Since the Spring of 2006, the staff of Tempe, Arizona based W HOLDINGS have conducted a land planning effort on behalf of several owners of a 1,140 acre site in the Town of Queen Creek, Arizona, about 35 miles southeast of downtown Phoenix. The site location is depicted below.
 The landowners include: Roger and Sybil Ferguson; QCEL 160 (Maxwell Butcher); Queen Creek 10, Inc. (Jorde); Jorde Farms, Inc., The Thelander Family, and; Vanderbilt Farms, LLC
On December 5, 2007, the Queen Creek Town Council approved a general plan amendment for these properties. The approved plan calls for a variety of land uses, including a 200 acre mixed use core. The general plan land use exhibit is show below, followed by an illustration of how development might occur on the site.
The following is the text of the news article that appeared in the East Valley Tribune reporting on the approval of the general plan amendment.
EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE
December 6, 2007
Queen Creek approves general plan amendment
Sarah J. Boggan, Tribune
The largest general plan amendment proposed in Queen Creek to date was approved by the Town Council on Wednesday night.
Tempe-based Vanderbilt Farms wants to build Queen Creek Station, a mixed-use project that includes higher-density residential, commercial areas, offices and warehouses at Queen Creek’s northern entrance. The 1,100 acre project has been two years in the making.
Some Queen Creek residents weighed in with concerns about residential densities and whether there would be an assurance that what they see is what they are going to get with the development.
“This is not a promise,” said Queen Creek resident Robin Benning as he addressed the Town Council. “This is purely text — words.”
Residents of two neighboring residential developments, Ellsworth Suburban Mini Farms and Queenland Manor, have influenced the developer to change an original proposal and said they plan to see the development through the process until it is constructed.
“We’ll continue to hold their feet to the fire,” said Cynthia Buffington, a resident of Queenland Manor who has participated in the project’s changes and supported the amendment.
Town Councilman Jon Wootten, the only council member to vote against the amendment, said he thought the amendment was so large that it needed to be brought to voters for a decision.
Councilman Gordon Mortenson, who supported the amendment, said the town has some assurances, such as through the zoning process, to get what Vanderbilt Farms has proposed. This general plan amendment is the largest in the town’s history in terms of size and impact on the town’s rural heritage. The project may not be built for more than 10 years.
Town consultant Wayne Balmer said town officials are concerned about the ability to build the roads needed to keep traffic flowing in and around the development — something Vanderbilt has proposed but said they could not pay for on their own.
Vanderbilt wants to extend Ellsworth Loop Road north through the property, widen and realign Queen Creek Road, improve Ellsworth Road and set aside land for a commuter rail station. Vanderbilt said it would work with the town to identify a way to fund those improvements.
Key contibutors to this effort included:
H. Pike Oliver and Carson Brown of W HOLDINGS
Ralph Pew and Tyler Wright from Pew and Lake, the lawyers who worked on the general plan process. Ralph was the key spokesman for the plan during the hearings before the Planning & Zoning Commission and the Town Council.
Ron Krater and Liz Lonetti of JZMK Partners, the firm that prepared the final land plan. In addition to his work on the plan, Ron was an articulate presenter of the planning vision to landowners, neighbors, the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Town Council.
Jack Camp, the urban designer who prepared the initial land use and circulation concepts
Scott Staman of Atwell-Hicks, the firm that provided engineering and surveying services.
Andrew Baque’ of Atwell-Hicks, a very creative urban designer who helped with refinements to the plan.
Mario Mangliamele of IPlan who assembled and edited the submittal documents, including voluminous attachments.
Peter Reinhofer and Neil Byrne of Kimley-Horn, the firm that conducted the traffic impact analysis.
Stuart Goodman of Goodman Schwartz. Stuart helped with government and media relations throughout the process.
Dr. Marty Rozelle who facilitated input from neighboring residents.
At the Town of Queen Creek, Wayne Balmer, planning consultant, served as the case planner for the general plan amendment.
Last, and definitely not least, several neighbors played a key role in shaping and advancing the plan. They are:
Eric Kerr and Wendy Feldman-Kerr
Mike and Nancy Leonard
Don and Kathy Forbis
Of course, the work has just begun. Next steps include: drafting the zoning text; negotiating a development agreement, and; securing development partners.