Originally published Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at 06:02a.m.

Chino Valley residents living near the proposed Brook Apartments voiced their concerns over the project’s density at the Planning & Zoning Commission meeting Tuesday, June 5.

Located at 740 W. Road 1 North, the proposal is to rezone the property from Multi-Family Residential-1 Acre Minimum to Multi-Family Residential 1-Acre Minimum with a Planned Area Development Overlay. The Commission got their first look at the project in March where Development Services Director Jason Sanks said it was the third proposed apartment complex for the area and includes 192 units spread across four three-story buildings.

Resident Tina Harmon said she was concerned about the impact of that dense a community in the area. The edge of the cul-de-sac where she lives is less than 30 feet from the property line, Harmon said.

“It’s going to be 192 units, might be 400 people but it might be an additional 200 dogs or cats that could go into this area,” she said. “People that live in apartments tend to be less responsible and we’re concerned about that bleeding into our properties.”

Additionally, resident Chris Foley said she was appalled at the request to double the density that is allowed on the property from 92 units to 192 units. The density of 92 units on six plus acres is logical as is the transition from single acre properties to 92 units on six plus acres to light commercial to maybe heavier development up to highway 89, Foley said.

The transition between high and low density was also on Commissioner John McCafferty’s mind. When reading the general plan it says the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) should be updated to specify the types of uses permitted at the edge of community cores that are appropriate and compatible with adjacent residents.

“They’re looking for a transition,” McCafferty said of the applicant. “In this project as it’s presented, the transition is the highest density Chino’s ever seen to very low density. How is that consistent with the general plan?”

The UDO is currently being rewritten and while it has not been amended to accommodate the general plan issue related to transitioning land uses, it will be, said Sanks.

Resident Jean McFadzen said that while research suggests that mixing housing is good for the community, almost every research she looked at spoke of urban renewal. Most of the properties surrounding the proposed apartments are agricultural in use, McFadzen said.

“We are rural, Grove Lane is not urban,” she said. “Almost all the homes in the immediate area share one trait: they are one acre or more … the town council has recognized that Chino’s sense of place is rural, one of open space and they have published statements that have endorsed this lifestyle. Putting this type of complex in a small space is out of step.”

The density on the project is ridiculous, said Planning & Zoning Commission Chair Charles Merritt. He also has great concern about egress and access and the buildings need to have some work done on them, Merritt said, adding if he lived close to where the project is proposed to be, he would not be happy with it. The developer should pay for all of the infrastructure because they’re trying to double what the land was designed to support, he said.

At the same time, Chino Valley needs to develop at a controlled pace with good development otherwise it won’t exist as a town anymore, Merritt said.

“If an industry comes here, and it could be a really good industry that’s not impactful to the environment, but if there’s nobody here for them to hire to go to work in their business, they’re not coming,” he said. “The school system has to be up to speed, the city has to have some infrastructure and the ability to expand.”

The applicant, Ruth Mayday of Mayday Consulting PLLC on behalf of Copper Tree Construction Group, LLC, is not entitled to the requested density, Sanks said. If the project is denied, it doesn’t mean the property is not developable.

No decision was made and the matter will return at the next Planning & Zoning Commission meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 3 in the Chino Valley Council Chambers, 202 N. Highway 89.