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Surprise council ponders rezoning parcel near Valley Vista

Posted 5/1/17


WHAT: Surprise City Council Meeting

WHEN: 6 p.m. Tuesday.

WHERE: City Ha;;, Council Chambers, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza

The entrance sign to the Surprise Civic Center …

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Surprise council ponders rezoning parcel near Valley Vista

WHAT: Surprise City Council Meeting
WHEN: 6 p.m. Tuesday.
WHERE: City Ha;;, Council Chambers, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza

The entrance sign to the Surprise Civic Center (Independent Newsmedia file)

Richard Smith
Independent Newsmedia

During its Tuesday night meeting, the Surprise City Council is scheduled to vote on a rezoning for a parcel north of Valley Vista high school and west of Paradise Acres.

On April 20 the Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously recommended rezoning the planned 15.76-acre urban development in the Paradise Acres Commercial Center on land east of Reems Road, north of Tierra Buena Lane and south of Paradise Lane.

If approved, it would change the zoning on the parcel from mostly rural residential with a slice of medium-density residential to neighborhood commercial. A planned urban development overlay defines acceptable uses in this area, orienting it more toward office and medical related businesses.

“This is a project that has been a long time coming,” City Planner Hobart Wingard said at the April 20 meeting. “For many years it’s been an issue that the residents want to retain their rural lifestyle in this area. Every previous attempt to commercialize the Reems portion has met many concerns.”

The rest of this quarter of a city block, from Paradise Lane south to Greenway Road and from Bullard Avenue west to Reems Road, is a unique mix to be certain. The eastern and southern boundaries form the heart of the Dysart Unified School District, with Parkview Elementary, the district offices and the Valley Vista Performing Arts Center along Parkview Place and Valley Vista High School just north of Greenway Road.

But the bulk of this area, 75 acres in all, is devoted to Paradise Acres, a rural residential community with large lots and almost a ranch feel.

The parcel under discussion was just to the west and has a long history of speculative development, Mr. Wingard said. The parcel has five different owners.

In 2014, Surprise approved the rezoning of a portion of this property to allow for an assisted living complex. Mr. Wingard said that proposal never came through.

By including an overlay with this rezoning, he said, the city can limit types of businesses arriving to those palatable to residents. For example, he said, it would not be a good idea to include a fast food restaurant just north of the city’s largest high school.

Surprise led a citizen review meeting in March.

“There was a lot of good discussion and a lot of it we wrote down and are keeping in mind for when that project comes through,” Mr. Wingard said.

Traffic topped resident concerns. Paradise and Tierra Buena lanes do not travel through to the next collector or arterial street, but turn back around to Reems Road. The city has already acted by installing ‘No Through Street’ signs on both.

Resident James Holman asked that animal hospitals, clinics and boarding facilities be left off the list of acceptable businesses due to noise. The planning commission added an amendment to this end.

Mr. Holman also wanted to know where the wall between this parcel and his adjacent property would be placed.

“I am very concerned about where that wall would end up being because I’d hate to have that wall end up adjoining my property line and basically I have no buffer at all. I’d just like something stipulated about how that wall is laid out where that wall is and how high it is,” he said.

After dicussing whether they can stipulate the placement and height of the wall now, the commission reached a conclusion, an eight-foot-high wall will be built in the middle of the 24-foot buffer area between the commercial site and Paradise Acres.

Pending council approval, these stipulations should encourage businesses to look at what has been a dusty parcel for a decade.

“I’m pleased to see this property will have a productive use,” commission member Eric Cultum said.