year, another set of challenges
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 5, 2006 12:00 AM
told us it's 2006.
Yeah, right. Seems like just yesterday it was the turn of the century. Painfully
enough, as we become more like our parents, saying, "I remember when . . .
" the world moves on.
Looking ahead in our journalists' crystal ball, we see houses. Lots and lots of
houses, built on small lots with options of three shades of beige paint allowed.
Oh, wait. That was last year. And the year before and the year before that.
year, we're getting closer to build-out in Chandler and Ahwatukee. The
communities are starting to infill with condos and townhouses, while industry
wags disagree over the long-term effects of the trend.
The few homes being constructed in Ahwatukee have a bigger problem than market
value: They are in the footprint of a long-planned freeway. For some reason the
planners in this metropolis think it makes sense to let people put up millions
of dollars in housing along a red line of coming demolition. It's frustrating to
be unable to come up with a better plan than continued building, but the truth
is, the majority of homes ADOT will have to bulldoze if the South Mountain
Freeway goes in along Pecos Road have not been built yet.
Guess seeing the future doesn't do much good.
In Chandler, all those investor-owned houses could start going on the market
again if they've overshot the rental demand. As the housing prices stop
exploding, renters will be able to buy, and sellers won't be able to hold the
homes for ransom. Investors will either turn their profit or decide it's not
worth it to hang on.
In March, Chandler residents will go to the polls to elect city council members
and a mayor. Mayor Boyd Dunn is challenged in his bid for re-election by current
Vice Mayor Phill Westbrooks, who is term-limited as a councilman. Councilman Bob
Caccamo is up for re-election, with several contenders. Council members Lowell
Huggins and Matt Orlando still have time on their terms, and Councilman Martin
Sepulveda, currently on military duty, should be returning this year to resume
his seat on the dais. Councilwoman Donna Wallace is leaving the council and
vying for a spot in the Legislature.
Which brings us to the fall state elections. Our legislators for Chandler and
Ahwatukee will be campaigning again. Hopefully, by the time Rep. John McComish
runs for re-election, Sen. Jack Harper will have given up on challenging the
2004 election. Talk about a moot point.
In downtown Chandler, we can look for decisions on a new City Hall site, as well
as a confirmation of the site suggested for the Chandler Museum.
Ahwatukee Foothills residents will see their mini-City Hall and
multigenerational center at Pecos Park become reality. Building materials are on
site already, and the scheduled completion date is December. The community has
waited quite awhile for this amenity, and likely it will be a popular spot.
The drug-testing company Covance may have to weather protests as it navigates
the permitting process in Chandler. Organizers with the People for Ethical
Treatment of Animals have been quiet lately, but they could get their hackles up
at any time.
Last year, we predicted that something would happen on the South Mountain 620,
Ahwatukee's last chunk of desert. But the state trust land parcel, bounded by
19th and 27th avenues, Pecos Road and South Mountain, which has had various
development plans for more than a decade, did not go to auction in 2005.
This year, the land likely will draw attention again as officials from Phoenix
and the Land Department quibble over how best to parse it. Look at the bright
side: If the land had sold, we'd be looking at that many more houses to bulldoze
for the South Mountain Freeway. And so it goes.