townhomes in Santanilla

This rendering shows how the townhomes in Santanilla will look  once the 207-unit development is completed near Lindsay and Germann roads.

A developer wants to build 207 townhomes on 14.5 acres near Lindsay and Germann roads that is currently being used for agriculture and is zoned for general office.

Planning Commission last Wednesday unanimously recommended Council approval of applicant Norris Design’s request for a minor General Plan amendment and rezone. Norris Design is representing Family Development Group.  

“We’re excited to bring this luxury lease townhome project to this parcel,” said Ben Cooper of Norris Design. “We think it’s the right place for this. We think it’s probably the best use that can be envisioned for this area.”

He added the project has support from Gilbert Chamber of Commerce.

Planner Keith Newman said the property owner has owned the land for 35 years and is unable to attract interest from employment generators.

Newman explained the site’s negatives include poor access, lack of visibility and the potential of 24/7 business operations so close to existing single-family homes to the south in Chandler.

“Multifamily is a more compatible use for the area especially with existing multi-family under construction to the west–” Liv Gilbert Crossroads, Newman said.

He added that the townhomes would provide a new housing option near existing and future employment in the Loop 202.

Commissioner Brian Anderson said the proposal reminded him of a similar request that came before the panel about two years ago.

He was referring to the land at the northeast corner of Warner and Recker roads that sat dormant for nearly a decade unable to develop for light industrial uses and was finally approved for residential development on most of the property.

 “We’re in the same situation we are here that they were at that site,” Anderson said. “They owned the land for many, many years and the landowner couldn’t find anyone to build on it per that use and obviously landowners want to develop their land. So this is the same case here. 

“The landowner here owned it for 35 years and didn’t get any interest from anybody what wants to do a business park there. There’s a multi-family to the west of the site and to me this request makes sense.”

The proposed gated community of two-story townhomes with rear-entry garages is dubbed Town on Germman.  All the units would have fire sprinklers.

According to Newman, the community is expected to generate 1,524 daily vehicle trips with approximately 95 trips occurring in the morning peak hour and 116 in the evening peak hour on a typical day.  

A virtual neighborhood meeting was held in June attended by seven people who raised concerns, including hours that the townhomes’ amenities would operate and site lighting shining into nearby homes. Town staff said those concerns can be easily addressed.

Staff imposed a number of conditions on the developer, including it must provide a secondary emergency access route, create a property owners association to maintain the common areas and reimburse the town half of the estimated costs for the design and construction of a future traffic signal at Germann Road and Silverado Court, the community’s primary access.

The commissioners also discussed in study session a request to approve a preliminary plat and open space plan amendment for K Hovnanian Homes for 71 single-family homes on 40.5 acres at the northwest corner of Higley Road and the Hunt Highway.

The preliminary plat for the site has undergone revisions since 2007. In 2007, the proposal was for 50 homes and in 2012, it was increased to 80 homes.

According to staff, the driver for the recent request involves the developer’s desire to rearrange the development to address the known fissures that run directly through the center of the site. 

The developer wants to have all the residential lots a minimum of 100 feet away from existing fissures.

The proposed development, called Santanilla, includes a range of lot sizes ranging from 8,000 square feet to 17,000 square feet and will be built in a single phase. It will not be gated.

Scott Buck said four of the development’s lots are in front of his house in Queen Creek and that he would lose his view of the San Tan Mountain range if the two-story homes are built.

“They will negatively impact the value of my house,” said Buck, adding he will have more noise from the increase in traffic.

 Chairman Carl Bloomfield said the developer has a by-right ability to build on the site.

“You can buy those lots,” he said. “You can buy them and keep them open.”