By Erika Juarez, ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism
The Laveen Village Planning Committee debated the zoning of ranch-style homes to
single-family homes. Members of the community spoke out against this development and how it affects their standard of living.
The Laveen Village Planning Committee debated a new development that initially would add 33 new homes in the 27th Avenue and Harvest Groves Lane neighborhood, as discussed in the September 11 board meeting. Equity Connect Realty, in partnership with the Wallace Group, is aiming to make a group of residents happy as heavy opposition has put a hold on the proposed development. About 20 residents located near this neighborhood attended the meeting to express opposition over the farm-styled modern houses that were proposed to be built.
“We will go from having a quiet, agriculturally rich neighborhood to  bustling homes and all of the noise, traffic, and visual disturbance that goes along with that.” Homeowners Bridget and Matt Daley said. “This will devalue our property, which we never plan to develop into a conglomerate of homes and take the authenticity of this area.”
However, the developer has claimed to have met with neighbors and continues to do so.
Over time, they’ve gathered concerns and feedback and have implemented new updates into the development plan. This includes changes in density, increase in lot sizes, additional landscape buffers and has set the homes to mostly single stories, which was a concern for many neighbors.
“The overall goal is to provide a very consistent type of housing product if you look at what we’re proposing, [it’s] consistent with the zoning to our east, west, north, and the south.” Wendy Riddell, the land use and zoning attorney, said. “[The goal is] to provide additional ‘for sale’ housing options in the area.”
Residents also expressed concern about the safety of this new development as many claim the proposed housing community is not big enough to allow room for first responders and dumpster trucks.
“This developer wants to jam  homes onto the same acreage—this will have a substantial negative impact to not only our community, our safety, traffic flow, noise, and public safety services.” Battalion Chief for the Phoenix Fire Department and also homeowner Jorge Enriquez wrote. “There is a one-way in and one-way out layout that will make it extremely difficult for Public Safety (fire trucks & PD), garbage, and utility vehicles to safely enter and exit, especially with anticipated cars parked in the street; there will be no room.”
The growth of Laveen has sparked debate about many other new developments around the area that would benefit most residents. A plaza with three restaurants was proposed at the corner of 43rd Avenue and Baseline Road, across from two schools, but was shut down by the board after worries about the safety and health of students.
Other areas, such as 59th Avenue and Baseline Road, are mid-way through construction as a commercial development that incorporates restaurants and a new gym in Laveen. Multiple new housing developments are also taking place, as the recent completion of the 43rd Avenue and Vineyard Road development has resulted in multiple rental homes available.