Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Berkana Lawsuit

Here's a little bit of background on the email that I previously sent out regarding our community's recent success in court, regarding the Berkana development.  If approved, the high-density housing development would be built on 27th Avenue and Baseline, which is on the boundary of Laveen Village and South Mountain Village.

The list of complaints include: high traffic (27th Ave. is only two lanes), flooding the housing market, inconsistent use for the general plan, and last but not least the potential invitation for increased crime within a few miles of several South Phoenix neighborhoods with high gang activity.  Like many growing areas, Laveen is presently stressed for basic public services like police and fire - this type of density in such a sensitive part of the community would only exacerbate these problems.  So please understand that, while Catherine and I live a few miles away from the subject property, it is still quite important to us that the residents of Laveen win this case (even if it were less important to us, I would side with the community whenever a strong benefit cannot be demonstrated to offset community concerns).

I'll post more on this topic soon...

This just in from the Coalition to Preserve Laveen Village:

Good morning all.  Below is an article written by Casey Newton that was printed in the Arizona Republic this morning.  I have also included the web link in case you would like to go there to make comments online with regard to this article. Please forward this on.


Best regards,

Randy & Jen

Coalition to Preserve Laveen Village

Phone: 602-445-6332


Development foes win key battle

by Casey Newton - Apr. 15, 2008 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

Residents hoping to stop a large-scale apartment and townhouse project in Laveen have won a key victory in getting their referendum on the ballot.

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled Friday that Phoenix should process the signatures they gathered earlier this year in an effort to stop construction of the project at 27th Avenue and Baseline Road. Neighbors say the project is too dense and will worsen existing problems with traffic and school overcrowding.

At issue is how many signatures are required for residents to refer a City Council decision to the ballot.

Phoenix argued that residents must submit signatures equivalent to 10 percent of votes in the last citywide election. The city says the last citywide election was in September, which included the mayor's race and a ballot initiative to fund more police and fire personnel. By that standard, 9,798 valid signatures would be needed.

The neighbors say the relevant election was in November, when two council races had runoffs. If Judge Richard Trujillo's ruling is upheld, residents would need only 2,727 signatures. Residents are confident they have that many.

By lowering the threshold to refer a council decision, the ruling could encourage more residents to take their case to the voters.

"If we're successful, this will definitely change the landscape of future referendum drives," said Randy Jones, who organized the petition drive against Berkana.

Bill Solomon, a city attorney, said he would recommend that the council appeal the decision. The council has until Monday to file a notice of appeal.

The council is scheduled to discuss the ruling today in closed session.

The project is being developed by former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson. It would include 517 apartments on 27 acres. Before the council voted 7-1 to rezone the property, it was zoned for one home per acre.

No comments: