It’s hard to imagine why anyone would oppose a $450 million investment in our city that will likely become Glendale’s next signature community, least of all the district’s representative. But that is exactly the position of Yucca District Councilmember Joyce Clark regarding StoneHaven, the first master-planned community to be proposed within the city since the development of Arrowhead Ranch.
Some three years in the making, StoneHaven will encompass nearly 400 acres of vacant land bordering 91st Avenue from Bethany Home to Camelback Road. It will give rise to more than 1,400 new homes, specifically designed to satisfy a variety of budgets, interests, lifestyles and preferences of a diverse and dynamic market.
In addition to its primary residential component, StoneHaven will also feature a new supermarket, as well as restaurants and retail shops – all within walking distance of its residents. Sales tax revenues from the 27- acre commercial element are estimated to be $5 million annually, while the total tax take for the city is expected to be in the neighborhood of $49 million.
Unanimously approved by Glendale City Council in April 2016, StoneHaven has come under fire by Clark and a number of her constituents as the developer seeks a general plan amendment and an accompanying zoning request to provide for the construction of 231 additional homes on reduced lots. Subsequent study and market analysis by industry experts have identified the need to expand the original product offering from three to five choices, as well as a recommended reduction of lot size for a limited number of home sites.
This relative increase in the project’s density has prompted its opponents to distort facts, confuse citizens and mislead residents. Though a portion of some claims may be true, the majority lack the applicable context necessary to make an educated and informed decision.
Even so, petitions bearing some 1,000 signatures have already been submitted to the city clerk’s office in opposition to the plan amendment and zoning request. However, more than 20 percent of those same citizens have changed their position and are now in favor of the project after learning the facts.
While Clark cites a national average for students per household to calculate the impact on the Pendergast and Tolleson school districts, local officials provide a lower number, embrace and support the project and stand ready, willing and able to welcome StoneHaven students into their classrooms. Further, Pendergast Elementary School District previously purchased land from the developer, specifically for the location of a new neighborhood school.
It’s no surprise traffic count claims conflict as well. Keep in mind StoneHaven will be constructed in three phases over a period of seven years and will include the development and construction of Bethany Home Road, as well as other auxiliary outlets. It only stands to reason increased traffic flow will result in any significant development, but will ultimately be more efficient, manageable and safer with gradual and deliberate growth.
Even as StoneHaven features an eight-acre park; its total open space exceeds the 15 percent minimum requirement of its PAD designation. Its pedestrian-friendly design and ample open spaces provide residents plenty of foot access throughout the entire development. In addition, the park will sit adjacent to an existing seven-acre city park for a combined total of 15 acres.
Though the concerns of Clark and her constituents are legitimate, the benefits and potential to so many sectors of our community are overwhelming by comparison. Any perception of risk is further mitigated with the significant investments made by legacy companies of Pulte Homes and John F. Long Properties. StoneHaven deserves the level of support it is sure to return to our city, as well as its new residents and businesses alike.