Blueprints leading to Villas at Cheney Estates passes Planning Commission rigor

An conceptual design of The Villas at Cheney Estates. (graphic from Town of Paradise Valley)

The Town of Paradise Valley planning powers that be have given their collective blessing to the proposed triangle-shaped residential neighborhood abutting Scottsdale Road and Camelback Golf Club.

The Planning Commission Oct. 3 approved and recommended approval of several concurrent applications that makes up an eight-lot private residential community coined The Villas at Cheney Estates. The Planning Commission hosted a public hearing prior to voting on the items at Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive.

The community’s narrative began September 2016 when Paradise Valley residents and real estate professionals Geoffrey Edmunds and Rod Cullum, and prominent zoning attorney Doug Jorden, on behalf of Town Triangle LLC, submitted plans for a new residential subdivision along Scottsdale Road and Northern Avenue, abutting the Camelback Country Club Golf Course and adjacent to the Indian Bend Wash and Cheney Estates.

The first blueprints illustrated eight single-story homes on a 4.4 acre piece of land, coined “The Villas at Cheney Estates,” owned by Town Triangle, LLC. In December 2016 the Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend denial of a major General Plan amendment that would change the parcel from low density residential to medium density residential.

Despite recommending denial of the General Plan amendment, the Planning Commission agreed to continue considering five other requests to allow the applicant to work through planning hurdles, officials say. On Dec. 15 Paradise Valley Town Council voted to continue the General Plan amendment; however, the request was withdrawn in May, according to Senior Town Planner Paul Michaud.

The round-about entry way at The Villas at Cheney Estates.

Following several public meetings the applicants gained more acreage on the property from the neighboring golf course, thus dissolving a need for a General Plan amendment, town officials agree.

The Villas at Cheney Estates plans has gone through two more Planning Commission study sessions since July, where Senior Planning Paul Michaud presented what he called the cluster plan approach.

Mr. Michaud says the town has several cluster plan developments, includes Cheney Estates directly south of the Town Triangle property.

One request for The Villas at Cheney Estates has already been to town council, a request for a special-use permit for a residential community gate on the northwest corner of Northern Avenue and Scottsdale Road. On June 8, the council voted 7-0 to approve the statement of direction for the gate.

With the residential gate approved, The Villas were positioned to continue its pursuit, having now filed several applications to develop a 9.6-acre property.

The applications now include:

  • A text amendment to the cluster plan section of the zoning ordinance to allow for modifications to the cluster plan provisions for this proposed development such as lot size, height measurement, and setbacks;
  • Rezoning request from R-43 residential and SUP to R-43 cluster plan;
  • Conditional use permit making the roads within the proposed subdivision private;
  • An SUP allowing for the private roadway gates;
  • Preliminary plat for eight lots approximately 12,500-square-feet to 39,500-square-feet;
  • Two subdivision wall signs.

Mr. Michaud presented to the Planning Commission Oct. 3 the newest information, which included the front-entry landscaping — including 400 shrubs — and lighting details and fixtures.

Three of the seven Planning Commission members were absent from the meeting, Thomas Campbell, Charles Covington and Richard Mahrle, where a couple of residents from the neighboring community, Cheney Estates, showed their support for the project, while one resident spoke in concern of the flood zone that his house resides in.

Mr. Michaud said a hydrology study was submitted, which requires a FEMA letter of flood map revision. The existing FEMA map does not reflect the raised pad on the site, grading on golf course, or the Scottsdale bridge improvements. The map revision is in process with FEMA, according to a town staff report.

Prior to voting, Planning Commission Chairman Daran Wastchak disclosed a 20-year friendship and business relationship with Mr. Cullum, but stated he was not doing any work for this project, and did not recuse himself.

The meeting lasted just over one hour, and included a public hearing regarding the text amendment to the cluster plan, the rezoning request and the SUP for private roadway gates. The Commission forwarded to the town council approval of all requests with three individual 4-0 votes.

The action items included forwarding approval to the town council of: a 9.6-acre preliminary plat with four conditions; consideration of a conditional use permit for a private roadway with three conditions; and two subdivision wall signs. All action items received a 4-0 vote.

“It’s been a journey to get here, I feel honored to be working with Jeff and I know how impactful this is and why he got involved, being right in his backyard, the weekly meetings we’ve been having on this we’re looking out the window and seeing the project. ” Mr. Cullum said during the meeting.

“And, also both of us being residents, I think you’ve seen that from well over a year ago when we started this project we wanted to make sure we gave the leeway for the town to be able to develop this project in a way that would have no long term impacts, and you know we made every concession and allowed that to happen through the different efforts we’ve made.”

News Services Editor Melissa Rosequist can be reached by e-mail at mrosequist@newszap.com or follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Mrosequist_

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