NORTH SKY NEWS:


Gavilan Peak Estates Development Update

An area resident brought it to our attention that the "rezoning request" signs for the Gavilan Peak Estates (GPE) subdivision had been removed as of February. With the economy such as it is, I was not surprised to learn that this development project had lapsed into "inactive" status. A communication with Maricopa County Planning & Development confirmed that there has been no activity on this project for some time. The signs were first posted back in 2008, as is required for rezoning requests. If this is all new to you, you might want to read our original report here.

So what exactly does the removal of the signs portend? An email to Rachel Applegate (rachelapplegate@mail.maricopa.gov) at the County Planning Division brought this response:

"The applicant has not resubmitted plans from the original application for the requested zone change and preliminary plat. The cases are considered inactive at this stage. If the property owner/applicant decides to proceed with a resubmittal or submit a new case, the site will have to be reposted."

So it appears that GPE has allowed the project to lapse into an inactive status. Not surprising, considering the original local resistance to their rezoning request, and the current state of the economy (especially as regards the real estate market). But they do still own the land. In fact ... they own a lot more land than we originally thought.

We started our investigation on the Maricopa County GIS (Geographic Information System) interactive database at: http://maps.mcassessor.maricopa.gov/maps/default.aspx. You'll need to install their SilverLight application to interact with the database, and be running at least Windows XP. There we verified that GPE (the owners) had not only acquired the parcels for the subdivision (pending rezoning) proposed in 2008, but they had also acquired additional parcels, essentially surrounding Gavilan Peak, at a later date.

We then conducted an online search at the Maricopa County Assessors Office: http://www.maricopa.gov/Assessor/ParcelApplication/Detail.aspx. There we verified the owners and deed dates of the relevant parcels.

The image below shows the original parcels, highlighted in yellow, listed for the rezoning request for the subdivision. The red ellipse marks the summit of Gavilan Peak. The three parcels immediately west, southwest, and south of the peak are difficult to develop because of the Hillside Development Zoning Overlay. The yellow parcels were purchased in 1991 and 1993. You can click on the image to download a larger version. It was only these parcels that comprised GPE's original rezoning and subdivision requests.

But the image below shows additional parcels, highlighted in green, purchased in 2006. You can click on the image to download a larger version. Note that GPE has now encircled Gavilan Peak, including access to 27th Avenue and Jenny Lin Road. These parcels were not part of GPE's original rezoning and subdivision requests.

So what's exactly happening here? Good question. Our online search of all contiguous parcels shows that the above map is the extent of the GPE venture. The blank territory to the south and east is Arizona State Trust land. Other contiguous parcels are privately owned. Where GPE will go from here is anyone's guess. But the acquisition of these additional (green) parcels raises some interesting questions:

1. Were these additional parcels intended for a second subdivision project contingent on the success of their first project?
2. Is this where GPE intended to locate the infrastructure (two deep wells, water storage tank, sewage treatment plant) for the original subdivision?
3. Could this be the future site of a private golf course intended for the original subdivision? The topography of the area would indeed allow for this option.

We were unable to obtain answers to these questions, as the proposed subdivision plat is not a matter of public record. We were also unable to reach Theresa H. Evidente, the GPE contact at Coe & Van Loo Consultants listed on the site postings. Of course, Coe & Van Loo are now under no obligation to provide information regarding GPE, a privately contracted client.

Bottom line is this: The current economy does not support this proposed development. But, hopefully, the economy will recover. When that occurs, it remains to be seen what will happen to Gavilan Peak. The potential for a community-changing project is still there. This would impact local traffic, the water table, light pollution levels, and, not the least, dramatically alter the appearance of a prominent New River landmark. Trust that DFAC will stay on top of this matter. Check back any time for updates.