development

Buckeye to split major expenses in ‘Scalloped Streets’ upgrades

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BUCKEYE — A West Valley city put a program with a catchy name into use again Tuesday.

The Buckeye City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve use of its Scalloped Street Assessments program to make improvements along Miller Road.

Improvements are currently being made on Miller Road from Lower Buckeye Road to Pima Street prior to development of adjacent parcels. A chapter of Buckeye municipal code requires that developers dedicate public right-of-way and construct their adjacent half-street improvements at the time of development.

This allows the city to split the cost of street improvements, such as widening and installing curbs, sidewalks and drainage, with land or business owners.

Per that code and state law, according to a staff report, the city can tax an adjacent undeveloped parcel of land for the permanent street improvements installed prior to development, with several requirements applying.

Deputy City Engineer Paul Lopez made a presentation about the nine properties that the city plans to “assess” as part of the program. The estimated assessment total comes to about $6.8 million.

Upon notifying parcel owners of their assessments, Lopez said, city staff received one letter of objection. Parminder Singh, writing on behalf of his group, M&U Land LLC, wrote a letter objecting to both the work and the proposed assessment.

M&U Land’s estimated assessment was, by far, the highest among the nine property owners, at about $1.575 million.

Its property in on the southeast corner of Lower Buckeye and Miller roads.

“The amount of the assessment for my property is excessive, compared to the total amount Buckeye projected in its report Capital Improvement Program, FY21/22 to FY 26/27,’” Singh wrote. “The estimate of cost appears inconsistent with projected costs.”

The costs incorporate both estimated construction costs and right-of-way expenses. There is a 10-year expiration date on the assessments so as not to hold land owners responsible for half-street improvements indefinitely.

Lopez said since there is not only significant work happening now along Miller Road due to other development, but also the I-10/Miller Road interchange is being rebuilt by the Arizona Department of Transportation. Fiscal 2023 would be the best time for the city to act on street improvements, in order to avoid long-term disruption.

A property owner who was at Tuesday’s meeting asked if either the city or land owners would have to pay for the cost of relocating 69kv power poles and lines along Miller Road. Lopez said “for now,” Arizona Public Service has told him that relocation is covered in the cost of a capital improvement plan, and he isn’t aware of any APS plan to charge anyone for moving the poles.

Lopez said within five years, the section of Miller Road to be improved will begin to have about 30,000 average vehicle trips per day on it.

“That’s way too much traffic for a two-lane road,” Lopez said.
Tuesday, the Council also approved a new salary structure for police, fire, non-exempt and exempt city employees.

The council did not hold public hearings or vote on two major general plan amendments that were on the agenda, due to two council members being absent.

Amendments for a zone change for the 1,336-acre TGV Rexcon Nexgen development and for the State Route 85 Corridor Major General Plan and formation of employment zoning were tabled. The absence of Tony Youngker and Vice Mayor Craig Huestis put the number of council members in attendance at the minimum of five needed for a super-majority approval of major amendment.

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