Laveen Village Voice
Development, Maintaining Continuity Keys to Laveen’s Future
In last month’s issue, we asked our area Phoenix City Council members and other community leaders to address what they consider the most pressing priorities for 2016. Inadvertently the response from Jon Kimoto was not published. Here’s what he has to say about the most important issues facing Laveen in the coming year:
Jon Kimoto has been a Village Planning Committee member for six years and a Laveen resident since 1985. He also is a member of Laveen Citizens for Responsible Development, a nonprofit group that works with the Planning Committee, developers and city leaders.
SMDN: As we begin 2016, what do you consider the most pressing issue facing the residents of the South Mountain-Laveen area and why do you consider that a priority?
“In my opinion it is maintaining continuity of our past to guide both our present and our future. We shouldn’t forget our roots. Those are important core values that form the foundation of our planning decisions and documents. I think it’s important to transcend our agrarian heritage and maintain lower densities as we develop out toward South Mountain, to preserve open space and, of course, to preserve the quality of the architectural design that we have tried to have reflect the rural ranch life that was here before many of us. We need to balance that off with high-quality landscaping and quality lighting to preserve our night skies and to preserve a rural-type atmosphere.”
“I think that the highest priority is to maintain the quality of development as we approach the next level of development here in Laveen – not try to cram something into every niche.”
How can residents in the community work together to achieve a positive outcome regarding your answer to Question 1? What stake should residents have in this issue and improving/protecting their community?
“We need to continue the involvement of the many active community leaders who have lived here for the past 15 to 25 years who were involved in the creation of the planning tools …. And impart that information to our newcomers. Those of us who do advise the city planners must maintain adherence to our foundational principles and objectives that have been adopted in the land use plans and guidelines.”
Although the South Mountain Freeway project is in legal limbo until the summer, most people and community leaders believe it will go forward as planned. As the project begins, how do you see it changing the landscape and character of the community?
“Every time we pave a road out here, it brings a lot of trouble. That’s both positive and negative.”
“One of the positive aspects is that the South Mountain Freeway will complete the transportation corridor and our comprehensive plan for along that corridor.” (For example, Kimoto noted the planned hospital, shopping center and movie theater). “Another positive factor: it will take a lot of the heavy truck traffic off 51st Avenue, alleviating the noise and congestion for the residential areas along 51st Avenue.”
“There also will be a lot of employment during the freeway construction. There will be a lot more jobs locally. It will jumpstart the rest of the needed development. The more rooftops, the more developers will be attracted to bring in national chains.”
“On the negative side, initially the community fought the alignment the freeway because it physically divides our Laveen community … The freeway will be a physical barrier to West Laveen to our central community. We originally fought to have it run along the Gila River Indian Reservation border because it was more of a natural division.”
“Another negative is that in the interim, while the freeway is being built, there is going to be a lot of disruption of traffic east and west along Baseline and Dobbins and Southern. There is going to be a lot of construction, construction vehicles and road hazards that come with that kind of construction. City and state officials really need to try to mitigate some of these problems before they crop up. If we can try and anticipate the disruptions before they occur and try to solve that, at least we will have a jumpstart on it.”
“It also will bring a lot of pressure to change the general plan and increase our current density and the intensity of the commercial development. We have to weigh and balance that against what we actually need here in Laveen to have a viable, livable community here.”
“Unless new developers have a darned good reason for increasing the density over what is in current plans, they should adhere to the land-use plans. That’s where the battle lines are going to be drawn. That’s where it comes back to building a quality community.”
Rose Tring is a long-time journalist and owner of AZ Media Maven, a Laveen-based marketing and public relations company. She is also the founder of FinditinLaveen.com, a local business directory and free community calendar. Email her at email@example.com