Development

Controversial development approved in Goodyear’s Palm Valley neighborhood

Posted

The development of a McDonald's and a Dollar Self Storage received a stamp of approval from Goodyear City Council in November, despite outcry from residents of the nearby Palm Valley Phase 5 neighborhood.  

During public comment at a Nov. 14 council meeting, speakers from the adjacent neighborhood voiced opposition to the use permit mainly in reaction to the proposed McDonald’s drive-through location, citing potential problems with odors, noise, light pollution, traffic and crime. 

The 10-acre undeveloped parcel at Indian School Road and Sarival Avenue has been zoned commercial use for many years, meaning a fast food joint and a self-storage facility can be built there. The only reason the development came before the council was because of the McDonald’s drive-through. City regulations stipulate that a restaurant drive-through closer than 500 feet to residences must be granted a use permit. 

Once built, the property line will be about 260 feet from the nearest residencies to the east.  

The close proximity is irksome to adjacent property owners like Matt Casey, who made the case before the council that the development pits corporate interests against residents’ quality of life. 

Casey seemed mainly concerned with the potential for odor emission.

“You can smell a McDonald’s half a mile away,” Casey said. “I don’t wanna go out in my backyard and smell french fry grease.”

Property owner Lynn Seidel alleged corruption on the council, reading off donations made by the developer, Sunbelt Holdings, and the applicant’s council from Gammage and Burnham, to the campaigns of several members of the council; a collective $2,900.

Other speakers brought up issues like crime and the potential for increased traffic.

Representatives for the applicant came before council to defend the development first proposed a year ago, stating that the restaurant would be a good fit for the growing area, and offering ways to mitigate potential nuisances. 

Stipp: Goodyear residents can expect further growth

Councilmember Bill Stipp defended the McDonald’s franchisee against the criticism and praised him for implementing certain measures intended to reduce odors and light pollution.

Franchisee Darian Mellon manages two dozen McDonald’s restaurants, and said he intends to implement light dimmers after 10 p.m. and install additional scrubbers on exhaust fans to mitigate odors. 

Mellon said the mechanism to mitigate exhaust fumes had to be imported from Europe and that it was the first time he’s implemented such a measure at one of his locations adding that he wants to be “a good neighbor.”

“It’s not often that McDonald’s as a corporation or a franchisee is willing to go that far,” Stipp said. “For us, it was a surprise…because they didn’t have to.”

Stipp made a motion for the council to loosen the recommended hours of operation from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. to midnight, which was passed unanimously by the council. 

Originally, the applicant had asked for the restaurant to be allowed to operate 24 hours a day. 

Stipp also made it clear that residents irate at this kind of development can expect more of the same in Goodyear. 

“We really kind of struggle with this particular area,” Stipp said. “But know that these commercial parcels and then everywhere to the north of this…is all zoned for industrial, and that’s exactly what’s going to be plopped in there as time rolls on.”

“We are becoming a regional hub for the U.S. with our proximity to California and our ability to get both north and south from here,” he continued. “We’re not trying to solve the problems were just trying to be part of the solution.”

The unanimous council vote paves the way for development to begin.