The proposed zoning changes in the Phoenix’s Orangedale neighborhood are likely to change the character of the area which was once known by the orchards and date farms and single-family homes occupied by long-time residents. It is now going to have a multifamily residential condominium development.
Some residents of the area have been fighting against the project, but after the unanimous approval of the City Council, they seem to be on the losing side.
The dispute of the locals and the developer started over the zoning changes began with common concerns over height and density. But soon it was drawn into a more significant question of whether the new project would fit into the character of the neighborhood.
As per the plan, the area will have 30 three-story condos. The 52nd Street condominiums planned unit development would be built on a 1.98-acre lot 125 feet north of the northwest corner of 52nd Street and Virginia Avenue. It should be reported here that single-family homes surround the lot on three sides.
Patricia Kennedy-Stefanic, a longtime resident of the neighborhood who led the petition efforts, said the proposed development project is not in the line of the character of the existing neighborhood since the 1950s. The project will be an odd structure and would be changing the nature and culture of this area.
Paul Gilbert, the legal representative for the development, said that the current zoning of the area already allows three storey buildings and there should not be any worries regarding the change like the neighborhood.
The developer of the whole project is MAS Holdings LLC.
Sue Ashton, who has lived in the area for 51 years, said that many of her neighbors had spent an equal amount of time in this locality. She said the community is tight-knit and people here care for each other and help each other in need.
Another resident of the area said though she is entirely new to the locality, she does not have any plan to leave the region anytime soon. She added that her family loved the community here acknowledging the fact that many in her locality have been staying here for their entire lives. She also said that the new project might harm the character of the area.
She added that a high-density housing project would be subject to vacillations in the housing market. And owing to the rental market, the population here will be transient, and it may affect the ability of the area to develop economically.
She also said that the transient population would not only be in disagreement with the existing community but also it might impact the school district.
Gilbert said in response that the transient population would be beneficial for the single-family homes. It would give them the option to downsize when they want to due to financial resources availability.
As per Gilbert, the project will start in a year or more. The condos planned will have high-quality, medium-density residential developments that are sought after, the development plans show.
The units in the proposed project will be 32 feet high — 5 feet over what is allowed in single-family residential housing districts. The plan also has the option to cater two-car garages under each residence.
The City Council-
The area residents appreciated the developer’s effort to compromise on the project’s size to accommodate the wish of the locals. But the residents are not entirely satisfied with the response they have got from the City Council.
The residents said they were disappointed by the callousness of the council as the residents have not even got the opportunity to represent themselves once.
Though the residents have reservations on the city project, they should wait for the cityscape to change and embrace themselves for the change. In the changing times, the status-quo maintenance will be not only costly but also not futuristic.