Road decision upsets south Chandler neighbors - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Road decision upsets south Chandler neighbors

April 26th, 2022 SanTan Sun News
Road decision upsets south Chandler neighbors

By Ken Sain
Staff Writer

It was about 15 minutes after Chandler City Council had already reached its decision last week and the battle was over. Still, members of the Chandler Planning Department continued to meet with neighbors who live near 124th Street and are upset about the new Hazelwood development.

It grew heated at times. Planning Administrator Kevin Mayo told the upset neighbors his staff has never worked so hard to address concerns on any project during his tenure.

The issue is a private road on county land that serves a couple dozen homes south of Chandler Heights. The Hazelwood development is a plan to put 22 new homes at the southeast corner of Chandler Heights and 124th Street.

The city traffic engineer decided that the best place to put the entrance to the development was off 124th Street. Most of its neighbors want the entrance off Chandler Heights.

Traffic Engineer Dana Alvidrez said they decided 124th Street would be better, in part, because SanTan Elementary and Junior High schools are across the street and have a bus entrance located at the same intersection an entrance to the development would be.

She said adding another traffic control light to that location would not be wise because there is already a light at 124th Street and they’d be too close together.

The neighbors said in emails to the city, and during public comments before Council, that they are worried that an entrance on 124th Street will bring more traffic at greater speeds to their private road.

The city took steps to try to prevent that, including a road design that would encourage drivers to enter the Hazelwood development instead of continuing down 124th Street, traffic calming measures including a speed hump, and narrowing the dirt road with hard-to-miss ‘private drive’ signs.

Council voted unanimously on April 14 to approve the Hazelwood project as submitted and to change the zoning so it could be built.

“I think the vote went horrible,” said homeowner Mark Monje. “They’re not looking out for the welfare of the residents in the neighborhood, and also the safety of the kids that go to SanTan Elementary and Junior High.”

Even after the City Council meeting ended, the neighbors, city staff, and the Hazelwood developer continued to talk. According to one of the neighbors, they agreed to another meeting in about a week.

In other action on April 18, Council approved a vendor to run its new Flex Transit service. That will be a van service for to city residents starting in July.

The city received a grant to run the program for two years. The Flex Transit would act similar to a ride-sharing company. Users can request a ride through an app. They will be directed where to go that is within walking distance to be picked up, and then taken to their destination.

There may be a nominal charge for the service to keep it from being overrun with requests. River North Transit won the bid to provide the service.

The city hopes to use state transportation funds to keep the program going past two years if it is successful.

The Council also approved a non-governmental agreement with the Kyrene Elementary School District so the city can continue to use four lighted ball fields at Kyrene Aprende Middle School. It also expands the agreement to allow the city to use other district facilities, such as gyms.