Buckeye hears farmland repurposing plan

The clock seems to be ticking on farmland in the Buckeye area – both within the city limits and just outside.

A presentation given to the Buckeye Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday showed significant farmland and agriculture-related businesses.

However, it appears to be a plan for industrial development on 1,340 acres along the southeast corner of Buckeye’s town limits. The property is partly within the city limits and partly outside, with a process of annexation planned.

The parcel extends east from the northeast corner of Dean Road and MC85, across Verrado Way and just north of the newly rebuilt Liberty Elementary School, to Jackrabbit Trail, approximately 4.5 miles south of Interstate 10 and about a quarter mile south of the Union Pacific Railroad. .

The owners/developers are TGV Investments LLC, Resco Nexgen LLC and Rexco Trust.

A hearing was held on Tuesday as part of a major plan amendment process. Developers want to convert zoned land in the neighborhood into jobs for the development of industry and light manufacturing.

In his initial presentation, Bart Wingard of the City’s Department of Developmental Services made no mention of agriculture. He did, however, highlight the nearby businesses and the proximity of the land to the railway, which runs along the northern edge.

Buckeye Vice Mayor Craig Huestis, who liaises with the Planning Commission, said he has been advocating for Buckeye’s increased use of the Union Pacific Railroad for years.

“I told this council and previous councils,” Huestis said. “We don’t use the railway enough.

A council member asked Wingard if there would be buffer zones between the existing residential and school areas and the industrial area. Wingard said there would be a site plan process that would follow – if the major plan change is approved by council – so that council would have a say in the details of such a site plan. .

A virtual neighborhood meeting was held on March 30. This meeting revealed concerns about street improvements and how these would affect existing residential developments, as well as incorporated buffer zones between existing homes and future industrial properties, timing and proposed uses.

Maryanne Ramirez, who spoke at the hearing, said the city should be wary of showing loyalty to companies that she says tend to change plans once approved. She also encouraged the city to aggressively review the water and buffer zone aspects of the plan.
Both developers and city staff said water needs were discussed and considered.

Gina Sanchez said trading so much “lush” farmland for steel and concrete is a bad trade — for Buckeye and for Arizona.

“What happens when we have another economic downturn and these buildings sit empty above the fields that produce the most hay and other crops in the state?” Sanchez asked. “Please don’t approve this amendment.”

The package for Tuesday’s meeting included a staff report with a response from Liberty Elementary School District. Liberty Elementary, originally built in 1910, reopened last fall near the southwest corner of Jackrabbit Trail and MC85.

The rep who wrote a response seemed concerned that there might not be as many residences placed near the school.

“My only concern with the proposed use plan is the reduction or elimination of residential housing north of Liberty Elementary School,” a district representative wrote. “The school was rebuilt based on information about the intended use. This would have a negative impact on school enrollment. Also, there might be concerns about what is being built on the north side of Fremont with traffic and visibility… Is it possible to keep part of the property for residential use? »

The board also heard a presentation on a major master plan change for a proposed State Route 85 employment corridor. Like the NexGen project, no action was taken on the SR85 plan either.

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