Town Council reconsiders rejection of Lennar Homes project

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Gilbert Town Council offered Lennar Homes a path to bring back a revised proposal for a housing project at Recker and Warner roads the council rejected earlier this month.

Council voted 6-1, with Council Member Eddie Cook voting against, to reconsider the rejection.

The Council voted 4-3 on Dec. 6 to reject Lennar’s request to rezone 124.8 acres of commercially zoned land to mostly residential purposes. Cook, Jordan Ray, Brigette Peterson and Scott Anderson voted against the proposal.

But Ray, in moving for reconsideration, said he wanted to help the applicant come back to council with plan amendments earlier than 12 months, the period required by statute for an applicant to wait after a rejection before applying again.

Ray said Lennar could come back after a few months and go through the permit process again, directing staff to work with Lennar to address the town’s concerns.

Company’s arguments

At the Dec. 6 meeting the company argued the location of the land and adjacency to other neighborhoods, along with the fact it has not attracted commercial development to date, made it more sensible for residential development.

Neighbors speaking at the meeting agreed, saying they didn’t even realize it was zoned for commercial use.

Staff urged council to decline the measure as the land is needed to compete with Mesa for commercial uses near Gateway Airport.

Ray said Dec. 6 in campaigning he often heard from residents about the need to protect commercial areas for future employment development.

However, Mayor Jenn Daniels said she often drives near that area and never imagines it as anything but residential. Victor Petersen also argued the area only made sense for residential use. Jared Taylor joined them in dissent.

The members voting to turn down the project agreed, however, that the zoning may need to change to attract the right commercial projects.

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Tom Blodgett
Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent 30 years in journalism in Arizona and is the editor of the Gilbert edition of Community Impact Newspaper. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he now serves as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.
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