DEVELOPMENT

Buckeye set to move ‘employment zoning’ forward

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BUCKEYE — With a couple of manufacturing plants and medical facilities moving into Buckeye, the city is still taking advantage of its location near or along a few major highways.

The city also is about to test out its most recently added type of zoning.

Tuesday’s Buckeye Planning and Zoning Commission meeting includes a rezoning hearing on 265 agricultural acres along State Route 85. The meeting is set for 6 p.m. at City Hall, 530 W. Monroe Ave.

The north-south acreage stretches along the east side of State Route 85, from Baseline Road to Southern Avenue, just north of where NextEra plans to break ground soon on its lithium battery plant.

The applicant, known as Buckeye 270 LLC, is requesting a rezone to “employment.” Currently, the northern 149 acres is zoned commercial center, or CC, and the southern 116 acres is zoned rural with one dwelling unit per acre, or RU-43.

The rezoning is meant to accommodate four new “office-flex” buildings and associated site improvements. A site plan is also being submitted.

The northern 149 acres of the site is already within the city’s jurisdiction and has a general plan land-use designation of “neighborhood.”

The southern 116 acres is currently within Maricopa County’s jurisdiction and its comprehensive land use plan designation is employment.

At its June 7 meeting, the Buckeye City Council approved a major general plan amendment that both created two employment zones along State Route 85 and amended code to initiate employment zoning.

The southern portion will need to be annexed into the city as analogous single-family rural residential (SF-43), according to a staff report, and then rezoned from SF-43 to light industrial (I-1).

Buckeye 270 wants to develop 4 million square feet of office/flex space, spread into four buildings, to accommodate light industrial uses.

At the June 7 Buckeye City Council meeting, planner Bart Wingard defined light industrial for the council as final processing or repackaging, such as a vehicle assembly plant, while heavy industrial involves turning raw materials into compounds, such as a rubber or plastics plant or an oil refinery.

Not only is the acreage along State Route 85 and about 2 miles south of I-10, but it’s also not far from the proposed Interstate 11 north-south freeway that would run along the western edge of Buckeye.

The property is within the city of Buckeye’s water service area. The site is providing one well for on-site use and may provide up to three additional wells for general city use.

There is 22% open space in the site plan, a staff report states.

There are no other hearings or action items on Tuesday’s agenda.

Buckeye, planning and Zoning, Bart, Orsborn, Wingard, I-10, employment zoning, Maricopa County, State Route 85

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