The presidential and statewide politics have consumed much of our attention this election season, but Peoria requests on the November ballot deserve our careful consideration.
The city’s Proposition 400 and a Peoria Unified School District bond request give us an opportunity to reconsider exactly where future growth should occur.
The city’s Prop. 400 asks voters to approve an ongoing 0.4 percent city sales-tax hike to generate an estimated $17.5 million per year, at least in the early years largely aimed at projects in north Peoria.
Although those of us outside Peoria can’t directly vote on Prop. 400, we can indirectly “vote” on the sales tax through our purchasing decisions.
Do we really want to support the growth in north Peoria these two measures would enable?
Peoria will add 100,000 more residents by 2030, according to projections from the Maricopa Association of Governments. And most of that growth is planned in far north Peoria, stretching up to the Carefree Highway, in the shadows of Lake Pleasant.
Peoria’s 2010 General Plan identifies this as one of five potential growth areas. In 2012, a Lake Pleasant Heights Specific Area Plan was developed to further detail this future growth.
Growth in this area is bolstered by the completion of Loop 303, which opens access, and an agreement to capture water from the CAP canal in north Glendale for pipeline delivery to the area.
Thus, the stage is set for this northward expansion. But do we want to pull the trigger? Do we really want to invest much of this new money on 100,000 new residents in far north Peoria? A drive on the 303 shows there is still virtually nothing out there. We still have a chance to turn this train around if so inclined.
Is this the best place for Peoria to invest in future growth? Here are three points to consider:
This upcoming election is a chance to take another look at development issues impacting all of us. Let’s steer growth in directions that provide for a more sustainable West Valley.
Jeff Gibbs is a former Litchfield Park planning commissioner who now lives in Surprise. Reach him at [email protected].
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