearly, in plain speak,” Bell said. “I’ve heard this called a small development. It’s a large development, when you consider 211 units could mean 422 vehicles squeezed onto two roads.”

John Willett, senior traffic engineer for Buckeye, said the impact has been analyzed. He said he believes the in-progress widening of Indian School Road, once completed, will add enough capacity to significantly reduce traffic congestion along the northern parts of Verrado Way.

The amended comprehensive master plan allows individual projects within Verrado to have a residential density range between zero and 35 duplex units per acre and four-story buildings. Ashley Marsh of Phoenix-based law firm Gammage & Burnham PLC, made a presentation at Tuesday’s meeting, mentioning the developer is seeking far less height and density than what the Verrado master plan allows.

BTR Verrado buildings would have a height limit of 23 feet, 7 inches, and will be single-story, one- or two-bedroom apartments with on-site management. The overall net density for the development — including open space — will be 12.19 duplex units per acre.

The site plan is for bungalow-style rentals. The increasingly popular style, especially in the Southwest Valley, eliminates taller apartment buildings, using slightly more real estate to limit buildings to one or two stories.

Also Tuesday, the board unanimously made two other recommendations of approval.

The site plan approval for Thompson Thrift’s 254-unit apartment complex involves a 10.6-acre, L-shaped lot near the southwest corner of Yuma and Watson roads, south of I-10. The three-story, seven-building, 39-foot-tall complex would wrap behind the Buckeye Marketplace shopping center, on the side that includes a Fry’s grocery store.

The board also recommended council approve a preliminary plat for Festival Ranch Planning Area 3. The 90-acre plat is located southwest of Beardsley Parkway and Desert Oasis Boulevard with three lot sizes among the 229 age-restricted residential lots.

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