Several community members and I were pleased to be able to meet with Supervisor Clint Hickman and his chief of staff, Scott Isham, this afternoon at the site of the proposed Trigos development to discuss our concerns. Supervisor Hickman did not commit to a position one way or the other, but did give us some insight as to the way he sees things going. Regardless of how he decides (and, in the end, it is very likely his decision will be the one that matters), we should appreciate his taking the time to hear our point of view firsthand.
Those of us who attended the meeting pushed for the property to remain zoned RU-43 (one home per acre). Supervisor Hickman said that it was unlikely that would happen, but did not entirely close the door on it. He reminded us that although he has our community interests to look out for, he also has to look out for the interests of the property owner.
We discussed the effect the development would have on Bethany Home Road (BHR). Although the long-term plan may be to turn it into a four-lane road, the supervisor acknowledged there is no timetable for getting that done. We pointed out that, in the meanwhile, we are seeing terrible traffic on the road and it will only get worse with the addition of approximately 192 new houses. We also discussed the safety hazard the traffic poses to those walking or bicycling along the road -- including students attending the high school. It is not at all unlikely someone is going to get hurt if more and more traffic is dumped on BHR.
We also discussed that we don't know what the widening of BHR is going to look like, whenever it comes. Everyone assumes it will be done by adding lanes on the south side of the road. But if a new lane has already been added in front of Trigos, might the county decide the best approach is to just claim a portion of the properties on the north side by eminent domain? The supervisor could not rule that out. We argued those decisions should be made before changing zoning to allow almost two hundred new homes, not after.
We talked about the effect of the development on 183rd, both through increased traffic and by changing the eastbound view.
We talked about police services. The sheriff's department is already overburdened and response times in this area are slower than they should be. Adding almost two hundred new families in a densely populated area will tax it further.
And we talked a lot about quality of life issues. We understand that housing is going to be built in the valley and that often there is resistance from the neighbors. But we already have an established rural community. It's not like we are asking that a vast tract of land be kept from development; we are talking about a small parcel that abuts our homes. Sure, zoning changes. But people plan their lives and make investments based on the county's vision, as expressed through its zoning regulations. When people have relied on zoning, it shouldn't change unless there is a very good reason for it to change. That reason doesn't exist in this case.
We were surprised (or, at least, I was), to be told that the current RU-43 zoning is really just a temporary "holding" zoning plan; it's the way the county designates land until they can later decide what is its best use. We pointed out that not many people are aware of that.
Throughout, Supervisor Hickman and his chief of staff listened to our points and, again, they should be given credit for coming out to do so. Many government officials wouldn't bother.
In the end, Supervisor Hickman gave us the impression he is not on board with Meritage's current plan of roughly four houses per acre, but that he thinks it is likely some sort of change will eventually be made. He also pointed out -- and this is well worth considering -- that if the land is left vacant we could find Glendale or another city wanting to annex it in a few years to put commercial or industrial properties on it. Unless that city also annexes us, it is not likely they will care much about whether or not we are on board with the change.
At this point, the matter isn't even in Supervisor Hickman's court. The Planning and Zoning Commission still hears it first and their opinion matters. As a result, the upcoming hearing on February 13 is still important. We should continue to plan to make our case there. Only after that will it come before the Board of Supervisors for a final decision. He encouraged us, though, to consider whether there is anything less than one-house-per-acre that we would consider as a compromise. What if the property were a mixture of one-acre and one-half-acre properties (resulting in far fewer houses than under the current proposal)? What if it were one-acre properties, but a small piece were allocated for commercial at the northwest corner of BHR and Citrus? (The southwest corner, right across the street, is already designated for something like a CVS!)
All in all, I think the meeting was productive. You may hear people grumbling on NextDoor that we were negotiating away the current one-acre designation, but anyone at the meeting will tell you that's not what happened. We pushed hard to keep things the way they are. But the fight is likely to be a long one.
Meanwhile, there is a lot for each of us to do. If this really matters to you, consider attending the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on February 13 if you can get off work. Write letters and send emails. Email or write to your association boards to discuss your views and to encourage them to get involved. (The board of CFPOA IV, V, VI and VII is already involved, as you can see.) Try to create focused, well thought out arguments as to why the change shouldn't happen here -- why our community is different from all of the other communities that oppose (but will eventually get) developments. And stay tuned for information as it comes in.
As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions too. Thanks!
The hearing on the rezoning application has been rescheduled from January 16 until February 13, 2020 at 9.30 a.m.
Thanks to those who attended the meeting Monday evening, January 6, to discuss the Trigos development (as well as the Love's truck stop and the promised equestrian trails through the Zanjeros development to the west). The meeting seemed to go well and I believe everyone who wanted to share a point of view had an opportunity to do so. We certainly tried to make that happen.
Our owners association (Clearwater Farms POA Units IV, V, VI and VII) will be collecting and assessing feedback over the next few days in order to determine what position, if any, to take with respect to the matter. Meanwhile, this page is being posted to provide information many of you may find helpful. Please check it from time-to-time as it will be updated as new information is received.
Date: February 13, 2020
If you have a position with respect to the development--whether it be in support of the development, against any development, or something in between:
1. Let your property owners association know your position and whether you would like them to become involved. (If you are in CFPOA IV, V, VI or VII send an email to email@example.com)
2. Consider calling, emailing, or writing any or all of the persons identified in the "Contact Information" section at the bottom, even if you have done so already! (Although many have said they sent emails, according to those at the meeting the county is only acknowledging receiving fewer than 70.)
3. Talk to your neighbors about it. Get their opinions, share yours, and encourage them to be vocal.
4. Consider working together with others who share your opinion. Although it would be nice if everyone were on the "same page," that's not likely to happen. But better that we have two or three groups than 50 different points of view being expressed. Here's some contact information that may help:
5. Attend the meeting on January 16 if you can. If you do, be sure to leave enough time to deal with traffic and parking.
That's it. If we have any updates for you we'll post them here and change the revision date at the top. Meanwhile, if anyone has more information about Trigos or about the Love's truck stop, please drop an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
Clearwater Farms Property Owners Association
Supervisor Clint Hickman’s District 4: email@example.com
Supervisor Jack Sellers District 1: firstname.lastname@example.org
Supervisor Steve Chucri District 2: email@example.com
Supervisor Gates District 3: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dist. 3 Chief of Staff Laura Etter: email@example.com
Supervisor Steve Gallardo Dist 5: firstname.lastname@example.org