Proposed Bashas' shopping center hits snag<br>Neighborhood group offers a possible counter-plan

The Cottonwood Planing and Zoning Commission tabled a proposed General Plan amendment and a zoning change for the Groseta Ranch Master Plan. The changes involve a new Bashas' grocery store and shopping center in northwest Cottonwood.

The commisisoners tabled the issue until their next meeting

Commission Chairman Samuel Rodriguez said there needed to be more communication, more discussion, between the developer and the community.

Indicating her desire to temporarily table a decision, Commissioner Cecil Bergeron said, "I'm not comfortable with it."

Residential neighbors want the developer and city planning officials to look at an alternate development plan, as drawn by resident and architect Joseph Smyth.

The alternate plan was announced Monday at the commission meeting by Sally Davidson, a resident who lives on Palo Verde.

"We're looking for solutions here – we're not trying to create a problem," she told commissioners. "What's down on that corner will affect our whole neighborhood."

Davidson then asked commissioners to not vote on the proposal Monday because she and other neighbors hadn't met with the developer yet regarding the alternate plan.

The developer, W.M Grace Development Co, Phoenix, was represented at the commission meeting by Howard T. Grace, a company vice president. Property owner Andy Groseta also was present.

Neither Groseta nor Grace would comment Monday evening regarding the alternate plan.

Grace said only that he hadn't known about the alternate plan until the meeting Monday night and hadn't had a chance to look at it. During the meeting, he had reiterated that a market study had pinpointed Bashas' store placement.

Since Monday's commission meeting, a letter from Grace has announced that another informal, neighborhood meeting is scheduled at 6 p.m. Oct. 4 in the banquet room at the Quality Inn Hotel, 301 W. Arizona 89A, Cottonwood.

The site is approximately 144 acres along Arizona 89A, from south of Verde Heights Drive to approximately one-third mile north of Groseta Ranch Road.

Currently designated Residential/Mixed Use (residential uses and neighborhood commercial development), the developer's proposed plan would change the zoning from a light-commercial, single- and multi-family zone to a planned-unit-development (PUD) zone.

The mixed-use, multi-phase development eventually would comprise approximately 53 acres for commercial and retail uses, 35 acres for multi-family residential uses, 9 acres for a business park, and 18 acres of park, open space and trails (including paved surfaces).

The first phase would involve approximately 11 acres at the northeast corner of Verde Heights Drive and Arizona 89A, including a new 54,000-square-foot Bashas' grocery store.

The store's placement near that corner has been a major issue for some area neighbors, along with the possible resulting traffic, noise and light problems.

The alternate plan basically makes the Bashas' store a centerpiece for the shopping center, placing it farther away from current neighbors, and creates more natural open space.

In other business Monday evening, the commission:

• Approved a zoning change for the proposed Verde Vista Plaza commercial development. The site is approximately 16.9 acres north of Verde Valley Manor Retirement Center, 3400 E. Godard Road, between Arizona 260 and UVX Road. The owner-developer is Phoenix American Group, , represented by Mike Gardner, Casa Verde Consulting, Cottonwood.

Revised stipulations: A dust-abatement plan musst be submitted during the construction phase; an erosion-control plan must be submitted; the perimeter buffer, including vegetative fencing, is to be approved by the city's Design Review Board; lighting requirements must pay special attention to adjoining property; off-site drainage must be worked out with neighbors; and sidewalks along Arizona 260 must be part of the plan.

• Approved a conditional-use permit for the Verde Valley Humane Society, to allow a recreational vehicle to be used as caretaker quarters in an I-2 (heavy industrial) zone at its shelter on West Mingus Avenue.

Sipulations: The motor home must be at least 10 feet from onsite propane storage and must have a specified class of fire extinguisher; and final approval is contingent on a favorable field inspection.

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