Council votes down Peoria AZ housing development project

A zoning change that would allow a housing development for low-income older people in Central Peoria was unanimously defeated Tuesday.

The vote, which elicited a rare standing ovation for the City Council, squashed Skokie-based developer 3 Diamond Development’s hopes to build a 60-unit, three-story structure at 3616 N. Sheridan Road.

“The dozen and dozen of residents who have contacted us are not objecting to affordable housing for the elderly,” said 2nd District City Councilwoman Barbara Van Auken, who represents the area. “They are just telling us this is the wrong place to wedge in this type of development.”

A large crowd of residents from the neighborhoods gave Van Auken a loud ovation after her comments and then, in an unusual site at City Hall, gave the council a standing ovation following a vote to deny a zoning change that would have allowed the development to happen.

The proposal was to rebuild the property near the War Memorial Drive intersection that is currently operated by New Hope Ministries.

“We’re disappointed,” Ben Porush of 3 Diamond Development said after the vote. “It puts us back some ways, but we’re not disappointed with the city of Peoria. The city has to respond to its citizens.”

Respond, residents did.

Council members were inundated with calls and emails from concerned people who lived in the area. Those concerns focused on the development’s potential to increase traffic in an already high-traffic area, developing an overly dense property within an area zoned for single-family houses, and creating pedestrian safety hazards.

“We did our job to find out what the development was about to critically analyze it and to react accordingly,” said Ed Murphy, president of the North Florence Neighborhood Association.

Murphy, like Van Auken, acknowledged there is a need for affordable housing for older people.

“It is a serious need,” Murphy said, but added, “this is not the place to do it. It’s a small lot. They were trying to jam 60 units into an area that would accommodate 24.”

Read remainder of the story at the Peoria Journal Star

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About Bob Voelker

Head of the Munsch Hardt (Dallas law firm) Hospitality & Mixed Use Development Group, and former developer of affordable housing. I'm i
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